The Scottish government is set to invest a record £1.9bn in tackling climate change and creating green jobs in its proposed budget for 2021/22.
Delivery of a £1.6bn investment to transform heat and energy efficiency of buildings will get under way, directly supporting up to 5,000 jobs and tackling fuel poverty while rapidly accelerating the decarbonisation of an area which makes up a quarter of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Other highlights include delivering the first wave of the £2bn Low Carbon Fund, including, in the first year alone, £14m for the Green Jobs Fund. The heat in buildings budget will increase by £30m to £213.4m, while spending in forestry has been increased by £26.9m to £121.2m.
Further investment will support the delivery of major, multi-year commitments, including:
- A £250m peatland restoration programme;
- £120m for zero-emission buses;
- Over £500m for active travel;
- £70m to improve waste and recycling infrastructure;
- Over £500m for bus priority infrastructure.
Ministers also say that, to ensure Scotland realises the full benefits of COP26 in Glasgow, £8m will be targeted to showcase the country’s global leadership in tackling climate change, accelerate climate goals both domestically and globally, and develop Scotland’s international influence whilst attracting green investment and innovation. An ongoing commitment to support countries most affected by the climate emergency will be met with £3m for international climate justice.
Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s environment and climate change secretary, said: “This is a budget which rightly focuses on tackling the Covid-19 crisis and supporting our people, health service and economy in the immediate term, but it also lays the foundations to rebuild a fairer, stronger, and greener Scotland.
"Our commitment to tackling the twin crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss is unwavering and this cross-government investment ensures we support the transformational change required to become net-zero by 2045 – doing so in a way that protects our environment, creates good, green jobs and ensures no-one is left behind.
“Our commitment to ensuring Scotland’s recovery from Covid-19 is green has been prioritised despite the significant financial challenges of Covid-19, delays to the UK budget, the UK government spending review worsening our capital position and key powers remaining reserved to Westminster.
“2021 is a vital year for climate action and COP26 in Glasgow puts Scotland at the centre of a global to protect our people and planet. This budget enhances Scotland’s role as an international climate leader, backing up the world’s toughest climate target framework with on-the-ground delivery.”