Feb - Scottish Govt & RSA just transition - RSA

New report shows how Scotland can put people at the heart of its just transition

Press release

Edinburgh, 27 February – A new report by the RSA and the Scottish Government shines a light on how participatory future approaches can ensure that local citizens’ voices and lived experiences are embedded into just transition planning in Scotland.

Our researchers found that communities have a clear desire to be more involved in decision making and practical action related to the just transition but feel a lack of agency at present.

This new report will help inform the Scottish Government’s upcoming Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan (ESJPT). This roadmap outlines how Scotland can work towards a climate resilient economy in a way that reinvigorates local communities and tackles inequality and injustice.

The RSA held a series of workshops that brought together a diverse range of citizens in both Fife and Dumfries to explore and shape different possible futures, gaining unique insights into rural and post-industrial communities’ expectations, apprehensions and aspirations when it comes to a just transition.

The workshops revealed widespread support for initiatives such as tailored investment in transport links to improve quality of life and create new economic opportunities such as eco-tourism and circular economy projects, as well as a desire for increased regulation on domestic heating systems to protect homeowners and tenants.

There was, however, also concern that renewable energy projects would not bring benefits to local communities due to the limited impact of previous projects in terms of job creation, and frustration at limited access to the energy produced in their areas or cheaper energy prices.

Using participatory futures tools, participants were also asked to envisage what a just transition could mean for their local area through creative approaches such as speculative newspaper headlines and postcards from the future.

These ideas reflect the changes citizens expect to see from the just transition and ranged from trams to community owned renewable projects to different species returning to the area or using sheep’s wool to insulate homes to reduce waste and boost economic growth.

Following the workshops, most participants said they felt more able to imagine what a future energy system could look like in 2045 and felt more empowered to create positive change as part of their community.

The RSA’s Fabian Wallace-Stephens, author of the report, added, “Any transition to net zero will require rapid transformation across the economy, society and the environment.

A just transition, however, will require meaningful participation in decision-making from the communities most impacted by change.”

We are incredibly grateful for the Scottish Government’s support as is ensures that participants are not speaking into a void.”

Together, we hope to help establish these approaches as a model for community voice in decision-making that can be replicated across Scotland and other parts of the world.”

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