Young people in the Scottish Youth Climate Strike have welcomed the Budget deal between the Scottish Government and Scottish Greens but cautioned that it is still not enough to tackle the climate crisis. The group, who organised the largest climate protests in Scotland’s history in September 2019, thought free bus travel for young people was a good step forward but pointed to the enormous spending on roads.
Dylan Hamilton, a 15-year-old activist with Scottish Youth Climate Strike working in Edinburgh and Glasgow, said,
“We were really excited to hear about free bus travel for under-19s, it shows they’re taking climate action more seriously and are doing so with young people’s interests in mind. Transport has largely been ignored when talking about the climate emergency, but it makes up 37% of Scotland’s emissions. Free bus travel for young people is a good first step however most of the Budget was disappointing.
“We are spending £6 billion dualling the A9 and A96 and £120 million on the Sheriffhall roundabout, their priority still seems to be making driving easier, which is the opposite direction of where we need to go in terms of climate change.
“The Scottish Government increased their spending on walking and cycling from £80 million to £100 million, which sounds great but doesn’t compare to the amounts being spent on car infrastructure. If we really want to fix this emergency, we have to stop making it easier to pollute.”
Kay MacIver, a 14-year-old activist with Scottish Youth Climate Strike from Edinburgh, said,
“Car travel continues to increase and bus use continues to decrease, without putting more buses on the road and making them more efficient people will continue to take the easy option. Free bus travel only works if there’s buses to use, which aren’t accessible for many people, particularly in rural areas.
“We need better buses, but this must come alongside lowering car congestion and improving bus reliability. What’s free bus travel worth if I can’t trust the bus to show up?”
Sandy Boyd, a 15-year-old activist with Scottish Youth Climate Strike from Edinburgh, said,
“Some good steps were taken but the Scottish Government still drastically underestimate the climate emergency and we’ll continue to strike until they take the equally drastic action that is necessary, with our next big event on April 3rd.”
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