Trans­port quango in elec­tric cars gaffe

● Three times as many trips in diesels ● Stur­geon wants elec­tric-only Scot­land

The Scotsman - - News Digest -

Na­tional trans­port agency Trans­port Scot­land has come un­der fire after it emerged that staff are us­ing `dirty’ diesel cars al­most three times as of­ten as elec­tric pow­ered ve­hi­cles for work-re­lated travel.

There were 167 jour­neys un­der­taken in diesel cars by the quango’s work­ers in the past six months, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures ob­tained by the Lib­eral Democrats. At the same time, just 59 jour­neys were un­der­taken in new elec­tric cars.

Ni­cola Stur­geon has set out am­bi­tious plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2032 in favour of elec­tric ve­hi­cles, in her re­cent pro­gramme for gov­ern­ment.

But Lib­eral Demo­crat en­ergy spokesper­son­liamm­carthur said: “It would seem the trans­port min­is­ter’s of­fi­cials had the TV switched off when he com­mit­ted the gov­ern­ment to phas­ing out petrol and diesel ve­hi­cles by 2032.

“While Scot­tish Lib­eral Democrats have wel­comed this am­bi­tion, we have been clear that min­is­ters must also set out the poli­cies that will build the mar­ket and en­hance the elec­tric ve­hi­cle net­work.

“I have pre­vi­ously in­vited the gov­ern­ment to re­think the Draft Cli­mate Change Plan to en­sure that we see far greater up­take of elec­tric and lowe­mis­sion ve­hi­cles. How­ever, it would seem the trans­port min­is­ter has his own prob­lems get­ting of­fi­cials on-board with the gov­ern­ment’s agenda.”

The fig­ures ob­tained by Mr Mcarthur in a Par­lia­men­tary An­swer re­veals that Trans­port Scot­land has five cars as part of its car fleet. Th­ese in­clude two elec­tric cars – a Re­nault Flu­ence and Nis­san Leaf – which made 59 jour­neys be­tween them since April. There are three diesel cars – a Mit­subishi Out­lander, Skoda Su­perb and Skoda Fabia – which made 167 jour­neys over the same pe­riod.

Dr Richard Dixon of Friends of the Earth Scot­land said: “They ought to be do­ing a bit bet­ter than that if it’s their pool cars. The pub­lic sec­tor ob­vi­ously needs to show the way in th­ese things.”

He said Glas­gow City Coun­cil has had a “large fleet” of elec­tric ve­hi­cles for some time, with charg­ing points around the city to power them.

“Other bits of gov­ern­ment and­par­tic­u­lar­lythose di­rectly con­cerned like Trans­port Scot­land ought to be set­ting us a very good ex­am­ple and I hope that when we look at th­ese same fig­ures again next year, we would see a very rapid changeover so that the elec­tric ve­hi­cle is the ve­hi­cle of choice.”

A Trans­port Scot­land spokesman said it will be look­ing to in­crease the num­ber of elec­tric or hy­brid cars in its fleet as the cur­rent diesel cars reach the end ser­vice. We be­lieve that by giv­ing our staff the op­por­tu­nity to use elec­tric and low-emis­sion ve­hi­cles, it al­lows them to be­come ad­vo­cates of the var­i­ous ben­e­fits they can bring,” he said.

“Our ‘Switched On Fleets’ ini­tia­tive is aimed at de­creas­ing the num­ber of fos­sil-fu­elled ve­hi­cles within Scot­land’s pub­lic sec­tor fleet. We will lead from the front to achieve this am­bi­tion, and con­tinue to pro­mote ac­tive and low car­bon trans­port.”

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