SCOTLAND’S Environment Secretary has hit back at claims her strategy to cut carbon emissions is "on the fringes of credibility” ahead of her being quizzed by MSPs on the ambitious blueprint.

Roseanna Cunningham will appear before Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee on Tuesday – to give evidence on the Scottish Government’s climate change plan update.

The document, published in December after being delayed by the pandemic, sets out how the Scottish Government will reduce 1990 levels of carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 on the way to become carbon neutral by 2045.

But last week, Christ Stark, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advises governments across the UK on policy, told MSPs that the 2030 target is “going to be very hard to meet”.

He said: “In terms of the credibility of the plan, I think it’s on the fringes of credibility but so to is the Scottish 2030 target itself.

“The work that we’ve done in the CCC, we’ve built five separate scenarios for achieving net zero – none of them achieves the Scottish 2030 target, even one we deliberately constructed to get to net zero sooner than the statutory dates.

“That troubles me – that means that the 2030 target is very, very stretching. It’s not my position that it’s the wrong target, it’s just going to be very hard to meet.”

Ms Cunningham has stressed that “we are confident that the plan update provides a credible pathway to meeting our targets”.

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She added: “It sends a clear statement of intent, provides greater certainty for all parts of society, including other public bodies and businesses, to contribute further to delivery of our targets and is a clear call to action ahead of the next full climate change plan.”

The SNP’s proposals have faced criticism for relying heavily on the use of negative emissions technologies (NETs) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in order to drastically cut emissions – despite the technology not yet being scaled up to be rolled out, and may not be by 2030, along with fears the infrastructure is not in place to support it.

Ms Cunningham said: “Unavoidably the plan update is published against a backdrop of considerable uncertainty such as the pace of technological development.

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“We expect technological change to unlock more and faster opportunities for decarbonising challenging areas and we are committed to monitoring these and amending our actions accordingly.“

She added that unknowns brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and “the uncertainty of action within areas of reserved competence” means that “no-one has all the answers at this stage” - adding that the Scottish Government is committed to taking a “learning by doing” approach.