ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have told MSPs they face the “first real-world test” on meeting emissions reduction targets at Holyrood today.

A vote will take place on the Transport (Scotland) Bill which would introduce measures such as handing power to local authorities over introducing low-emission zones and implementing a workplace parking levy.

The bill also includes provisions designed to help improve local bus services, raise the standard and quality of roadworks in Scotland and extend smart ticket arrangements on public transport.

Gavin Thomson, from Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the vote would be a test for MSPs after the Parliament last month voted to reach net-zero emissions by 2045.

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“MSPs committed to rapidly bring down Scotland’s climate emissions,” Thomson said. “The final stage of the Transport Bill represents the first real-world test of whether they’re willing to realise these increased ambitions.

“There is an opportunity for the Transport Bill to help Scotland, particularly our cities, transition to greener transport, improving our air quality and reducing our climate emissions.”

Thomson suggested that one of the most keenly debated aspects of the bill, the workplace parking levy, had been distorted by opponents of the move.

He said: “Of all the proposals within the bill, the workplace parking levy powers have received the most coverage, and the most cynical distortion.

“Workplace parking levies have a track record of bringing much-needed investment to transport infrastructure and creating healthier places to live and work.

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“They are an optional power being offered to councils and Edinburgh and Glasgow councils both formally asked the Scottish Government for this tool to cut traffic.

“It won’t be right for every area, but it will combat congestion and air pollution in our city centres. If MSPs are prepared to follow through on their climate commitments, they need to recognise this means changing our polluting, dangerous transport system.”