After withholding a climate assessment of its £26bn infrastructure plan, the prospect of legal action from the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland (ERCS) and Good Law Project has won a promise from Scottish Ministers to publish it.
In response to the prospect of legal action by ERCS and Good Law Project, the Scottish Government has confirmed it will publish a detailed assessment of the carbon emissions expected from its £26bn investment plan from the week beginning 15th January.
ERCS and Good Law Project took legal action in September 2023, forcing the Government to admit that its failure to publish any assessment of the climate impact of its Infrastructure Investment Plan was in breach of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.
Ministers said they had begun “urgent work” to address this problem. But when it emerged they were withholding details of the emissions the plan is expected to produce, we pointed out that this work wouldn’t be enough.
The Government has now upheld its “commitment to complying fully with the section 94A duty through the publication of the assessment as soon as possible”. This assessment is now due to be published in the week beginning 15 January.
Good Law Project and ERCS look forward to the publication of these crucial details in full and will be taking a close look at the assessment as soon as it is published, to ensure it is up to scratch and fully complies with the Scottish Government’s legal duties.
Dr Shivali Fifield, Chief Officer at ERCS, said:
“We are pleased to hear the government has made progress on its climate impact assessment. However, this promise to publish must be matched with transparent calculations of the emissions anticipated from the Infrastructure Investment Plan. This is the only way to credibly demonstrate compatibility with Net Zero targets. If Scotland is serious about being a climate leader, this assessment must be comprehensive, detailed, and robust. We’ll wait to see next week if it is.”
Good Law Project Legal Director, Emma Dearnaley, said:
“We’re facing a climate emergency, so it’s crucial we can see whether or not the Scottish Government’s plan will impact our ability to reach net zero.”
“It’s encouraging that Scottish Ministers have now committed to publish a climate impact assessment of its plan – following our further legal pressure. If only the UK Government was prepared to follow Scotland’s lead and come to the table to enable climate transparency in the same way.”
Please direct media enquiries to:
Shivali Fifield at ERCS on Sfifield@ercs.scot / 07395 652434
Tim Picton at Good Law Project on firstname.lastname@example.org / 07907 296156.
Notes to editors
- To arrange an interview with Dr Shivali Fifield, please contact Sfifield@ercs.scot / 07395 652434. To arrange an interview with Emma Dearnaley, please contact email@example.com / 07907 296156.
- A chronology of the legal correspondence between Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland/ Good Law Project and Scottish Government:
- Letter to Màiri McAllan MSP, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition – 5 September 2023
- Response from the Scottish Government Legal Directorate – 14 September 2023
- Letter from the Scottish Government Legal Directorate to Good Law Project and ERCS – 12 October 2023
- Response to Scottish Government Legal Directorate from Good Law Project and ERCS – 26 October 2023
- Response from Scottish Government Legal Directorate to Good Law Project and ERCS – 12 December 2023.
- The Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland 2021-22 to 2025-26 (PDF)
- Infrastructure Plan Progress Report – 2021-2022
- The relevant legislation is the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 as amended by the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019.
- This is Good Law Project’s first legal campaign in Scotland since it announced its expansion into the country last year.
- About the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland: The Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland (ERCS) was established in 2020. We assist the public and civil society to understand and exercise their rights in environmental law and to protect the environment. We carry out advocacy in policy and law reform to improve environmental rights, and ensure full compliance with the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice on environmental matters.
- About Good Law Project: Good Law Project is a non-profit that uses the law to build a fairer future. We took a leading role in overturning Boris Johnson’s unlawful prorogation of parliament and in exposing the cronyism at the heart of the government’s £50bn Covid procurement. We helped a woman who had suffered sexual assault defend her right to tell her own story and forced the government to rewrite its threadbare net zero strategy.