The Scottish Government has rejected a call from the Committee on Climate Change to introduce congestion charging to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The committee’s call was made last week in its fourth report on Scotland’s progress towards meeting emissions reduction targets. In it, the committee noted that emissions from HGVs accounted for 16% of Scotland’s transport emissions, and emissions from vans for a further 10%. It went on to suggest that in order to encourage more sustainable travel habits, the Scottish Government “should consider other options to drive down emissions, such as congestion charging”.

Given that speed limits are likely to be fully devolved to Scotland in the future, it should also evaluate how they might be used in future to help meet carbon targets, said the committee.

In response, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said it intended to carry on dealing with the issue in other ways.

“The Scottish Government has no plans to introduce road user charging,” she said. “Our vision is to work to develop low-carbon vehicle technology, promote active travel choices and encourage a shift to public transport, while ensuring our road network is as efficient as possible.”

Speed limits and their enforcement will form part of a road safety strategic review in Scotland later this year, she added.

RHA director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Martin Reid, said it supported the Scottish Government’s stance on the issue as congestion there was “not on the same scale” as other parts of the UK where congestion charging had been introduced.

“It’s important to ensure road haulage provides an efficient and environmentally friendly service that promotes wealth creation and employment in Scotland and we want to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “But we agree with the Scottish Government that congestion charging is not the best way forward.”

FTA head of urban logistics and regional policy Christopher Snelling also backed the Scottish Government’s rejection of the plan.

“It's certainly the wrong way to try and deal with carbon emissions - after all, it's a congestion charge, not a carbon charge. It's about effective management of urban areas, and not primarily about carbon,” he said.

Encouraging car drivers to use alternative modes of transport was an important part of freeing road space up for essential users like disabled drivers, tradespeople, freight vehicles and buses, agreed Snelling. “But congestion charging is not the right way to go about that because inevitably, it includes everything,” he said. “There are much more imaginative ways to go about managing car use.”