The SNP has published its environmental manifesto to mark Earth Day, setting out its policies to tackle the climate emergency.
It follows a pledge from Nicola Sturgeon to capitalise on the increase in the number of people cycling and walking during the coronavirus pandemic by committing 10% of the transport capital budget to active travel by 2026.
The SNP has set a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and has pledged “record amounts” of investment to meet it, with an interim goal to cut emissions by 75% by the end of this decade.
In its “mini manifesto”, the SNP details plans to invest an additional £500 million in the natural economy, publish a strategy to tackle the biodiversity crisis, and to restore 250,000 hectares of Scottish peatland by 2030.
Transport policies include reducing the distances people travel in their cars by 20% and phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles – both by 2030, as well as providing free bikes for all children and young people who cannot afford them.
Jenni Minto, the SNP’s candidate for Argyll and Bute, said: “Scotland’s land and seas are a unique and precious resource which must be protected but also harnessed in a way that is green, fair and sustainable.
“The SNP will do that in its mission to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
“Scotland is already leading the way on climate change with its world-leading emissions, tree planting and peatland restoration targets, which not only supports biodiversity but also tackles harmful emissions and creates good, green jobs – often in rural communities. If re-elected, we will go further.
“We will revolutionise Scotland’s transport system, how we produce our own food and how we build homes. We will continue to invest in nature-based solutions, promote climate justice, demonstrate our climate leadership on the global stage and become a leading hydrogen nation.
“These steps we have pledged to take – tackling the climate crisis, transitioning to sustainable living, creating new industries to help us reach net-zero, and protecting our land and natural environment – are all central to our recovery from the pandemic and to our future as a nation.
“So to secure a greener and fairer future, in which Scotland no longer contributes to climate change, the experienced leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, vote SNP on May 6.”
During a campaign visit in Glasgow, the First Minister said every child leaving school in Scotland should be able to ride a bike, with the party pledging a scheme of loans and grants to help adults meet the costs of buying or repairing a bike.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The last few months have given all of us pause for thought about how we get around – and we must capitalise on the huge increases in people trying cleaner, greener and healthier modes of transport and lock in good habits for the future.
“In Government, the SNP has significantly increased funding for active travel in recent years, and by the end of the Parliament we’ll ensure that 10% of the transport capital budget is spent on walking, cycling and wheeling.
“We want to encourage good habits from the youngest age, so if re-elected we’ll provide free bikes for all children of school age who cannot afford them.
“We’ll also ensure every child in Scotland leaves school with the ability to cycle safely.
“Owning a bicycle should be a possibility open to everyone so we’ll make loans and grants available for the purchase of pedal cycles and for their repair.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe