SO what’s next? In just one week, Nicola Sturgeon has dumped her party’s manifesto promise to give the airline industry a £150m tax cut and put Scottish Government support for a third Heathrow runway – and related jobs in Scotland – under review. It’s been a bracing shake-up for Holyrood, where MSPs tramping round in a constitutional rut like prisoners in a yard is usually the order of the day. When Ms Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” at her party conference, few thought it would lead to such swift results, including perhaps Ms Sturgeon. But now she has staked Scotland’s claim to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2045, other changes must follow. You can’t be half-hearted in an emergency. As Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said on Wednesday, when burying the SNP’s plan to halve air departure tax (ADT), “concrete actions” must be taken. “We know that difficult decisions are required,” she said. Let’s not get carried away, though. The SNP stumbled into its position on ADT. It didn’t go looking for it. A combination of bureaucratic delay and political pressure forced its hand. It had been ardently defending the policy until a few weeks ago, even though it knew it would generate up to 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas a year from extra flights.
Herald 11th May 2019 read more »