Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting our Emissions Reduction Targets 2013-2027 - The Draft Second Report on Proposals and Policies


7. Transport

7.1.1 Transport emissions, including international aviation and shipping, make up just under a quarter of Scotland's total emissions, and more than two thirds of these emissions come from road transport.

7.1.2 Over the past few decades, there has been a large rise in the distance we travel, mostly through car travel. Around 84% of the 2.7million vehicles in Scotland in 2010 were cars, 9% were light goods vehicles, 2% were motorcycles, and heavy goods vehicles accounted for about 1%. Active travel, walking and cycling, accounts for less than 3% of total mileage travelled each year.

7.2 Our ambitions for decarbonising transport

7.2.1 Our ambition is for almost the complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050. In RPP1, we set milestones to 2020:

  • A mature market for low carbon cars resulting in achievement of an average efficiency for new cars of less than 95 gCO2e/km;
  • an EV charging infrastructure in place in Scottish cities;
  • Personalised travel planning advice provided to all households;
  • Effective travel plans in workplaces with more than 30 employees; and
  • At least 10% of all journeys made by bicycle.

7.2.2 We aim to see significant progress in the decarbonisation of road transport by 2030 through wholesale adoption of electric cars and vans, and conversion to hybrid or alternatively-fuelled HGVs and buses - as well as significant steps to decarbonise rail and maritime transport. We are also aiming for significant modal shift towards public transport and active travel.

7.2.3 Given sufficient progress to 2020, electric vehicle uptake could accelerate in the 2020s. Key drivers will be the continued installation of high powered charging facilities, increases in vehicle range and reductions in cost. By 2030, potentially 60% of new vehicles (over 30% of fleet) will be plug-in hybrid (PIH) or pure electric vehicle (EV).[144]

7.3 Where we are now

7.3.1 Transport emissions in 2010 amounted to 13.2 MtCO2e or 24.1% of total Scottish emissions, and the majority (9.4 MtCO2e) was from road transport. [145], [146]

7.3.2 Overall, transport emissions (including international aviation and shipping) have increased 1% from levels seen in 1990. In 2010, emissions from domestic transport were 2% higher than 1990, at 10.7 MtCO2e, whilst emissions from international aviation and shipping in 2010 remained at the 1990 level of 2.5 MtCO2e (aviation emissions went up significantly and shipping went down).

7.3.3 However, emissions in 2010 were slightly lower than in 2009 - giving three consecutive years of reductions. In 2010, road traffic fell 1.7% compared to 2009, attributable mainly to a fall in car traffic. The intermittent recovery from the economic recession clearly continues to play a significant part in the recent reduction in reported transport emissions. However, the current Business as Usual projection for transport emissions suggests that they will increase by 11% from 13.5MtCO2e to 14.8MtCO2e between 2013 and 2027.

7.3.4 Car emissions currently account for 5.3MtCO2e, or around 55% of surface transport emissions. Average vehicle emissions are falling steadily as a consequence of improved engine efficiencies and currently stand at stand at 159gCO2e/km. However, these gains have been offset by increased car travel.[147]

7.3.5 In 2011, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders calculated that average new car emissions in the UK fell to 138gCO2e/km, down from 190gCO2e/km in 1997 and a fall of 27% over the period.[148]

7.4 Four packages for decarbonisation

7.4.1 Our transport contribution is set out in four packages:

  • decarbonising vehicles;
  • road network efficiencies;
  • sustainable communities; and
  • business engagement around sustainable transport.

7.4.2 Policies and proposals covering Scotland's transport emissions are anticipated to reduce emission by 4.1MtCO2e to 10.5MtCO2e

Package 1 - Policies and proposals to decarbonise vehicles


7.4.3 EU Directives make significant contributions to emissions reductions. The EU Directive on carbon dioxide from cars requires new car fleet average emissions to be 130gCO2e/km by 2015 with a target of 95gCO2e/km by 2020. For vans, there is a 175gCO2e/km by 2017 and 147gCO2e/km by 2020.[149]

7.4.4 We support UK Government efforts to press the European Commission for higher vehicle emissions standards beyond 2020 to deliver further improvements in conventional vehicle efficiency and to provide certainty on future markets for ultra-low carbon vehicles. For new cars, the UK Government considers a range of emissions between 50gCO2e/km and 70gCO2e/km in 2030 to be plausible and, for vans, a range of between 75gCO2e/km and 105gCO2e/km.

7.4.5 The EU biofuels target is implemented through the UK Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation[150] (RTFO). Currently, it seems unlikely that biofuels will make up more than 10% of transport fuel by volume by 2020. Biofuels could, though, have a role in market segments where there is limited scope for emissions cuts through electrification, for example in relation to conventional cars and vans, buses and coaches, and HGVs (HGV diesel already meets the RTFO).


7.4.6 The interventions below are treated as proposals for emissions accounting purposes. This is because, while in most cases they are already being taken forward, they are not yet being implemented at the intensity required for the abatement figures in this document.

7.4.7 The CCC suggests that by 2020, at least 5% of the car fleet should be electric vehicles (16% of new car sales) in order to provide the 'critical mass' for subsequent roll-out. This would amount to 120,000 vehicles with new car sales of around 27,000.[151]

7.4.8 Our work in the coming years will focus on decarbonising vehicles, particularly through fleet conversion to electric vehicles (EVs), and in the public sector, as well as supporting electric vehicle infrastructure. Industry will have a key technology role in this by increasing battery ranges and reducing their costs, while manufacturers are expected to develop alternative ownership models for consumers.

7.4.9 We are now in our third year of funding the installation of EV charging facilities and participating in the Department for Transport (DfT) - via its offshoot organisation the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) - UK Plugged-in Places initiative. The programme will see the installation of a high powered interoperable network of charging facilities across Scotland's seven cities and primary road network together with commercial workplace and home charging facilities. By the end of 2012-13, expenditure on EV charging infrastructure and EVs for all of Scotland's community planning partnerships will total £9million.

7.4.10 By the summer of 2013 we are aiming for a network of over 500 double outlet charging posts, of which over 300 will be publically available across Scotland. This, ultimately commercial, network is to be known as 'Charge Place' Scotland. Our Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme[152] has enabled the purchase of low carbon vehicles as well as supporting the change of public attitudes towards these vehicles by increasing their visibility.

7.4.11 We are reliant on the development programmes of various vehicle manufactures who are, in European terms, only releasing low carbon vehicles for sale in spring/summer 2013 and onwards. This should result in greater opportunities for society to purchase vehicles. Our 'Charge Place' charging infrastructure will be ready for use in addition to undergoing further roll out to improve its availability across all of Scotland.

7.4.12 As other technologies emerge and become credible options we will take steps to promote them. We have identified further projects at key locations to reduce carbon from transport, including LNG (liquid natural gas), inductive charging technology for fleet vehicles and hydrogen to help tackle emissions from HGVs and public service vehicles.

7.4.13 The E-cosse Partnership, initiated by Transport Scotland and WWF Scotland, is a collaboration involving industry, government and other key stakeholders to advance adoption of EVs in Scotland. Its approach acknowledges that whilst government can put in place relevant policy frameworks, stakeholder support for areas of the work is essential. For example, industry has a critical role through its development work on technology issues such as increasing battery range and reducing their costs (costs can currently be prohibitive for some buyers), while manufacturers are expected to develop alternative EV ownership/leasing models for consumers.

Electric vehicles and the grid

The adoption of EVs has implications for Scotland's power transmission and distribution networks although, in practice, this will depend on the way consumers use and charge their vehicles (e.g. home night time charging versus daytime charging at public or commercially owned charge points).

The role of EVs in utilising 'excess' renewable energy, and helping to balance variations in demand for electricity over time as part of a smart energy grid, is already being implemented by the installation of the most powerful charging equipment possible (7 Kw) in homes (to be used at night) and the same capacity facilities in cities' short stay daytime parking facilities.

High powered facilities are reserved for the primary road and ferry networks for longer journeys being undertaken. Wider aspects are being considered in the EV Roadmap being produced through the E-cosse partnership. Increased electricity tariffs could potentially be levied at times of peak demand to further encourage EV charging off-peak.

