THE First Minister is set to urge Theresa May to protect Scotland’s green energy industry during the Brexit process in a speech to leading business figures. Nicola Sturgeon will underline how EU membership has benefited the sector – including receiving a £500 million grant for the Beatrice offshore windfarm in the outer Moray Firth – as she calls on the UK Government to set out how the sector will access such funding in future. She will also speak about other threats to the industry from Brexit including losing access to skilled labour and to disruption of supply chains. More than a third of Britain’s green energy is produced in Scotland with almost 50,000 people employed in it and the wider low carbon industry. “If we are taken out of the single market, it will hinder our supply chain and reduce our skills base. If we are o utside the internal energy market it could affect our influence on issues such as energy regulation and cross-border energy flows, something which is of increasing importance. And, arguably more damaging to our ambitions, we could also lose access to EU funding,” Sturgeon will tell the Scottish Renewables Conference in Edinburgh. “Although the overall outlook for this sector is hugely positive, we need the UK Government to provide clarity on these points.” The First Minister will say her Government has a clear “direction of travel” on climate change, including a ban on new diesel and petrol cars by 2032.
The National 26th March 2018 read more »
Herald 26th March 2018 read more »
ENVIRONMENTAL experts have quit a group set up to oversee ministers’ strategy for tackling air pollution, citing frustration and deep disappointment over a lack of progress. In a major blow to the First Minister, experts advising Nicola Sturgeon on how to reduce pollution in Scotland have quit her clean air strategy team. Scottish Environment Link, which represents more than 35 environmental groups, has withdrawn its two advisers, accusing the Scottish government of lacking ambition and condemning people to early death and ill health from toxic fumes for years to come. It cited its disappointment and frustration around the Cleaner Air for Scotland Governance Group’s (CAFSGG) lack of progress in tackling unsafe levels of air pollution, and poor input into Glasgow’s draft Low Emission Zone plans as key reasons. Scottish Environment Link members resigned from the Cleaner Air for Scotland Governance Group (CAFSGG) after raising concerns around “commitment, ambition and urgency” and following “poor input” into plans for Scotland’s first low emission zone (LEZ) in Glasgow. Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigner, Emilia Hanna, and Professor James Curran represented Link – the forum which brings together environmental organisations – on the governance group. In their resignation letter, they said: “We want Scotland’s air quality to be legally compliant as soon as possible, in line with Scotland’s obligations under European law and in line with the continued urgent and pressing need to stop preventable early death and ill-health for exposed populations.
Herald 26th March 2018 read more »
A POWERFUL alliance of food and environmental groups is putting pressure on the Scottish Government to overhaul its plans to cut climate pollution from farming. A new coalition of 50 organisations and experts is writing a joint letter to ministers this week urging a “just transition towards carbon-neutral farming”. The signatories include the farmers’ union, crofters and landowners, as well major environmental and wildlife groups. Agriculture is responsible for nearly a quarter of all Scotland’s climate emissions. But current government plans only propose a nine per cent reduction in emissions between 2018 and 2032, less than for other sectors.
Herald 25th March 2018 read more »