The Perth and Kinross Climate Action Plan provides our overall vision to ensure we achieve a low carbon and climate resilient Perth and Kinross. Transport is one of the main areas that we identified, where we will have to make changes in order to tackle and adapt to climate change. Emissions from transport amounts to just over half (52%) of the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across Perth and Kinross.
Breaking the transport emissions down further, cars provide roughly 45% of the emissions, light and heavy goods vehicles both around 23% each, with emissions from trains providing the remaining 9%.
Changing our transport behaviours is not only crucial in order to achieve climate change targets, but to also ensure that we reduce the release of greenhouse gas emissions in the air and its effects on human health. Climate change and air quality are directly linked; air pollution often originates from the same activities that contribute to climate change.
Transport emissions have decreased by 10% between 2005 and 2019, with greater reduction of emissions associated with Motorways and A-Roads than minor ones. Active and public transport improvements are an on-going project.
Electric Vehicle infrastructure is being continually expanded, with currently 50 EV charging points available within the Perth and Kinross area.
Air quality within Perth and Kinross has been improving in recent years. Once an area with one of the third most polluted road in the country, 2019 was the first year since Perth and Kinross Council began monitoring, where there were no exceedances of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) national objectives in Perth and Kinross. Again in 2020, there were no exceedances of air quality objectives, however results were heavily impacted by reduced vehicle levels due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pollution levels within the Crieff Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) have remained within objectives for several years, leading to Scottish Government agreeing the area could be revoked in the near future if levels continue to stay low. This would leave Perth & Kinross Council with one remaining AQMA, Perth City.
For 2020/21, Transport emissions made up 7.1% of the Council’s overall Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions showing a decreasing trend compared to both 2019/2020 – 8.3% and 2018-2019 – 9.4%. Emissions sourcing from Transport account to a small percentage (24%) of the Council’s Scope 1 emissions, with Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) being responsible for 16.1% of these emissions.
Perth & Kinross Council has committed to decarbonising its transportation fleet on its journey to achieving Net Zero. This journey will involve replacing the fleet of petrol and diesel vehicles with ultra-low emission vehicles. The first phase of this work is to decarbonise the fleet of pool cars and small vans, with the second phase focusing on the heavy goods vehicles. Currently within Perth and Kinross, hydrogen fuel is not commercially available, so phase one of the project will focus on transitioning to electric vehicles. To support the move to electric fleet vehicles, electric charge point infrastructure will be required at depots, schools and offices. A substantial installations programme is required to adequately serve the needs of a decarbonised transportation fleet.
The following key transport themes have been identified:
- Increase active transport across Perth and Kinross: While the scale of change needed in transport mobility is known, the plan for how to achieve this remains uncertain. A new mobility strategy will be crucial to develop the detail associated with individual projects, including a plan for delivering a comprehensive active travel network, the growth of urban logistics and the development of new technologies applicable to the transport field. To ensure quick wins are delivered, progress will continue to deliver the Smarter Choices Smarter Places (SCSP) fund to encourage sustainable and active travel.
- Accelerate the EV transition: Modelling shows that this area has the potential to make the biggest impact on Transport emissions. The future role and development of Electric Vehicles and other alternative fuel technologies will also need to be addressed as a key part of an overall emissions reduction and wider mobility strategy. There will need to be a detailed review of how Perth & Kinross Council will proceed with the promotion and development of Electric Vehicles, as well as considering how we can accelerate the transition of Perth and Kinross’ taxi fleet. There will also need to be flexibility in our approach for alternative power sources for vehicles.
- Improve public transport provision: Perth & Kinross Council will work with public transport providers and regional partners to consider public transport requirements for the future, including for the emerging field of demand responsive transport, especially for rural areas.
- Reduce vehicles in town centres: A reduction in the use of vehicles in town centres is required to improve air quality and make space for safe and pleasant active travel and public transport. Delivery of the Cross Tay Link Road will lead to significant traffic reduction in Perth, freeing up space for non-vehicle users. An expansion of up to three Park and Rides for Perth will also help, as will the exploration of more innovative methods like Community Car Clubs.