7.4.14 In addition to work on producing the 2013 Roadmap setting out how its aims will be achieved, other elements of E-cosse comprise:

  • The E-cosse Strategic Board, a forum of leaders from government, industry and other stakeholders. It first met in October 2012, chaired by the Minister for Transport and Veterans and co-chaired by Gordon McGregor, Energy and Environment Director at Scottish Power; and
  • E-cosse Readiness initiatives which will establish a portfolio of projects to advance EV adoption and implement the recommendations of the roadmap


7.4.15 Buses account for 6% of Scotland's surface transport emissions. Our Scottish Green Bus Fund,[153] launched in 2010, is helping our bus industry invest in the latest emission reducing technology and demonstrates our commitment to its future. Our support targets the price difference between a LCV bus and its diesel equivalent. Our aim is to improve air quality, accessibility and encourage modal shift.

7.4.16 A market penetration of 50% hybrid buses by 2027 is thought to be achievable, provided the technology improvements continue to remove the price differential between hybrid and diesel engines. Towards the end of this period, hybrid bus engines are expected to become cost competitive with diesel engines. This transformation is an important opportunity for the Scottish bus manufacturing sector which is led by Alexander Dennis of Falkirk.

7.4.17 Following a revision in the Bus Service Operators Grant methodology, grants to operators to support the network and keep fares down are based on distance rather than fuel consumption, increasing incentives for fuel efficiency and thus rewarding environmentally efficient operations as well as supporting the extent of the bus network. Additionally, LCVs receive double the standard rate. Further, local authority actions around the permitted vehicle types in air quality zones could further encourage low carbon transformation.

Hydrogen Buses

The Aberdeen Hydrogen project being led by Aberdeen City Council and SSE will see ten hydrogen buses operate on routes within central Aberdeen. This will be the largest fleet of hydrogen buses in Europe. They should be on First and Stagecoach bus routes by 2014 and will be refuelled at Scotland's first large hydrogen refuelling station, which will also be able to fuel hydrogen powered cars.

In the second phase of the project, SSE will develop a whole hydrogen system, which will harness wind energy to produce and store hydrogen, which can then be used to fuel vehicles and other uses such as generating electricity at times of peak demand.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise have each committed up to £1.65million to support the project, which has a total budget of £22.5million, has also received funding from the European Commission, the UK Technology Strategy Board and NESTRANS. Other partners include Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, Ballard, BOC/Linde, Element Energy, Scotia Gas Networks and Van Hool.

7.4.18 In the coming years we will support hydrogen pilot projects as with the example in the box above.

Maritime transport

7.4.19 While emissions from ferries are relatively small, it is important to drive them down. Subject to capital availability, our Ferries Plan, published in December 2012, sets out a major programme of vessel investment, including fuel efficiency improvements, from 2015. We are considering the scope for more efficient powering of vessels while in port through connection to shore-side power sources and the use of port sites for renewable power generation.

7.4.20 We are also working with operators and the port sector on the environmental impact of maritime transport. This work includes emissions reduction from improved vessel design, hybrid diesel-electric engines (especially for ferries) and use of other alternative fuels, and improved fleet management. Improvements to the efficiency of the subsidised fleet as a whole are dependent upon the pace of vessel replacement.

7.4.21 Over the period 2027-2050, we expect many new low-emission ferries to be introduced. We are currently providing over £20million to our asset-owning company, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), [154] for the construction of two hybrid ferries which will be equipped with both conventional diesel engines and batteries which will be charged overnight from the grid.

7.4.22 Liquid Natural Gas may also contribute to maritime emissions abatement, with potential usage for one or perhaps two generations of vessels as part of the transition to the low carbon ferries.

7.4.23 We also support efforts for an international agreement on carbon emissions from shipping.


7.4.24 The EU is responsible for the main policy lever for addressing aviation emissions, through the EU ETS, under which emissions from both domestic and international aviation are capped. In 2012, emissions were capped at 97% of average annual emissions from 2004-2006, and from 2013-2020 they will be capped at 95%.

