First Minister urged to take action to tackle emissions

Urgent action must be taken to reduce emissions, Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie told Nicola Sturgeon, adding that the latest transport figures “make for grim reading”.

Train and car use in Scotland has increased but the number of bus journeys has fallen, according to Transport Scotland statistics.

At FMQs, Mr Harvie said: “We’re all aware of the urgency of our environmental crisis, and the impatience people are expressing. From school strikes to climate scientists, nobody has looked at the February heatwave without recognising this is not normal.

“We need to change the way we live, and do it urgently, and transport is one of the areas where the Government has been told it needs to do better.

“Yet we’re seeing more road traffic, more air traffic, less bike use and less public transport use.

“Transport emissions have gone up 5% in the last five years when they should be going down.”

In response, Ms Sturgeon said: “There have been increases in traffic volume, but it is worth noting that greenhouse gas emissions from road transport are lower now that they were in 2007.”

She added: “But generally speaking, I agree. It is important to encourage people to look at different modes of transport.

“That’s good not just for the climate but also for public health, that’s why we’re investing more than £1 billion a year into public and sustainable transport to try to encourage people onto public transport and active travel.”

With the controversy of councils being given the power to introduce a car parking levy still fresh in the memory, Ms Sturgeon added: “I think it should make all parties think long and hard about the kind of knee-jerk opposition we see whenever we do so much as contemplate anything that would encourage people out of their cars.”

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