New paper sets out 'green gains'

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse

First published in National News © by

The Scottish Government has published a paper outlining what it says will be the five key environmental benefits of independence.

The "green gains" are set out in a new constitutional paper launched by Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse.

They include e nshrining environmental protection in a written constitution, c reating a nuclear-free nation with the removal of Trident, a "fairer share" of EU funding to target environmental schemes, direct representation in Europe, and a seat at the "global top table" to tackle climate change.

Mr Wheelhouse said: "Enshrining environmental protection in a written constitution is at the heart of our vision for an independent Scotland.

"An independent Scotland will not waste billions of pounds on nuclear weapons. We will use our natural resources in a sustainable manner and focus on Scotland as a renewable powerhouse that is free from new nuclear power."

He added: "On 18 September 2014, we have the opportunity to determine the future of our country. Through the powers of independence we can ensure we build a cleaner, greener and nuclear-free nation that is a beacon of environmentalism and sustainability."

Ross Greer, of the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign and a member of the Scottish Green Party, said: " The proposals set out in this paper could put Scotland on the path towards leading the world on environmental issues but this will only be possible with the powers of a normal independent nation."

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth, said: " A written constitution enshrining the importance of the environment is probably the single most powerful environmental argument in favour of a Yes vote.

"A constitutional guarantee gives the highest possible legal status for protecting and enhancing the environment and acting on climate change."

Scottish Labour's environment spokeswoman Claire Baker said: "Tackling environmental targets isn't about constitutional change, it's about political will.

"Through devolution, powers exist in Scotland that can make a difference today, the problem is the SNP aren't prepared to make the step change needed.

"These supposed five green gains all fail to significantly address the increasing number of failed targets from this Scottish Government, including their embarrassing hat-trick of missed climate change targets. We need bold action and policies, not a rehash of earlier words and promises."

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