7.4.25 In support of an agreed international position on aviation emissions the European Commission has instigated a 'stop the clock' proposal that will result in the exclusion of flights into and out of Europe from the ETS until September 2013. If sufficient progress is made as part of these international negotiations then this will continue post September. The International Civil Aviation Organisation is taking forward these negotiations and Scotland is feeding into the discussion through the UK's negotiators. European aviation emissions will continue to be included in the scheme for domestic flights and flights to and from European nations

7.4.26 We endorse the on-going aviation Clean Sky[155] partnership between the European Commission and industry which, with a grant budget of some €1.6billion, will speed up technological advance. Biofuels also have potential to deliver a step-change in the environmental performance of aviation and have been used on a number of commercial flights since June 2011.

Package 2 - Road network efficiencies

7.4.27 We will complement our work on promoting low carbon vehicles with road network efficiency initiatives such as congestion management and efficient driving.

7.4.28 Our Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)[156] and the further deployment of average speed cameras on trunk roads will encourage driving at more efficient speeds. The most efficient driving speed for cars varies but, in general, efficiency tends to decrease with speeds above 50 mph. ITS tools include variable speed limits, variable message signs, ramp metering and targeted use of the hard shoulder as an additional 'managed lane' for priority vehicles. Smoother traffic flows can also result in a reduction in emissions per vehicle and reduced fuel consumption.

Package 3 - Sustainable communities

7.4.29 The sustainable communities package aims to help people understand their options and use more carbon friendly modes of travel through travel planning, walking and cycling, and the use of car clubs.

7.4.30 By the 2020s, the concept of a sustainable community should be more of a reality than it is today given on-going work with local authorities and COSLA to develop approaches to providing and promoting sustainable transport options. The proportion of people commuting to work each day could be lower as a consequence of both digital technologies and low carbon behaviours and values.

7.4.31 We, with partners, will continue to develop community-based travel planning strategies in light of learning from the joint £15 million Smarter Choices Smarter Places (SCSP) demonstration programme [157] that ran in seven local areas between 2008 and 2012, as well as from other similar initiatives. There is a significant role for local authorities in delivering both behaviour change and infrastructural improvements (e.g., traffic calming and local road re-design). In addition, advice on travel choices (including vehicles-type) is available to members of the public from the network of Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centres.

7.4.32 Improvements in integrated public transport such as smart ticketing, and park-and-ride facilities, will support further modal shift to bus[158] and rail[159] and away from private car usage, particularly where complemented by local travel planning. Local authorities have key roles in establishing Bus Quality Contracts and statutory bus partnerships as on-going measures to attract new passengers by improved bus service delivery. We are working with the Bus Stakeholder Group to identify and tackle any barriers to wider take up of bus quality contracts and partnerships. Integrated ticketing and smartcards also have potential to increased travel by public transport especially as connectivity steadily improves.

7.4.33 In addition, work by bus operators and local authorities on interactive information boards within bus stops, with real time information on services, will develop confidence in public transport. Hand held devices such as smart phones, with access to similar information, offer the potential to limit time spent waiting for buses at stops - seen as one of the major costs of using public transport.

7.4.34 Our Cycling Action Plan[160] sets out our plans for achieving our vision that by 2020, 10% of all journeys in Scotland will be taken by bike. Our active travel policy beyond 2020 will continue work to substitute cycling and walking for car journeys of up to 5 miles, with on-going work with stakeholders to deliver further infrastructure improvements and promote active travel for shorter journeys. Scottish Ministers' intention to develop a National Walking Strategy[161] was announced in May 2012.

7.4.35 We will also continue to work with partners to develop the network of car clubs[162] across Scotland. Around a dozen have been developed to date and more are in development as communities recognise the potential cost-savings and convenience from car-sharing over car ownership. Car club vehicles are generally at the lower end of the emissions range for conventional vehicles and so car club journeys compare favourably in terms of average emissions per mile. Scottish car club vehicles are, on average, 29% more fuel efficient than the average car in the UK. Car clubs offer an opportunity to pilot the use of EVs in communities and this will be developed in the coming years. Car clubs should become self-sustaining over time given their financial attractiveness to members.

