Friends of the Earth Scotland "minded to support an independent Scotland" after Brexit

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 19 May 2017 in News

EXCLUSIVE:  FoE Scotland inclined to support Scottish independence, subject to assurances on issues such as an independent Scotland’s relationship with the EU and the future of nuclear weapons

Flags - credit: PA

Friends of the Earth Scotland is “minded to support an independent Scotland” following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, Holyrood can reveal.

In an article distributed to members, the environmental NGO said it was inclined to come out in support of Scottish independence, subject to assurances from the Scottish Government on issues such as an independent Scotland’s relationship with the EU and the future of nuclear weapons.

While FoE Scotland declined to take a position during the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, it came out in support of the Remain campaign during the EU referendum.


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FoE Scotland co-chair Eurig Scandrett said the board “recognises that this is a significant and potentially controversial position for FoE Scotland to take”, adding that a clear majority had voted in favour of the decision to take a stance.

The FoE Scotland board will present a position paper to members, arguing for independence on certain terms, which will then be debated at the organisation’s AGM on 10 June.

The NGO pointed to the EU’s role in enforcing environmental protection legislation, while warning that environmental standards could be at risk after the UK leaves the bloc.

It said: “Despite the EU’s problems, being bound by European standards and European legal justice mechanisms is much better for the environment than being outside of the European Union. The current UK government is already talking about reducing environmental standards and climate targets to help get better trade deals.”

It added: “We have to choose whether to stay part of the UK, outside the EU, with only trade considerations enforcing some limited compliance with EU regulations, and the UK Supreme Court as the final appeal for environmental problems in Scotland.

“Or we could be an independent country in the EU, obliged to be fully compliant with the EU’s environmental standards, subject to challenge for breaches of those laws in the European courts and able to influence one of the biggest negotiating blocs in international talks like the UN climate talks. Being part of the EU also better enables continued close working with other FoE groups in Europe.

“The Board agreed that an independent Scotland in Europe is likely to best serve the environment and our Friends of the Earth organisational aims. They are therefore minded to support an independent Scotland subject to assurances from the Scottish Government, particularly on the form and benefits of EU membership and the impact on nuclear weapons.”

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