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Case update 10 April 2024

Scottish Ministers publish bare bones report on climate impacts

Islandstock / Alamy Stock Photo

We teamed up with the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland to force the Scottish Government to publish the climate impacts of its flagship infrastructure plan. Now they need to go further. 

When Scottish Ministers accepted they were breaching their own climate laws and promised to publish the climate impact assessment of their £26bn infrastructure plan, we notched up an important win for transparency. But the report they’ve published doesn’t go far enough.

The Scottish Government has done the bare minimum. It hasn’t provided any calculations of the plan’s emissions, and there’s no concrete evidence on whether it  will deliver on its climate targets.

But since they have actually published a report, our lawyers think any further legal action at this stage would have little chance of success.

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We’ve written a legal letter to Scottish Ministers, warning we will continue to watch their next steps.

According to Good Law Project Legal Director, Emma Dearnaley, our first environmental legal action in Scotland has helped force the Government into meeting its climate obligations. 

“But with so much at stake for the climate,” Dearnaley said, “we now need the Government to raise the bar.”

According to Dr Shivali Fifield, Chief Officer at The Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland, Ministers and public bodies are “not above the law” and making them publish a report shows that we can use the law to “demand transparency”.

“We’ll continue to press for clearer monitoring requirements and accountability mechanisms”, Fifield said, “so that the Scottish Government delivers on their climate obligations.”

People want stronger Government action. We’ll keep a close eye on the Scottish Government’s failure to uphold its commitments over the climate crisis.