THE Scottish Government has announced it wants to introduce a new Transport for London-style integrated ticket system for public transport.

Energy Secretary Mairi McAllan said this would be explored as part of a new strategy to reduce car journeys by 20%, as she confirmed reports that the Government was ditching a key climate target.

She told MSPs the Government was scrapping its ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 75% before the end of the decade.

The Scottish Government has also said it will move away from legally binding annual targets – which it has missed for eight out of 12 years.

But McAllan also unveiled a package of new green measures she said would help Scotland cut its carbon emissions.

She said the Scottish Government wanted to bring in a new public transport ticket system, which would allow passengers to use one ticket for any journey made using buses or trains, similar to that run in London, some major European cities and Northern Ireland.

READ MORE: SNP minister 'disappointed' as Scottish Government 'to ditch key climate pledge'

It is not the first time the idea has been floated. Then deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a trial of integrated ticketing in 2012 which never took off. 

In 2021, Transport Scotland received the findings of a consultation carried out by the National Smart Ticketing Advisory Board. 

McAllan admitted she was "disappointed" the 2030 carbon reduction target had been scrapped but said she accepted it was "out of reach". 

She told MSPs: "We must now act to chart a course to 2045 at a pace and scale that is feasible, fair and just."

Promising pilot projects to reduce emissions from agriculture and accelerate peatland restoration, McAllan insisted there was “no doubt about the seriousness with which this Government treats the climate and nature crisis”.

However, she said the “severe budgetary restrictions imposed by the UK Government” and the “continuing constraints of devolution”, meant the Scottish Government was trying to “deliver societal and economic transformation with one hand tied behind our back”.

And she warned “full delivery” of the Scottish Government’s plans would depend on Westminster “reversing the 9% cut to our capital budget”.

McAllan insisted: “This Government and Parliament rightly has high ambitions, and it is beyond doubt that investing now in net zero is the right thing for our environment, our society and our economy.

“But we are being held back. So I am asking MSPs across this chamber to work with us to call on the UK Government to reverse Scotland’s capital cut.”

Stefanie O’Gorman, a member of the Climate Emergency Response Group, savaged ministers for ditching the target saying the Government "cannot be forgiven for not taking every opportunity to proactively work towards its ambitions". 

She added: "Simply pointing the finger at Westminster as a default position will not move the dial on Scotland’s climate progress."

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance charity, warned: "Today's announcement will undermine trust in the Scottish Government."

READ MORE: Former Nicola Sturgeon adviser speaks out on climate pledge row-back

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government’s abandonment of its legal 2030 and annual emissions reduction targets is a reprehensible retreat caused by its recklessly inadequate level of action to date."

He called on MSPs to find the cash to fund new climate pledges, saying without money they would "amount to little more than hot air". 

But the Scottish Greens have defended the Government, saying the new package of climate measures – which include bringing in 24,000 new electric vehicle charge points, subjecting farms to carbon audits and consulting on a new “carbon tax” for large estates – saw a shift “from targets to action”.

McAllan was given a ticking off by the Presiding Officer before beginning her statement after the key announcement about carbon targets was leaked to the media. 

The minister has said a leak investigation will be carried out by top civil servant John Paul Marks.