Will Scotland Ban Petrol Earlier?
Aug 14 2017 Comments 0
Despite its thriving North Sea oil industry, the latest snippets suggest that Scotland could be on track to ban petrol earlier than the proposed 2040 timeline put forward by the British government. While the plan is fresh out of Downing Street, the Scottish Government claims that banning petrol has been on its agenda for quite some time.
Cleaner Air for Scotland
Back in 2013 the nation announced plans to enforce zero emission car sales by 2040, as well as a total phase out of 50% of fossil fuel powered vehicles by 2030. The goal was encompassed under the Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy, with ministers already announcing a pilot low-emission zone scheme which could see highly polluting vehicles banned in either Glasgow or Edinburgh as soon as next year.
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham is optimistic, commenting “No-one should be in any doubt about the Scottish Government’s determination to improve air quality and fight climate change. We want to achieve a dramatic increase in the percentage of ultra-low emission cars and vans on Scotland’s roads and it is encouraging to see the UK Government follow our lead.”
Ending the fossil fuel era
Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy for WWF Scotland was quick to get behind the ban, actively calling on Scottish ministers to commit to a nationwide phase out as part of the forthcoming Climate Change bill.
According to Hanrahan, the ban will play a crucial role in “ending the dominance of fossil-fuel vehicles,” as well as cleaning up the nation’s polluted air and tackling the looming public health crisis.
Critics call for more
It’s a positive step forward for Scotland, but some critics maintain that it doesn’t go far enough. Air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna didn’t shy away from reminding the public that “air pollution is a public health crisis which is killing thousands of people early every year, so a ban on sales of fossil-fuelled vehicles in 23 years time is simply not good enough.”
Environmental law firm ClientEarth agrees, stressing that “the 2040 diesel and petrol ban, while important, is a diversionary tactic and doesn’t deal with the public health emergency caused by illegally polluted air, now.” The firm is largely to thank for Britain’s newfound sense of environmentalism, having single handily taken the UK Government to court to force action on air quality.
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