EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News
More than half of the six biggest gas and electricity suppliers in the UK have formed the largest single-industry group of lobbyists registered which have registered with the Scottish Parliament.
The Holyrood Lobbying Log was set up by MSPs in an attempt to uphold ethical standards of conduct by members of the Scottish Parliament – by requiring organisations in both the private and public sectors which wish to lobby MSPs face-to-face to enrol in an online register.
In contrast to the Scottish parliament – and in much better-practice – the European parliament requires its MEPs to publish a list of meetings held by members in their public duties over a time-delayed six month period.
The Holyrood Lobbying Log went live earlier this week and the clutch of newly-registered energy-sector lobbyists comprises:
- EDF Energy
- Element Power
- Energiekontor UK
- Neptune E&P UK Ltd
- Npower Group plc
- Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
- Scottish Renewables
- Scottish Power Energy Networks
- Scottish Power Limited
- Smart Energy GB
As well as half of the ‘Big Six’ UK gas and electricity suppliers (EDF, Scottish Power, N-power and E.ON) this list also includes Neptune – a major North Sea oil company.
Major private sector companies which have extensive actual and/or potential interests in energy-related issues who are also on the Holyrood Lobbing Log include Peel Ports plc and the GLG alliance which is building Highlands wind-power turbines to generate electricity for its planned auto-part manufacturing plant at Fort William.
Also on the lobbying list is the Scottish Renewables trade association along with two a Brit-govt quangos – the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC) and the Smart Energy smart-meter provider.
Asked why E.ON had signed up so quickly, a spokesman explained: “E.ON’s belief that the future of energy is low carbon, decentralised, and with customers in control, tends to be well received in Scotland.
“We supply thousands of homes and businesses across the country, have won awards for our energy efficiency work in the Highlands, and are continuing to develop ever more renewable energy sources for the country.
“We think it’s important Scotland’s energy future is debated properly and we want to make sure that we abide by all the proper rules and regulations when engaging in that debate.”
The lobbying log also incudes many charities, single-issue pressure groups and legal services firms.
Criticising the actual design of the actual Scottish parliament lobbying register, a spokesman for the Public Relations Consultants Association – a lobbying industry group in London – said it is “far from perfect”.
He continued: “By including only face-to-face communication, it ignores a great deal of lobbying conducted through letters, emails, petitions, and campaigning websites.
“By not extending to all of those who are lobbied, it creates the false impression that civil servants and local government somehow sit outside of the decision-making dynamic.
“And by requiring a burdensome and unnecessary amount of information from registrants and creating a statutory code of conduct, there are clear risks that the Scottish parliament Lobbying Register could dissuade experts and interested parties from engaging with Holyrood while lowering the ethical bar for those who do.”
15 Mar 20108