Package 4 - Business engagement on sustainable transport

7.4.36 Businesses and organisations are significant generators of travel, with 10% of average annual travel accounted for by business activity.[163] This travel represents significant costs to businesses. The package of interventions includes the on-going roll-out of fuel efficient driving,[164] workplace travel planning[165] and freight efficiencies.

7.4.37 Through the "ChooseAnotherWay" website hosted by Energy Saving Trust on behalf of Transport Scotland, we are supporting workplace travel-planning to identify alternatives to travel (through the use of technology) and lower-carbon alternatives to current strategies, including promotion of alternatives to travel (smarter working). We are also researching the impacts of the Worksmart[166] initiative and similar projects being undertaken by local authorities and organisations to reduce work-related travel and lever significant financial benefits as well as carbon abatement.


The chooseanotherway.com website is a resource centre for organisations in Scotland wanting to reduce the costs and environmental impacts associated with how we work and travel. It is hosted by the Energy Saving Trust on our behalf, and was developed in partnership with the 2020 Climate Group.

Mobility and the way we travel to the workplace, to meet clients, to transport goods and as part of daily operations can be a significant cost, source of emissions and area of corporate and occupational risk for organisations. The approaches provided will help businesses and organisations identify cost effective strategies for tackling travel-related issues, unlock benefits and achieve greater business efficiency and resilience. The website also provides knowledge-sharing opportunities through a series of webinars.

7.4.38 We are encouraging fleet efficiency improvements through promoting fuel efficient driving practices - for cars, vans and HGVs - and the application of vehicle telematics, as well as sign-posting opportunities for fleet conversion through green fleet reviews and work to help organisations identify the opportunities for reducing grey fleet costs.

7.4.39 We will continue to work with the haulage sector on alternatives to road haulage (freight modal shift to rail and water)[167] andencourage more efficient freight vehicle usage[168] (fuel efficient driving practices for HGVs and vans, fuels, encouraging load sharing and consolidation etc.

Lower emission potential in Transport

7.4.40 A range of models used to predict transport emissions suggests that it may be possible to reduce predicted emissions, perhaps by as much as 0.75Mt by 2027. This potential reflects uncertainties in projections of traffic growth; and the scope to manage reductions in use of the road network in favour of public transport and improved travel planning. This is not a short-term requirement and we would aim for an appraisal in RPP3 on realising this potential over the period 2025-27.

7.5 Supporting and enabling measures

7.5.1 Scottish Planning Policy influences the location, density and form of development to make access by public transport and active travel easier and reduce travel demand. It can also influence the accessibility of infrastructure for mobile phone technology, Wi-Fi and broadband.

7.5.2 Communities will benefit from the impacts of our Digital Strategy[169] allowing more opportunities for dispersed tele-working from home and community facilities, potentially reducing commuting and associated traffic/public transport congestion. Business and leisure travel emissions and costs should fall as more services, including shopping and public services, are accessed digitally.

7.5.3 We are implementing a wide range of infrastructure investment plans, geared to support sustainable economic growth in Scotland, which will encourage modal shift to public transport and active travel. We are committed to Fastlink in Glasgow, supporting the Glasgow Subway modernisation and Borders Rail, and supporting the Edinburgh trams, as well as work linked to the Forth Replacement Crossing around Park & Ride and dedicated busways.

7.5.4 In 2012-13 we are investing over £1 billion in public transport and other sustainable transport options to maintain the network and encourage people out of their cars. In June 2012 we announced a £5 billion package of funding and investment in Scotland's railways between 2014 and 2019 including a commitment to further electrification of the rail network.

7.5.5 Although Scotland does not feature in the UK Department for Transport's plans for high speed rail,[170] Scottish Ministers have agreed a programme of joint working with the UK Government for high speed rail between the North of England and Scotland. These plans will be presented in 2015. Scotland's inclusion adds to the economic case for high speed rail in the UK. It will also encourage modal shift from the UK's busiest domestic aviation market, between Scotland's central belt and London. A three hour journey time would potentially capture two-thirds of the overall Scotland to London travel market, and deliver reductions in carbon emissions from modal shift from air to train.

