New legislative programme in Holyrood focuses on decarbonisation agenda

The Scottish government will unveil plans for a new publicly-owned power company as part of a wider drive to decarbonise the country’s economy, according to its new legislative programme.

Holyrood’s governmental programme for 2017/18 includes the plans for a new government-owned energy company. The detail will be outlined in the final version of Scotland’s Energy Strategy, due to be published by the end of this year.

The Scottish Government has also included a Climate Change Bill in its programme, which will raise Scotland’s statutory carbon reduction 2050 target. The bill will be underpinned by a Climate Change Plan, which is due to be published in early 2018.

In a further move to tackle greenhouse gases, the Scottish Government has said it will “phase out the need” for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, eight years ahead of the 2040 target recently announced by the UK Government.

To facilitate the switch from internal combustion to electrically powered vehicles, the Scottish Government has pledged to expand the country’s electric charging infrastructure over the next five years by providing “easy access” to a network of smart and rapid charge points.

Scotland’s first “electric highway” will be created on the A9, which runs from the centre of Scotland to the far north, by installing charging points along the route.

Charging points will be one of the technologies that will benefit from a £60 million Innovation Fund, which is being set up by the Scottish Government to deliver low-carbon energy infrastructure.

The Scottish Government has also said it will provide financial support for research and development into expanding the electrical vehicle infrastructure in Scotland, such as providing charging points for residents of tenement blocks.

In addition, the Scottish Government’s legislative programme includes a new Warm Homes Bill, which will set a new statutory fuel poverty target.

Commenting on the programme Jenny Hogan, deputy chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The announcement of £60 million to deliver cutting-edge low-carbon energy infrastructure like electricity battery storage and sustainable heating systems will build on the success of projects already announced under the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and further enable our shift to a cleaner, greener economy.

“A focus on ultra-low emission vehicles, and particularly a drive to encourage their uptake by public bodies, will help move our transport system to one powered increasingly by renewables.

“A new Climate Change Bill which will toughen Scotland’s statutory 2050 greenhouse gas emission target will provide a context for the further development of our industry, enabling renewables to continue to reduce emissions and drive sustainable economic growth.”

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