Empower communities to achieve Net Zero, says CTA

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CT week recognises the value of community transport operators across the country. CTA

Scotland will fail to achieve net zero carbon emissions without more ‘community-led climate action’, according to a new report from a transport charity the Community Transport Association (CTA). It warns that Scotland’s ambitious climate targets to reduce car use by 20% by 2030 and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045 will be missed unless more communities are supported to deliver local transport projects and services like community-owned buses, bicycles and car clubs.

The Scottish Government has missed its legally binding carbon reduction targets in eight out of the last 12 years, and transport is Scotland’s biggest emitting sector. The CTA says that time is running out, and is calling for more investment by the Government and councils to maximise the ‘full potential of local charities, community groups and social enterprises’ to empower people to change to more sustainable travel behaviours.

18% of Scotland’s Community Transport fleet of buses, minibuses, vans and cars is now electric, up from 12% in 2021, the charity reports. However, 54% of local groups say a lack of funding is a major barrier for them to transition to electric vehicles (EVs). It estimates that vehicle costs have soared by 17% in the last 12 to 18 months.

David Kelly, CTA’s Director for Scotland, said: “Scotland’s transport emissions have barely changed since the 1990s. We need to do more – and we need to change our approach. As grassroots organisations, local community transport operators are perfectly placed to encourage and empower people to leave the car at home and travel more sustainably.

“Community Transport operators are doing fantastic work to reduce carbon emissions, tackle car dependency and encourage active travel. They’re making journeys by bus, shared car or electric bike more accessible, affordable and attractive for everyone, regardless of age, disability, gender, income or geography.

“But government, funders and other stakeholders need to do more to help our sector. Communities require more investment and practical support. Community Transport is an essential partner in Scotland’s Just Transition to net zero to ensure no one and no community is left behind.”

Graham Dunn, Manager of Community Transport Glasgow, which has a large zero-emissions fleet and runs a bus service in Drumchapel, said: “Community Transport can lead the way by moving to EVs and getting people out of their cars by providing transport solutions to local communities. We’re now able to provide a better, more accessible service with less polluting vehicles to some of the most deprived communities in Scotland.”