7.6 Costs and benefits

7.6.1 The costs of the interventions described above are largely derived from the MTCCI report[171] on which our RPP1 analysis was founded. We have built on the work using updates from additional publications, including the CCC's Fourth Carbon Budget report.[172]

7.6.2 A significant proportion of the up-front funding required to implement many of these policies is likely to fall to the public sector. However, in general, the measures should bring financial benefits greater than their costs. Fuel efficient driving will bring fuel-cost savings for households and businesses, as well as a strong possibility of fewer traffic accidents. Modal shift to active travel should also provide financial savings to individuals. Car club membership can reduce the requirement for car ownership, while offering households and organisations access to lower cost car usage.

7.6.3 On top of the financial benefits, most of the policies and proposals will bring additional benefits such as improved health, improved air quality, less congestion and noise pollution, and enhanced biodiversity.

7.6.4 The decarbonisation agenda offers a real opportunity to re-focus Scotland's expertise in high value manufacturing into a new, dynamic and rapidly growing global market for low carbon vehicles and vessels. Although Scotland has no major car manufacturing industry, Scottish companies have capability in niche vehicle manufacturing and are bringing prototypes to market. These companies include Allied Vehicles Ltd (EVs), [173] Axeon (lithium-ion batteries)[174] and Alexander Dennis Ltd (hybrid buses).[175] The uptake of EVs will also support opportunities related to large scale transition to renewable energy generation. In addition, the £20 million contract for new hybrid ferries has been awarded to the Ferguson Group.[176]

7.6.5 Taking account of forecast costs for petrol and diesel and the relative fuel efficiencies of conventional and electric cars, electric vehicles should over time become significantly cheaper to run than conventional vehicles. This could stimulate increased vehicle usage, thus congestion, which would need to be tackled through traffic management.

7.6.6 The provision of additional cycling and walking infrastructure can be labour intensive relative to larger infrastructure projects, thus creating construction work for locally-based contractors. Jobs may also be created in bike shops, supply chains and leisure and tourism outlets as well as in relation to cycle training provision and promotion. Increased participation in active travel, in addition to car and lift sharing, can also help alleviate transport poverty issues by widening the low-cost low-carbon travel options available.

Highlights of progress to date

Through our Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Support Scheme, and membership of the UK Government's Plugged in Places, we have invested £9million in LCVs and charging infrastructure over 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. Scotland's public sector has purchased around 270 LCVs including cars, vans and street sweepers, and installed over 500 charging posts.

Since 2010, the Green Bus Fund has provided support of £5.8million to eight bus operators for the purchase of 71 new hybrid buses. Each new bus is expected to produce 30% less emissions and require 60% less fuel than a diesel bus, to deliver an average emissions reduction of around 21tCO2e per year or 300tCO2e over its life-cycle.

A further £3million for a third round of the Fund was announced in August 2012. The current round has attracted bids from five operators for funding to allow purchase of an additional 45 LCVs. If approved, these bids will receive grant totalling £2.5million, bringing total grant under the Fund to approximately £8.3million. Thus, the Fund will have provided support for a total of approximately 116 green buses, achieving an estimated reduction of emissions totalling 36ktCO2e over the life cycle of the vehicles.

Cycling. We are continuing to support local authorities and stakeholders in their efforts to encourage active travel by our investment of additional funding over the next three years of £13 million, announced in February 2012, with a further stimulus of £6 million in September 2012. On 2 January 2013, we announced a further £3.9million investment over the next two financial years. This financial commitment also supports year-on-year increases in the percentage of school children receiving on-road cycle training and a major road safety campaign aimed at vehicle drivers. There is potential to achieve greater returns from investment in this area by exploring any possible opportunities to incorporate cycle way improvements in roads projects.

7.7 Transport -abatement summary

Transport Earliest start date[177] Annual Abatement (KtCO2e) 2020 Annual Abatement (KtCO2e) 2027
Decarbonising Vehicles (EU Directives) Ongoing 1,243 1,727
Decarbonising Vehicles - 282 798
Sustainable Communities - 139 277
Business Efficiencies - 121 462
Network Efficiencies - 36 32
Lower Emission Potential in Transport 2025 0 750