The Scottish Government will provide over £30m this year to support the switch to electric vehicles.
Some £28million will be on offer under the Low Carbon Transport Loan scheme, which offers up to £28,000 in interest-free loans for a new electric car or £10,000 for an electric bike or scooter.
Similar loans of up to £30,000 and £5,000 are available for second-hand cars and bikes respectively.
A further £1.75m will also go towards the Plugged In Communities initiative, which provides funding to community groups to secure an electric vehicle for a car club, as well as £1.7m in infrastructure grants.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “Whether it’s electric miles or gas miles, we know we need to cut car miles by 20% to meet our climate targets.
“In addition to continued support for zero-emission car clubs, I am thrilled that we are expanding support for community transportation programs.
“This will help eliminate the need for individual car ownership and ensure that it’s not just the wealthiest in society who can benefit from modern electric vehicles.”
She added: “Our funding program of over £30 million for zero-emission grants and loans will be refocused to support the many people and businesses, particularly in rural areas, who still need access to cars.
“By providing interest-free loans for used electric cars and for new light commercial vehicles and taxis, we continue to support our ambition to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. .”
Neil Leckie, senior program manager at the Energy Saving Trust – which administers the loans on behalf of the Scottish Government – said: ‘The low carbon transport loans have been instrumental in providing much needed support to drivers in Scotland to reduce both their carbon impact and fuel costs.
“We are encouraged by the progress made over the past 10 years, having worked closely with Transport Scotland to provide over £165 million in interest-free loans to support the purchase of over 6,100 electric vehicles.
“Over the coming year, we look forward to continuing to create lasting change, including making used electric vehicles available to a wider audience by reducing upfront costs – supporting a just transition to the net zero.”
Applications for the 2022/23 loan cycle open on Wednesday.
In addition, the Scottish Government has met its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Figures show emissions have been reduced by 58.7% between the baseline period and 2020. Ambition for this period was set at 56%, meaning the country has met its target after missing it the previous years.
The benchmark was 1990 for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, and 1995 for “F-gases” – hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride.
Source emissions of the seven greenhouse gases were estimated at 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), 12% lower than in 2019.
The report says transport emissions fell sharply due to the Covid-19 restrictions that were in place.
He also said there had been a 51% reduction in estimated emissions between 1990 and 2020, with major contributors to the decline including a decrease in energy supply, waste management and inland transport emissions. .
Domestic transportation – excluding aviation and international shipping – was the largest source of net emissions, followed by business, agriculture, residential and energy supply.
Carbon dioxide was the main greenhouse gas emitted or removed in most sectors, with the exception of agriculture and waste management.
It accounted for 65.8% of emissions in 2020 and is ‘by far the biggest contributor’ to Scotland’s emissions, although it has also seen the biggest reduction since 1990.
Methane was the second most common greenhouse gas in 2020 with 22.4% of all net emissions, followed by nitrous oxide at 9.1%. F-gases accounted for the remainder with 3%.
Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson said: “These annual figures show Scotland has met its 2020 climate target and continues to outperform the UK as a whole in long-term emissions reductions.
“The new data shows underlying progress in reducing emissions in key sectors of the economy – nevertheless, the most significant changes are in the transport sector and are associated with the temporary measures taken in response to the Covid pandemic -19”.
He therefore accepted that the figures could noticeably rebound in 2021.
“There can be no satisfaction in the emission reductions resulting from the health, economic and social damage of the pandemic, however, the data provides a valuable lesson regarding the scale of transformational change needed in response to the climate emergency and show that incorporating habits such as working from home and reduced car use can have a real impact on reducing emissions.
“With emissions down more than 50% since 1990, Scotland is making long-term progress towards net zero despite the constraints of delegated powers.”
Mike Robinson, chairman of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said the figures ‘tell two stories’, noting that the measures put in place to protect public health during the Covid lockdowns have undoubtedly played a part, with more people working from home and restricted travel.
“However, we also know that emissions will have rebounded as these temporary measures are relaxed.
“Essentially, we need the Scottish Government to treat climate change as the emergency it has declared to be back in 2019, ensuring long-term reductions in emissions while ensuring a green recovery.
“To achieve this, we need to see more ambitious action across all sectors, especially transport, agriculture and housing.
“Unless enhanced action is taken to improve delivery, the post-Covid-19 emissions rebound will ensure we miss our 2030 and 2045 targets – which is why we are calling on the Scottish Government to seriously up their game.”
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