In January 2021, the Council launched a new Climate Change Strategy in response to the global climate emergency, setting a long term target for West Dunbartonshire becoming net zero by 2045, following a similar trajectory to the national target set for Scotland as a whole. Then in November 2021, the Council launched a new Climate Change Action Plan which set out the immediate and longer term actions the Council will take to respond to the climate emergency. A priority action of our Climate Change Action Plan was to prepare a plan for sustainable transport. This strategy and plan explains how how the Council proposes to achieve net-zero emissions from transport by 2045 at the latest.
With this new vision for transport all fossil fuelled vehicles will be phased out and replaced with zero emission vehicles. Many new cars are already supplied net-zero, including vehicles on the Council’s growing fleet of electric vehicles. Increasingly the Council will seek net-zero in all of its transport procurement, including for staff travel, buses and trains. Replacing or retrofitting all current vehicles will take many years and the Council will be ending its own purchases of petrol and diesel cars in line with national commitments by 2025 at the latest, and helping to enable a comprehensive vehicle charging infrastructure to support these changes.
There is also a need for less travel. More of the increasingly congested space we currently use for moving around and parking cars, can be better used to create better places to to live and work. By making local travel more attractive and supporting better local services and facilities, everyone can live better lives. Investing in the connections between local people and local places is not just about new technology and local streets, but about organising the joint investment to improve access to opportunity. The new vision includes the development of new hubs in every community to help manage integrated transport services for people and more efficient local parcel delivery.
Enabling attractive walking routes needs a far higher priority so these plans will ensure everyone has safe walking routes available, suitable for use by an unaccompanied 10 year old, between their homes and local services including schools, shops and health centres. The cycle network will also be developed, building on the progress made on the core spine route through West Dunbartonshire with local gap free connections to every community also suitable for e-bikes and scooters.