The Government Programme for Scotland 2017-18

Holy Isle View

In September, the Scottish Government released their government programme for 2017-2018, which sets out the actions and commitments in the upcoming year.  This programme has been described as ‘the greenest yet’ and also plans for some relevant new bills.

Among the new bills planned for 2017/2018 are:

Climate Change Bill

This bill sets out “ambitious” new targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It will also introduce low emission zones in Scotland’s four biggest cities by 2020.

Ms Sturgeon said a further target in the bill would be for new petrol and diesel cars and vans to be phased out in Scotland by 2032 – eight years ahead of the target set by the UK government.

Crown Estates Bill

The Crown Estate Bill will establish a framework for the management of Crown Estate assets. It aims to ensure that Scotland’s local communities, authorities and industry can benefit from this change.

Planning Bill

This bill includes measures for a “simpler, more effective” system of development plans so it is clearer how areas will develop in the future.

The Scottish government said that communities would have better opportunities to influence the future of their areas as a result of the bill.

The Programme for Communities

Local communities also have a focus in the upcoming year, with the empowerment of communities as a specific aim.  The actions planned to be taken forward with this in mind, include:

  • a comprehensive review of how local decisions are made and how local democracy is working
  • continuing to support Community Choices to encourage the spread of participatory budgeting across Scotland
  • introducing a Bill to establish a framework for the management of the Crown Estate in Scotland
  • continuing to implement the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, including publishing a final version of a Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement and guidance on engaging communities in decisions relating to land
  • supporting the publication by the Land Commission of its first strategic plan in September, setting out its priorities over the next three years and a major programme of research to examine options for further reform

Cleaner, greener and healthier

Other environmental actions are included to tackle pollution, climate change and to increase sustainable transport and technologies.

  • creating a Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) in one of our cities by the end of next year – and working with local authorities to introduce LEZs into our four biggest cities by 2020 and to all Air Quality Management Areas by 2023
  • developing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers for roll-out across Scotland
  • establishing an advisory group to consider fiscal and other measures to reduce waste and boost the circular economy – for example, a possible levy on single use coffee cups
  • doubling investment in active travel from £40 million to £80 million a year from 2018-19
  • introducing a Transport Bill to provide local authorities with flexible options to improve bus services in their local areas


The full text can be found on the Scottish Government‘s website.

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