|Shouldn't we recycle and use renewable energy more?
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.