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Tue December 10 2019

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SNP manifesto aims for greener Scotland

27 Nov Measures to encourage green energy production as well as energy-efficiency in homes and transport are among the points set out in the SNP’s manifesto, launched today.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

“We will propose a Green Energy Deal that will ensure green energy schemes get the long-term certainty needed to support investment,” said Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

One of the aims of the manifesto is to help people reduce their carbon footprint. “We all need to play our part in tackling climate change,” it says. “That’s why we want to help people reduce their own emissions, whether it be by using public transport more or by promoting greener homes. That means taking bold action through investing in services, changing planning rules, decarbonising the railways and building better infrastructure.”

Commitments aimed at making the transport system greener include investing over £500m in improved bus priority infrastructure and reducing emissions from Scotland’s railways to zero by 2035.

The manifesto also discusses the funding of green infrastructure. “We must harness the massive investment power that government can bring to bear,” it said. As a result, it plans to put the transition to net-zero at the heart of the Scottish National Investment Bank’s work. It also seeks to unlock additional resources for emissions-reducing investment through a Green Growth Accelerator, combining public and private investment to transform cities and regions. The SNP aims to bring to market a £3bn portfolio of projects, including renewables, waste and construction, ready for green finance investment.

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The SNP pledges to support substantial reforms to the UK tax system to support greener choices, including a reduction in VAT on energy-efficiency improvements in homes. Tax incentives are also planned to enable people to make the switch to low-carbon heating systems more affordable.

Sturgeo said that the UK Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that oil and gas revenues will be worth £8.5bn over the five years to 2023-24. “That revenue – the vast bulk of it from Scotland – should be put to work in building the transition to a greener, sustainable future,” she said. “We are proposing the ring-fencing of oil and gas receipts, creating a Net Zero Fund, to help pay for the energy transition through investment in areas such as renewable energy, electric vehicles and carbon capture utilisation and storage.

“And because the communities that currently host the oil and gas industry cannot be left behind in the necessary transition away from fossil fuels, we will demand that 12% of the fund – at least £1 billion over 5 years – will go to a Net Zero Industrial Strategy to help diversify the economies of oil hubs like Aberdeen, Falkirk and Shetland.”

The manifesto adds that Scotland’s planning framework will not support development using unconventional oil and gas extraction techniques, including coal bed methane and hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as ‘fracking’.

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