Shouldn't we recycle and use renewable energy more?

Locally and globally
We live in a beautiful country, which is rich in natural resources and energy sources. But we need to keep it that way. We need to allow Scotland to meet energy requirements in a clean sustainable way and create green jobs for Scotland. The SNP’s commitment to sustainable development will put all these considerations at the heart of government.

An SNP administration will undertake an Environmental Audit, to inform our National Plan for Sustainability. It will set out clear actions, targets and indicators across all areas of government.

Climate change
The SNP will focus on achieving a programme of reduction in greenhouse gases involving different sectors within society. As part of our National Plan for Sustainability, we will ensure that, as a minimum, we adopt targets agreed as part of the Kyoto Protocol of a 12.5 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2008-12, and a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2010.

Energy efficiency
In order to reduce our energy consumption, combat fuel poverty and meet our environmental targets, it is vital that we become more energy efficient. We will examine regulations to ensure the highest standards of insulation and construction methods deliver improved energy efficiency in all sectors. We will also encourage energy efficiency by setting targets and by consulting on the inclusion of a system of Energy Ratings for buildings in any schedule for sale or let.

Renewable energy
With 25 per cent of Europe’s potential for renewable energy, and the potential capacity to produce 75 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs from renewable sources, Scotland should aim to become the green powerhouse of Europe. Only with Independence can Scotland capitalise on this green energy potential and gain the maximum economic benefit from exporting our electricity.

Our aim is to produce 25 per cent of current generation capacity from renewable sources by 2010. We want to progressively build upon this by setting further targets for the generating industry of 30 per cent of current capacity from renewable sources by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2020. As part of our Green Jobs Strategy, we will look to capitalise on our strong research base in alternative energy sources, and sell our skills and expertise in the world market.

A non-nuclear future
We will use the current powers of the Scottish Parliament to prevent the building of any new nuclear power stations. With the full powers of Independence, an SNP government will ensure that no new nuclear power stations are built in Scotland, and that existing facilities will be decommissioned at the end of their economic or technical life.

Our nation has one of the worst recycling records in Europe. In government, the SNP will make the National Waste Strategy and Area Waste Plans mandatory, which will include targets for waste minimisation and recycling.

Continuing to dispose of our waste in landfill sites is not a sustainable option. Incineration of waste, however, is not an acceptable alternative to landfill and it will be greatly restricted. We will reduce waste going to landfill to meet EU directives.

Protecting and enhancing our environment
To ensure the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, we will modernise legislation in the areas of wildlife, conservation and the seas. We will ensure that our fiscal service is adequately trained in environmental law, and that those who pollute will be prosecuted. To tackle the problem of litter, we will improve enforcement procedures for Local Authorities, and raise the level of Fixed Penalty from its current level of £25.

To tackle air pollution, an SNP administration will consider making air quality standards mandatory. To reduce harmful emissions we will aim to reduce the number of car journeys through improved public transport alternatives, by championing cleaner fuels such as LPG, bio-fuels and hydrogen fuels, and encouraging the development of cycle routes in cities.

Last year, only 40 per cent of our beaches passed the ‘Guideline’ standard, compared to the European average of 78 per cent. It is our aim to raise Scotland’s beaches to European standards.

Climate change will result in greater incidences of inland and coastal flooding. An SNP Government will ensure that Scotland has a National Strategy for Sustainable Flood Management.

Resistance from local communities to new developments in their neighbourhoods often stems from a feeling of powerlessness in the decision-making process. We will develop new guidelines that will ensure Local Authorities proactively designate sites as acceptable or otherwise.

Scotland’s national parks
We will extend the boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park to include the areas of Highland Perthshire, which were included in the Scottish Natural Heritage report, but have been excluded from the Statutory Instrument on the park. We will also review the success, or otherwise, of the differing planning mechanisms used in the two national parks.

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