Welsh and Scots environment Ministers form new alliance to combat Brit-govt power-grab for devolved climate-change rules in hard Brexit

Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Environment Minister spreads the 'green' message with Edinburgh school pupils
Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Environment Minister (right), spreads the ‘green’ message with Edinburgh school pupils

The Scottish and Welsh environment ministers today pledged to work together to resist the Brit-govt’s attempt to take control of devolved powers over these issues.

Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham met her Welsh counterpart Lesley Griffiths in Cardiff to discuss their concerns that the Brexit (EU Withdrawal) Bill will damage efforts to protect and enhance the environment. 

Cunningham outlined her fears that areas such as climate change and the circular economy –  where the Scottish Government has set itself more ambitious targets than the UK Government – will suffer if UK-wide policies are imposed rather than negotiated.

Around 80% of Scots environmental law comes from Brussels at EU level. This includes legislation around waste management, pollution and regulations and biodiversity.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 sets targets to reduce Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020, compared to the UK target of at least 34 per cent. 

Unlike the UK, international aviation and shipping are included in Scotland’s statutory targets.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on ambitious proposals for a Climate Change Bill that include raising the ambition of Scotland’s 2050 emissions reduction target.

Cunningham said: “Our message is clear and consistent – the Scottish Government will steadfastly adhere to its environmental commitments, despite the growing threat of a hard Brexit.  That is why we are joining with our Welsh counterparts to urge the UK Government to ditch this ill-conceived power grab.

“Imposing a UK-wide framework for the environment risks undermining the significant progress Scotland has made, which has seen us win international recognition for our work on climate change and the circular economy.

Welsh Assembly building, Cardiff
Welsh Assembly building, Cardiff

Lesley Griffiths, WAM, said: “Devolution has enabled the Welsh Government to deliver ground-breaking legislation for the people of Wales, which delivers on international obligations and has been recognised as cutting-edge by a number of international institutions. 

“The approach presented by the UK Government in the Withdrawal Bill could significantly undermine this progress.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Green Party has criticised the Scot-Govt target on cutting greenhouse gasses for not being tough enough.

The party’s half-dozen Green MSPs have demanded the SNP Scot-Govt. targets zero emissions by 2040.

Meanwhile, the Ffestiniog hydro power plant in Snowdonia is to undergo a £50 million regeneration by French energy company Engie to extend its working life by 20 years. It was built in 1963 and has a capacity of 360 megawatts

17 Aug 2017

 

 

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