Politics

Only 17% of public sector vehicles are zero-emmisions

SCOTLAND’S public bodies have been challenged to set a better example, after it was revealed that less than a fifth of the fleet in key organisations is made up of zero-emissions vehicles.

The Scottish Conservatives asked seven organisations working across the public sector for the number of zero-emissions vehicles they had.

While 42.5% of NatureScot’s vehicles are zero emissions, the research found that just 4% of vehicles at Forestry and Land Scotland fall into this category.

Across the seven bodies – the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Scotland, NatureScot, the Scottish Ambulance Service, Forestry and Land Scotland, Police Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland – 17% of vehicles are zero emissions.

Just over a fifth (20.8%) of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service vehicles are zero emissions, compared with 14% of the fleet in the Scottish Ambulance Service and 11% of Police Scotland’s fleet.

Meanwhile, zero-emissions vehicles make up approximately 10% of vehicles in NHS Scotland.

The Scottish Government has already pledged to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, as part of efforts to reduce emissions which contribute to climate change.

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In the wake of that Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said: “These government-funded organisations should be setting the example, but instead they are still relying on the very vehicles they tell everyone else not to drive.”

He added: “The SNP-Green coalition talks a good game on the environment, yet when push comes to shove it invariably fails to deliver.

“Public bodies should be setting an example when it comes to switching to sustainable cars – and 17% is nowhere near good enough.

“It’s deeply concerning, and clearly they are receiving insufficient funding from the Scottish Government to upgrade their fleets.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We’ve set out an ambition to decarbonise public sector vehicles in stages – starting with cars and new light commercial vehicles by 2025, and all new vehicles by 2030, applying flexibility and pragmatism for front line, specialist and emergency service vehicles where required.”

He added: “The Scottish Government has supported decarbonisation of fleets in local authorities since 2014 and in other public bodies since 2019, with more than £60 million invested to date.

“The funding has provided support and financial assistance to enable the procurement of over 3,450 zero- and ultra-low emission vehicles as well as charging and refuelling infrastructure.

“We also provide fleet decarbonisation reports, to assist in development of fleet decarbonisation strategies, as well as other tools and resources to help the public sector plan for and deliver against fleet decarbonisation targets.”

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