With the UN climate change conference in Glasgow being rescheduled until 2021, the Scottish government are being urged to produce a fleet of electric busses for the event.
The plan came from the Just Transition Commission, which was asked by ministers for advice on implementing a green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
The report stated that the £500m spending commitment to enhance the bus network should be rolled out rapidly, to help reduce the amount of carbon emission produced by the UK.
Additionally, within the report it has asked for a bus scrappage scheme to be implemented for all the outdated vehicles. If the scheme was put in place, it would allow more polluting buses off the road and allow newer greener alternatives to replace them.
In November 2021, Glasgow will be hosting the COP26, which is an international climate change conference where world leaders will examine the most vital round of discussions since the global Paris Agreement, which was secured in 2015.
The report acknowledged that a public procurement process would be necessary to buy an electric bus fleet for COP26, but it said the government should ensure the domestic supply chain was prioritised when buying the bus fleet.
The report also made a string of recommendations to support the public transport sector which it recognised was struggling with the low passenger numbers necessary for corona virus related physical distancing.
Bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis said on Monday that a quarter of its workforce was now at risk of redundancy, but he has welcomed the idea of introducing more electric buses.
The business suffered a big drop in orders since the start of lockdown because passenger numbers have fallen.
The report said work needed to be done to rebuild confidence in public transport.
Colin Robertson, from Alexander Dennis, said: “We need action now, but we don’t just need action in Scotland, we need action all across the UK”.
“If there is action sooner rather than later, we might be able to save a number of these jobs but inevitably we are going to have to downsize our business to some degree.”
The report also made three other recommendations:
- Calling for a large-scale decommissioning programme to be created for the North Sea to support the energy transition.
- Focus on plugging and abandonment of oil wells and would provide new jobs for those facing redundancy.
- Doubling of the budget for home insulation and for an increase in tree planting.
Its first report, earlier this year, said lessons needed to be learned from the closure of Scotland’s last cost-fired power station, which had a significant impact on the neighbouring village of Kincardine. However, the final report will be presented to ministers in early 2021.
At the start of the year, the first electric bus was in full operation for the first time since the 1960’s as the Scottish city set its sights on hitting net zero emissions by 2050 but can the Scottish government push for more electric buses before the launch of the COP26.
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