- Ensure resilient transport systems: Actions associated with improving the resilience of the road network are required, with an urgent need to focus on scour provision for bridges and improving drainage provision for the rural road network (Linked with the Resilience action plan, Theme 6)
While lobbying for improved rail services will continue by Perth & Kinross Council, rail has not been focused on in this plan as the lead in this area is the Scottish Government.
A climate emergency has been declared internationally and recognised by both the UK and Scottish Governments. The key long-term target is to ensure Perth and Kinross is Net Zero by 2045 at the latest, with a 75% reduction achieved by 2030. Due to the majority role transport emissions contribute to Perth and Kinross’s overall emissions, reaching the 2030 emissions target will be impossible without significant changes to transport emissions.
There are several additional transport specific policy drivers that will prove challenging to achieve, namely the Scottish Government targets for modal shift – a 20% reduction in vehicle kilometres by 2030. This will would equate to a more than tripling of bus transport or other active travel measures. Over the same period, there is the need to see a dramatic transition with EVs expected to replace phased out petrol and diesel engines. How Perth & Kinross Council adapts to these changes, and what the potential implications are, is a significant issue to be addressed.
There are UK-wide targets for no new petrol or diesel cars vehicles to be sold from 2030, with more stringent targets specifically focused on the public sector. These include the requirement for petrol and diesel cars to be phased out of Perth & Kinross Council's car and light vehicle fleet by 2025 and no new heavy vehicles from 2030.
The following road map provides an overview of the actions which Perth & Kinross Council will undertake to achieve these targets in relation to transport. The impact of these actions will be largely dependent on how willing our residents and businesses are to come on this journey with us. Traffic modelling shows the rate of EV uptake plays the most significant role in emissions cuts.
Covid-19 Changes: As we slowly recover from the impact of Covid, there remains a significant degree of uncertainty in terms of how people will carry out their daily activities. Car volumes now appear to be at pre-covid levels but changes in how daily travel is distributed throughout the day is being noticed, along with significant reduction to public transport usage. These figures need to be caveated with the current home working for many of the major employers in Perth and Kinross including the Council.
Home working: The use of home working currently seems likely to remain at least on a hybrid basis. However, both bus and rail transport have fundamental issues to consider in the future and how their business models will work. The impacts and changes on how bus services are delivered in the future is particularly important for Perth & Kinross Council in terms of future revenue budget provision.
Reducing vehicle kilometres: The 20% reduction in vehicle kms by 2030 is a key challenge. If it was all met by increased public transport usage, this would be equivalent to a 360% increase on 2019 levels. Projected population growth, especially in edge of town developments will pose additional challenge to achieving this target.
Rural transport: The large rural population in Perth and Kinross poses many challenges for efficient transport emission reductions. Innovative approaches are required including around demand responsive transport. Electric vehicles have the potential to also have a big impact on rural transport emissions.
EV affordability and access: While electric vehicles will play an important part of the transition, it is important that they are only part of the solution. While the cost point of electric vehicles is rapidly decreasing, it still will remain unaffordable to many residents. The availability of public charging facilities will be a crucial factor in encouraging the EV transitions. This will require a strategic approach to EV charging ensuring both urban and rural areas have comprehensive facilities to cater for the long-distance traveller, visiting tourist as well as those in flats who have no access to onsite charging.
Data gaps: There is currently an absence of accurate real time data and information. This will be crucial for maximising the efficiency of the transport network and understanding the effectiveness of different measures. Faster emissions feedback is needed from annual Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) data that is published with an 18-month delay.
The following Key Performance Indicators have been developed to enable progress and monitor climate action related to Transport. The KPI framework will be further developed during 2022.
