Scotlandâ€™s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a target to phase out the use of petrol and diesel vehicles in the country by 2032, alongside proposals to establish four low emission zones by 2020.
The ambition to ‘end the need’ for new petrol and diesel vehicles will be encouraged through investment in infrastructure for electric vehicles, and other low emission vehicles, the Scottish Government has suggested.
It comes eight years ahead of a 2040 goal set for the rest of the UK to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars, which was heralded as a headline measure in the governmentâ€™s Air Quality Plan published in the summer (see airqualitynews.com story).
Measures will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament later this year via a Climate Change Bill.
The measure is one of a host of policies outlined in the First Ministerâ€™s Programme for Government 2017-18, announced yesterday (5 September), which sets out the Scottish Governmentâ€™s priorities for the coming Parliament.
Within the document, Scottish Government says it will: â€œtake the lead in promoting the use of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), with a target to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, eight years before the rest of the UK.â€
It adds that it will: â€œunderline that commitment by setting out our plans for the expansion of the charging network; collaborating with industry and academia to find solutions to challenges, such as our high proportion of tenement properties; the extension of the Green Bus Fund; the acceleration of procurement of ULEVs in the public and private sectors; and increasing awareness and uptake of ULEVs by private motorists.â€
Plans to create a Low Emission Zone in one Scottish city by the end of 2018 (see airqualitynews.com story) are also included â€“ extending to four further LEZs in the four biggest cities in the country by 2020. By 2023, LEZs will be established in all air quality management areas (AQMAs) within the country, the government has stated.
The programme suggests that air pollution will be treated as a major health issue, noting: â€œWe must also expand our focus on the prevention of ill health, matching our past actions on smoking and alcohol with new initiatives to reduce obesity, boost active travel, improve mental health and tackle air pollution.â€
Commenting on the proposals, the First Minister said: â€œWe live in a time of unprecedented global challenge and change.
â€œWe face rapid advances in technology; a moral obligation to tackle climate change; an ageing population; the impact of continued austerity and deep seated challenges of poverty and inequality; and an apparent rise in the forces of intolerance and protectionism.
â€œThese challenges are considerable, but in each of them we will find opportunity. It is our job to seize it. This Programme for Government is our plan to do that. Ensuring that we have a highly educated and skilled population, able to adapt to the needs of a rapidly changing economy, is vital to our future prosperity and our wellbeing.â€