A Holyrood Committee has expressed concerns over how cash for tackling climate change has been allocated in this year’s budget.
The 2018/19 draft budget allocates an overall total of £558.1 million to climate mitigation measures, up from £463.7 million in 2017/18, according to the Scottish Government.
However while the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee welcomed the increase in funding, it said that “without a concerted effort and direction of resources Scotland will struggle to meet its ambitious emissions reduction targets”.
Areas of concern include potentially insufficient investment in low carbon infrastructure, a substantial reduction in funding to support emission reduction in the agriculture sector, and cuts to funding available for investment in renewable and community energy.
The committee set out its views in a letter to Holyrood’s Finance Committee, which is leading the scrutiny of the government’s tax and spending proposals.
Convener Graeme Dey said: “Our committee is pleased to see an increase in overall spend on combating climate change, which has now gone up by 20%.
“But, after close examination and evidence sessions with relevant agencies and stakeholders, we have outlined concerns with how this pot of money is allocated.
“One of the committee’s concerns is the declining budget for environmental research and agencies.
“At a time where, globally, climate change and its consequences is seen as one of the greatest challenges and threats, it’s crucial that Scotland continues to take action and lead from the front, including around research, on these very real issues.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The increased budget recognises the fundamental importance of the environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation to Scotland’s economy and people.
“Scotland is making sustained progress to its world-leading climate targets, having now met its annual target for the second successive year.
“Spend on measures supporting emissions reductions is up 20% from the previous draft budget and amounts to over £1 billion across two years.”