Steps need to be taken to reduce emissions and limit the effects of climate change

We have been asked to give evidence on climate change at the Scottish Parliament in November.

Walking and cycling should be the natural choice

The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee will look at how the Climate Change Bill affects transport, active travel, behaviour change and how transport contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. Our Chief Officer Ian Findlay said

We welcome the Bill as there is a need for major steps to reduce emissions and limit the effects of climate change. Transport, behaviour change and planning all play a part.

Transport became the single biggest source of emissions in Scotland for the first time in 2017 and it is the sector that has made least progress in cutting emissions.

Walking and cycling should be the natural choice for short journeys, creating healthier, more socially inclusive, economically vibrant, environmentally friendly places to live and work. If we want to encourage less car use, walking, cycling and public transport need to become the most attractive options.

More than 50 per cent of all driven journeys in Scotland are under 5km, and 26 per cent are less than 2km, so there is plenty of scope for a shift to walking and cycling as the most sustainable forms of transport.

Transport measures that we have recommended to reduce both climate and air pollution emissions include:

* More investment in safer walking and cycling infrastructure.
* Improved bus services – walking makes up part of most travel by public transport, but bus use is in decline.
* Changing the default speed limit in urban areas from 30mph to 20mph.
* Support and funding for Low Emission Zones.

The added health and social benefits associated with changes in travel choice are very significant. Increased walking and cycling bring multiple benefits to our health, environment and economy. Making walking, cycling and public transport attractive options is key to encouraging less car use.

There will need to be an increase in resources to make this happen – so we welcome the recent increase in the Scottish Government spending on active travel.

Our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme, supported by Transport Scotland, is helping local authorities and other organisations in encouraging people to make more active and sustainable travel choices.

You can find our written submission to the committee here
More information, email