THE creation of a National Transport Company has been overwhelmingly backed by SNP members in a bid to meet “challenging” climate targets.

On the second day of the conference, delegates passed a resolution calling for the creation of a public transport company by 492 votes for yes, to 20 for no.

The resolution called for the installation of “core charging and refuelling infrastructure” to be introduced across the country for electric cars and low carbon vehicles ahead of a ban on new petrol cars due to be introduced in 2030.

It also stated that the National Transport Company should meet annual targets for the creation of these services and that the infrastructure will be owned and operated “for the public good”.

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Stuart McMillan, SNP MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, introduced the resolution on behalf of his branch and said Scotland has “no choice” other than to “green our economy” and make transport cleaner.

He told delegates that originally he wasn’t a “natural bedfellow” of the plan for a private company but has realised it was the “right thing to do”.

McMillan set out that a “one size fits all approach” wouldn’t work as “what’s needed in Inverness will be different in Inverclyde”.

He added that the public company must operate so that the country has “all of the transport opportunities their communities actually require”.

The MSP also pointed out that not all homes will be able to take a charging point for an electric car and that a “structured solution” is needed.

The National:

McMillan told delegates the party must be "bold" in its actions to tackle the climate crisis

McMillan said: “Let's make no mistake, net zero is not a choice, it has to happen. If Scotland can set up an investment bank, why can’t we set up a National Transport Company?

“Now I accept there will be challenges along the way, there always will be, however the rewards for Scotland and the planet can provide an outcome that we can all be proud of.”

Douglas Chapman, MP for Dunfermline and West, supported the resolution.

He told delegates: “Our transport sector is responsible for a third of our carbon emissions and decarbonisation is an urgent priority for Scotland.

“Conference recognises that competing technologies for transport are developing but it's more important that we have a high proportion of road and marine vehicles in the future that will use either battery or electric or hydrogen fuel cells to be powered, and they will be powered by using renewable energy and green hydrogen.

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“It must be it’s priority to ensure that robust charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is in place for all new types of all new vehicles, as well as supporting the creation of new skilled green jobs for the sector.”

And Simon Jones, from the Dumfries East SNP branch, who supported the resolution, told delegates that out of the 2.5 million cars on Scotland’s roads, only 15,000 are electric.

Jones said that where the power for these electric vehicles comes from and how it will be paid for, once the 2030 ban comes into force on petrol motors, needs to be considered.

He further pointed out that when petrol stations eventually close, many rural communities may be at risk of losing their only local shop, and there could be an impact on jobs.