Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth has challenged the Scottish Government over their failure to meet their pledge to remove the majority of fossil fuel buses from Scotland by 2023- and replace them with electric and hydrogen buses.

Speaking during Net Zero, Energy & Transport Questions in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday (September 29), the local MSP asked Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson: “Transport remains the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and one of the biggest barriers to councils delivering net zero.

“The Scottish National Party promised in its manifesto to remove the majority of fossil fuel buses from Scotland by 2023—a promise that was repeated in last year’s programme for government.

“However, Transform Scotland’s research suggests that just 16 per cent of the fleet will be electric or hydrogen powered by the end of next year.

“Can the cabinet secretary tell us whether that figure is correct? If the target is not met in 2023, when will the Government meet it?”

Speaking after the question session, Colin Smyth added: “We are currently facing a climate emergency and our councils have a huge part to play in reducing emissions.

“Unfortunately, because the Scottish Government looks set to fail to deliver yet another manifesto promise, local authorities in the south of Scotland and beyond will continue to fail to deliver net zero.

“The environment is all of our problem and we must ensure we’re all doing what we can to help cut emissions – and this includes the removal of fossil fuel buses.

“It is three years since I lodged amendments to the Transport (Scotland) Bill to lift the ban on council-run bus services, yet this Government has still not passed on to councils the powers that I secured, never mind given them the resources that they need to set up their own publicly and community-owned bus services.”

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