Sturgeon puts foot down hard on Scot-Govt accelerator in renewables race towards battery-powered vehicle (BPV) transport system

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has put her foot down hard on the accelerator in the race to beat Britain/Rest of UK to go all out for a BPV (battery-powered vehicle) transport system.

Earlier this summer, the Brit-Govt – itself playing ‘political catch-up’ with France – announced that it would ban the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) by 2040.

Yesterday, Sturgeon told Holyrood MPs that ‘action would be taken to phase out the need for petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 and fast-track the development of a Scotland wide charging network.’

Observers pointed out, however, that both the Scot-Govt. and Brit-Govt ambitions for BPVs are  exactly that – ‘ambitions to do something in future’ which do not, and cannot, bind successive governments to take, or to not take, action in the future.

But both the Holyrood and Westminster govt. statements do signal a ‘direction of green travel’ to both consumers/ motorists and to automotive manufacturers.

Without providing any further details, Sturgeon also said there would be ‘support for key business sectors including low carbon’.

The minority-SNP Scot-govt is also pedalling fast in its own race of ‘political catch-up’ on BPVs as the draft Scottish Energy Strategy announced last year by her Scottish Energy Minister – criticised as being too vague – was also entirely mute on how it would tackle emissions of greenhouse gases from the transport sector – which are twice as big as those from both electricity-generation or heating.

Either way, both Scotland and UK are both lagging way behind in the green-BPV race (see graphic, above on Leading Market Shares)

  • Norway already has a 29% share of electric cars sales;
  • Netherlands  6.4%; 
  • Sweden  3.4%; 
  • China, France, UK 1.5% (each);
  • US 1.4%.

There are two other energy-related Bills in the SNP programme;

Planning Bill

Responding to the independent review of the planning system, the Bill will ensure a greater focus on delivering the development Scotland needs with the infrastructure to support it. There will be a simpler, more effective system of development plans, to set a clear view of how areas will develop in future. Procedures for preparing plans will be improved and communities will have better opportunities to influence the future of their areas.

Climate Change Bill

The Climate Change Bill will respond to the historic Paris Agreement by setting more ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Bill will increase transparency, demonstrate our commitment to sustainable economic growth and signal to the international community that Scotland is the place to do low carbon business.

Sturgeon also outlined a heavy schedule of 16 new Scot-govt Bills in the SNP’s programme for government. Dominated by health, education and social security pledges, these Bills were all similarly light on detail. Holyrood will debate – but not vote on – the SNP programme for the rest of the week.

6 Sept 2017

 

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