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Scottish Government forced to come clean on climate impacts after charity pressure


The prospect of legal action has won a promise from ministers.

After withholding a climate assessment of its £26billion infrastructure plan, the prospect of legal action from the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland (ERCS) and Good Law Project has won a promise from Scottish Ministers to publish it.

In response to the prospect of legal action by ERCS and Good Law Project, the Scottish Government has confirmed it will publish a detailed assessment of the carbon emissions expected from its £26bn investment plan from the week beginning January 15.

ERCS and Good Law Project took legal action in September 2023, forcing the Government to admit that its failure to publish any assessment of the climate impact of its Infrastructure Investment Plan was in breach of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Ministers said they had begun “urgent work” to address this problem. But when it emerged they were withholding details of the emissions the plan is expected to produce, ERCS and Good Law Project pointed out that this work wouldn’t be enough.

The Government has now upheld its “commitment to complying fully with the section 94A duty through the publication of the assessment as soon as possible”. This assessment is now due to be published in the week beginning 15 January.

Good Law Project legal director, Emma Dearnaley, said: "We're facing a climate emergency, so it's crucial we can see whether or not the Scottish Government's plan will impact our ability to reach net zero.

"It’s encouraging that Scottish Ministers have now committed to publish a climate impact assessment of its plan - following our further legal pressure. If only the UK Government was prepared to follow Scotland’s lead and come to the table to enable climate transparency in the same way.”

Good Law Project and ERCS look forward to the publication of these crucial details in full and will be taking a close look at the assessment as soon as it is published, to ensure it is up to scratch and fully complies with the Scottish Government’s legal duties.

Dr Shivali Fifield, chief officer at ERCS, said: “We are pleased to hear the government has made progress on its climate impact assessment. However, this promise to publish must be matched with transparent calculations of the emissions anticipated from the Infrastructure Investment Plan. 

“This is the only way to credibly demonstrate compatibility with Net Zero targets. If Scotland is serious about being a climate leader, this assessment must be comprehensive, detailed, and robust. We’ll wait to see next week if it is.”



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David Hansen
4 months ago

It will be interesting next week to see if Scotland is serious about being a climate leader.

Judging by their past and current actions, like continuing to widen the A9 [1] [2], they are not serious. What they produce will be interesting. Let's hope their figures are not "mysteriously" delayed and when they come out they are honest.



[1] transport is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and has been for about 5 years. Road transport is the largest sub-sector within transport.

[2] a tiny amount of money has been and will be spent on improving the parallel railway line. There is no sign of it being double tracked and electrified, something a government which was serious about the environment would already have done.

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Sarah Jones
4 months ago

The Scottish Government will publish nothing without pressure from other people as they love withholding documents that prove their incompetency!

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David Hansen
4 months ago

Interesting that they have now admitted:

"A9 Dualling Programme, £0.3bn – The A9 Dualling programme is estimated to result in increased traffic volumes. This goes against the objectives set out in the CCPu to reduce car km and to reduce emissions from transport. As such this has been rated as being a “Negative – High” classification."

At least they admit the truth, but clearly don't intend to do anything about it.