Increase active transport across Perth and Kinross
% journeys to work by sustainable (non-car) mode of transport
Commuting accounted for 19% of all journeys and 27% journeys to work were by sustainable (non-car) modes of transport (2019)
% child journeys to school by walking/cycling
51% of child journeys to school were by walking/cycling, compared to the Scottish average of 53% (2016)
% journeys to work by walking/cycling
18% of journeys to work were by walking/cycling, compared to the Scottish average of 15% (2019)
Total vehicle kms - split by Trunk roads and Local Roads
Total vehicle km in Perth and Kinross = 2619.05 million kms, which represents a 1% reduction on the previous period (2019)
Accelerate the EV transition
Number of public EV charging points (by category)
50 EV charging points, of which 82% are fast or rapid charging (Feb 2022)
% Taxi/Private Hire vehicles licenced by PKC that are electric
11 hybrid, 2 full electric PKC licenced taxi/private vehicles operating (Dec 2021)
Improve public transport provision
% Residents satisfied with public transport
68.4% of Perth and Kinross residents are satisfied by public transport, compare to the Scottish average of 67.7% (2019)
Reduce vehicles in City and town centres
Monitored air quality achieving annual mean concentration for Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10)
Since 2004, air quality in Perth and Kinross has steadily improved. In 2019, all four Perth and Kinross locations measured fell below the annual mean targets for Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10).
Smarter Choices, Smarter Places
Transport Scotland Grant administered by Paths for All since 2015. The grant is allocated to Local Authorities “to encourage more people to reduce their car use in favour of more sustainable alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport.” (Transport Scotland). The grant has helped Perth & Kinross Council achieve the following:
Bus and Cycle Project – Carse of Gowrie
Perth & Kinross Council have undertaken a number of projects to encourage residents to consider changing their mode of transport to being more sustainable for their everyday journeys. Along the Carse of Gowrie, Perth & Kinross Council have installed secure cycle storage lockers at bus stops to encourage residents into using the bus as an alternative to using the private car. This project is seeking to encourage residents in rural locations to consider changing their behaviour and cycle to the bus stop and then transfer to the bus for their onward journey. The secure cycle storage lockers were installed at the following locations:
- St. Madoes
Sustaining Choices Rattray
Perth & Kinross Council has been working closely with Planning Aid Scotland and Proactive Communities Blairgowrie and Rattray to better understand how to improve transport options for the community of Rattray. The goal of the project was to develop an increased evidence base to support sustainable transport and active travel interventions. The project team held a number of engagement sessions to better understand the issues of the community. In the final session with the community a Delivery Summit was held, where nine of the action points were selected to help scope future work with the community, with the actions being delivered by the community or Perth & Kinross Council or in collaboration between both parties.
More information on the project can be found on the following website https://www.pas.org.uk/sustainingchoices
Demand Responsive Transport Scheme – Kinloch Rannoch
“The demand responsive transport scheme (DRT) in the Kinloch Rannoch area is operated by two locally based operators and is available from 0700 – 2200 hours.
The area includes several hotels and holiday accommodation. Both the ScotRail trains on the West Highland Line and the Caledonian Sleeper direct from London Euston are major draws for visitors coming to stay in this area. As these visitors have no access to a vehicle during their stay, the provision of the DRT scheme not only enables and promotes green tourism by providing affordable public transport to the holiday accommodation, it broadens the local destinations available to the visitors. Prior to the DRT if visitors wanted a day out, they would often board on train to Fort William, meaning that any expenditure was outside the local area. The DRT means that now visitors staying in the deep rural locations can easily and affordably, frequently access Kinloch Rannoch during their stay, making use of the village facilities, local walks, cafe, hotel, shop and art gallery.
Equally, locals and visitors alike can be collected from their accommodation anywhere in the Rannoch area and transported for dinner in the local restaurants. This provides benefits in terms of reducing the potential for drink driving, reducing the need for a car and also because many visitors to the area arriving with their car can be uncomfortable driving on rural roads especially in the dark or poor weather conditions.
Prior to the DRT the costs of private-hire taxis for the above reasons were prohibitive for many. The DRT scheme also supports the employment of local staff, particularly those who do not have access to private transport and would otherwise not have been able to take up employment.
Another significant benefit of the scheme is providing affordable public transport for all ages to visit friends and family thus tackling potential for loneliness and isolation in this deeply rural community. The launch of the free U22s bus travel on 31 January 2022 will remove any financial barriers for that age group in accessing this transport thus also tackling poverty.”