SNP vows to protect EU environmental protection

30th May 2017

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Karen Gisbourne

The Scottish National Party (SNP) will pressure the UK government to ensure EU rights and protections, including those related to the environment, are not removed once the UK leaves the bloc, according to the party's manifesto.

The SNP manifesto, published today, also pledged to prevent the administration in Westminster using Brexit to water down commitments to tackle climate change, or to undermine the EU’s efforts on climate and the environment.

‘We are determined to safeguard the advances which have already been made, while continuing to protect and enhance our environment in the years ahead. We will defend the interests of environmental scientists from across the EU who contribute so much to the success of Scotland’s research institutes,’ the manifesto states.

The pledge came as documents leaked to campaign group Greenpeace revealed that UK ministers have attempted to weaken EU goals to slash energy waste and boost renewable power despite the rules not coming into force until after Britain leaves the EU.

The SNP also said it would lobby the UK government to match Scotland’s climate change targets. Scotland has already exceeded its target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 42% by 2020, and is now seeking to tighten this to 50% by 2020.

The party is also demanding that the UK government strengthen its support for the oil and gas sector, including introducing measures to help stimulate exploration activity. However, it vowed to persuade Westminster to provide incentives for oil and gas companies to diversify into renewables, and for investment in decommissioning oil and gas infrastructure.

The SNP also committed to lobby Westminster to:

  • include onshore wind in its industrial strategy, and increase the focus on offshore wind, tidal energy and wave power;
  • provide a clear timescale for building electricity interconnectors in the Scottish islands and develop renewable energy in the Northern and Western Isles;
  • ensure continued funding and co-operation with the EU for Scotland’s renewable energy sector;
  • build a regulatory environment to support investment in new energy storage schemes, including pumped hydro and batteries;
  • secure funding to develop carbon capture and storage in Scotland; and
  • create ethical policies that support developing countries in trade deals.

Meanwhile, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas challenged prime minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to put the environment back on the agenda in the election campaign. Lucas visited 10 Downing Street and the Labour party headquarters to highlight how the environment has been ignored so far.

‘Environmental protection isn’t an optional extra – it must be part of any long term vision for this country’s future. But shamefully it’s an issue that has been conspicuous by its absence so far in this election campaign - and this has got to change,’ Lucas said.

The environment had barely been mentioned by party leaders and had been glossed over in manifestos, she added.


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