SCOTTISH Ministers have been urged to “get on” with producing effective policies to match their climate change ambitions, amid concerns their entire strategy could be at risk.

The UK Committee on Climate Change says the Scottish Government must come up with firm new policies and make sweeping changes to areas such as transport, agricultural and heating if it is to stand any chance of meeting their ‘world class’ targets.

And it has warned that without a raft of effective policies, the reductions in Scottish emissions seen in recent years are unlikely to continue in the 2020s.

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That would throw into jeopardy hopes that Scotland’s hugely ambitious 2050 target of a 90 per cent reduction in emissions may be met.

A new report from the Committee’s expert panel warned: “More needs to be done, especially in sectors such as transport, agriculture and heat for non-residential buildings in which little progress is currently being made. Otherwise, Scotland's ambitious targets will be at risk.”

Acting Chief Executive of the Committee Adrian Gault, said that while Scotland had achieved some success in certain areas, in particular power sector emissions, it needed to do more.

“Scotland has set ambitious targets. To continue to progress and meet longer term targets, reductions have to extend to more difficult to reduce sectors beyond power. For that to happen, plans and preparatory measures have to be put in place now.

“We can see the kinds of things that need to be done to open up options for future,” he added. “The need is to get on with those.”

Emissions in Scotland fell by three per cent in 2015, taking them to 38 per cent below the 1990 benchmark. By comparison, the UK has cut emissions by 35 per cent over the period.

However the report warns that only the electricity generating sector has achieved significant decreases in recent years, largely due to the switch from coal fired power stations.

And despite high profile Scottish Government campaigns other key areas such as waste, transport, low carbon heating and agriculture had failed to progress.

The Climate Change Act of 2009 committed the Scottish Government to cutting emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050 - but ministers are now looking at going further on this, with a more ambitious target of 90 per cent proposed.

To achieve this, the Committee said that "effective policies will be required across the economy".

The progress report warned:

• Scotland is behind on its 2020 target of 60 per cent of household waste being recycled, composted or reused, with total waste rising in 2015 to over 11.5m tonnes, while the recycling rate has not changed since 2014. It calls for “greater progress” if the Scottish Government is to meet a 75 per cent recycling rate by 2025.

• Transport emissions increased in 2015, and while sales of electric vehicles in England rose by over 32 per cent in 2016, Scotland lagged behind with just 5 per cent rise. Emissions from aviation rose by seven per cent in 2015, and are now 82 per cent higher than in 1990, prompting the committee to call for the Scottish Government to work with the UK government to address balancing demand for flights with environmental concerns.

• A lack of progress on agricultural emissions and focus on voluntary measures was “concerning”. The report calls for the sector to make a greater contribution to meeting emissions targets and calls on ministers to consider if compulsory measures are needed for farming to "make the necessary contributions to meeting Scotland's ambitious climate targets".

• While the draft Climate Change Plan includes "ambitious but achievable" improvements in energy efficiency in a bid to curb the emissions from homes, the report warns target of having 80 per cent of heating from low carbon sources by 2032 is "very unlikely to be feasible".

The report called for "greater ambition" to cut emissions in the transport sector, and said the Scottish Government's draft Climate Change Plan must set out how the newly announced ambition to phase out petrol and diesel only cars by 2032 will be achieved.

Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change Lord Deben, said: "It's essential that further work is done to ramp up emissions reductions right across the Scottish economy and think through how to reduce emissions from heating Scotland's buildings and from transport, amongst other areas.

"The process of review and revision should enable this to happen in time for the adoption of the final Climate Change Plan early next year."

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the report showed "Scotland continues to lead the UK in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and shows the strong progress being made, as we have met our statutory emission reduction target for the second successive year and are well on track to meet our world-leading 2020 target".

She added: "The recently published Programme for Government places climate action at its heart and includes bold new commitments in a range of areas, including low-carbon transport, infrastructure and energy efficiency."