Scotland wants to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2032 — a full eight years ahead of the rest of the UK. The country will also be investing in a carbon capture project in Aberdeenshire to reduce its carbon footprint.
This Tuesday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined local government’s plans to end the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2032. The deadline puts Scotland eight years ahead of the roadmap Westminster set back in July, which aims to ban the sale of these vehicles throughout the UK in 2040. She added that her government wants to pay for feasibility studies of the Acorn carbon capture and storage project in Aberdeenshire.
“As members will be aware, we don’t currently hold powers over vehicle standards and taxation. However, we can and will take action,” Sturgeon said on Tuesday. “Our aim is for new petrol and diesel cars and vans to be phased out in Scotland by 2032 – the end of the period covered by our new climate change plan and eight years ahead of the target set by the UK government.”
“We live in a time of unprecedented global challenge and change. We face rapid advances in technology; a moral obligation to tackle climate change,” she added. “These challenges are considerable, but in each of them we will find opportunity. It is our job to seize it.”
The ban announcement comes as part of the larger climate initiative in Scotland but is perhaps the first which will have a noticeable effect for the public. It will limit “the avoidable impact poor air quality was having on people’s health,” government officials reported, a problem made glaringly obvious in other areas of the UK, most notably London. The transport sector has proved to be one of the hardest high-carbon areas of our economies to green up, partly because of industry lobby in government and partly because people didn’t feel their cars were “dirty” enough to warrant the hassle.
But, in the aftermath of recent revelations that some car manufacturers flat-out lie about their car’s emission levels, public sentiment has shifted strongly away from the industry — and with it, political support is also drying up. Public outcry over the scandal and air pollution levels, coupled with the rapid emergence of electric vehicles, have enabled Scotland to take a more decisive stance on the issue and impose earlier deadlines: the rest of the UK will enforce a similar ban by 2040, now eight years later than the Scotts. France has a similar ban in mind for 2040, and Norway takes the cake with a deadline set for 2025.
It’s not only about cars, however. Other goals Sturgeon’s government is pursuing include the creation of a fund to promote and support innovations in climate-change solutions, a “massive” expansion of the country’s electrical charging infrastructure, and plans to make the A9 the first fully electric-enabled road in Scottland. Finally, they will work on reviving the Acord capture and storage project which was shut down by the Tory government in 2015.