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19 Apr 2024

Scottish Government makes carbon land tax pledge

Scottish Government announces that it will consult on our proposal for a Carbon Emissions Land Tax this summer.

Quinag - Kevin Lelland

The John Muir Trust welcomes the recent announcement by Net Zero Cabinet Secertary Màiri McAllan that the Scottish Government will hold a public consultation on a carbon land tax. 

The Trust, which owns and manages some of Scotland’s most famous mountain landscapes (including Quinag pictured above), has led a campaign to implement a Carbon Emissions Land Tax (CELT) to drive urgent changes in land use to support climate targets.  

CELT campaign illustration

Our CELT campaign is now backed by a diverse range of over 50 community groups, trade unions, churches, charities, and businesses representing over a million people in Scotland.
The STUC, the Scottish Community Alliance, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, the Woodland Trust Scotland, the Quakers, Oxfam Scotland, and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland are among the groups calling for the Scottish Government to agree the principle of a new Carbon Emissions Land Tax. 
Thomas Widrow, Campaigns Manager for the John Muir Trust said: “This is a well-judged and timely initiative from the Scottish Government. There are incentives in place for peatland restoration and woodland creation, but the slow pace of change toward Net Zero shows that we urgently need sticks as well as carrots to drive rapid change in land use. 

“The John Muir Trust has conducted serious research in this area with scientists, economists, tax experts, tech companies, and governmental bodies to show how this could work in practice. 

“We will argue for the tax to apply to all private, public and charity landholdings over 1000 hectares, with an exemption only for community-owned land. We will also suggest that the tax focus on reducing carbon emissions using the polluters pay principle by improving the resilience and strength of Scotland’s natural environment, rather than on increasing electricity generation.”

“Last year, a YouGov poll showed that 64% of voters in Scotland supported our proposal. 78% supported the polluters pay principle.

 “We now call on people across the country to join our campaign to make sure the Scottish Government delivers a Carbon Emissions Land Tax that soaks up carbon, boosts biodiversity and strengthens rural communities.”


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