SNP manifesto: Environmental protections, onshore wind support and carbon capture leadership

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has pledged to strengthen Scotland's environmental protections as the Party's newly released manifesto calls for a second independence referendum to be held "at the end of the Brexit process."

Launched in Perth this morning (30 May) by SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon, the 48-page document insists that SNP MPs will work to “prevent the threat of Brexit being used by the UK to reduce commitments to tackle climate change… and protect the environment”.

Central to this assurance is a pledge to hold the UK Government accountable to ensure that current EU green laws are not diminished after the UK leaves. And until the Scottish people vote to be independent, the SNP says it will support increased devolved powers for the Scottish Parliament, including agriculture, fisheries and environmental protection.

Championing renewables

“Renewable energy is a Scottish success story,” the SNP manifesto reads. “We are determined to build on that success. We will fight climate change, while keeping energy bills down and creating jobs, by continuing to champion low-cost renewable energy.”

The manifesto vows to apply pressure on Westminster to include onshore wind in its Industrial Strategy, a fortnight after the Tory manifesto dismissed the technology’s large-scale commercial viability. The SNPs will also display support for the development of offshore wind, tidal energy and wave power.

A clear timescale is promised for the delivery of electricity interconnectors in the Northern and Western Isles, while the Party vows to overhaul the “punitive” transmission charging regime which forces Scottish renewable energy generators to pay large fees to connect to the grid.

The SNP pledges to protect Scotland’s place in Europe’s energy markets and renewable energy programmes, including as the upcoming €320m investment fund to support wave and tidal power. Scotland has long shown commitment to the future of tidal and wave energy, pledging to host the world’s largest tidal stream project and funding £7m to 16 different wave energy developers in order to help them commercialise the technology.

Pro low-carbon, anti-nuclear

The manifesto contains a pledge to press the UK Government to match Scotland’s commitment and ambition on the low-carbon transition. Scotland’s recently published draft Energy Strategy included a new target to deliver 50% of Scotland’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. The Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan contains proposals to achieve a 66% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2032, after the country surpassed its 2020 targets six years early.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be a key focus for international development policy and spending, according to the manifesto document, which also vows to maintain the position of a Climate Justice spokesperson to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries deal with climate change.

The manifesto outlines the SNP’s opposition to the Hinkley Point C nuclear Plant in Somerset, which it claims will result in “huge costs for taxpayers and consumers”.

Carbon capture and storage development

“We want Scotland to be a leader in the development of CCS technology, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and beyond, while fighting climate change,” the manifesto states.

The SNP says that despite the UK Government’s U-turn on the £1bn CCS competition set to benefit Peterhead Power Station, the Party will work to ensure Scotland can develop the technology on an industrial scale through its oil and gas sector.

The SNP manifesto concludes the list of documents put forward by the major political parties ahead of the general election, after the ConservativesLiberal Democrats and Labour released their respective 2017 manifestos earlier this month.

Stay tuned to edie for full coverage off the other party manifestos along with our own, exclusive green policy coverage in the build up to the election on 8 June. 

George Ogleby

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