Scottish Conservatives call for new nuclear stations in Hunterston and Torness
Scottish Conservatives release new policy paper on the environment
Nuclear power plant - credit: Fotolia
New nuclear plants should be built in Torness and Hunterston, according to a new Scottish Conservative policy paper on energy and the environment.
With Hunterston nuclear plant due to go offline in 2023 and Torness due to close in 2030, the Scottish Tories said new plants are needed to “ensure a robust energy mix” in Scotland.
But environmental groups question the proposal, with Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon saying the party was “flogging a dead horse” on nuclear.
Releasing the paper, Ruth Davidson said protecting the environment was “one of the greatest challenge of our times”.
Calling for measures to incentivise uptake of low emission vehicles, the Tories suggest electric cars should be given free town centre parking and the use of bus and taxi lanes, while the paper also advocates creating a new fund to expand electric vehicle charging.
Backing Scottish Government plans for 50 per cent of Scotland’s energy to come from renewables by 2030, the plan calls for individual targets for the heat, transport and electricity sectors.
The party also argues that 10 per cent of the Scottish Government’s capital budget should be spent on energy efficiency measures – with the aim of ensuring all homes are energy efficiency by 2030.
It recommends a new target to ensure 75 per cent of all waste is recycled by 2035 through the creation of an easy-to-use collection system and the creation of 15,000 hectares of new quality woodland per year.
The party said the proposals were an attempt to lead debate on how best to reduce carbon emissions, protect Scotland's natural resources and encourage sustainable growth.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks warned the Scottish Government’s draft Climate Change Plan fails to provide a “credible route” to achieving climate change targets and called on ministers to examine the proposals for consideration.
He said: “It’s great to see the Scottish Conservatives setting out their stall for how Scotland should lead the global transition to a zero-carbon economy. Their paper includes many positive ideas including a large scale plan for improving the energy efficiency of homes, new policies to encourage electric vehicles and support for the development of new district heating networks. If introduced, these kinds of policies will help reduce our climate change emissions, whilst also supporting the growth of new industries, improving air quality and reducing fuel poverty.
Releasing the paper, Scottish Conservative environment spokesperson Maurice Golden said: “We must decrease our reliance on products manufactured abroad in order to reduce our carbon emissions but also increase jobs here in Scotland.
“To successfully transition to a circular economy, we need to refocus current Scottish Government intervention.
“Leadership on technological advancement, education and behaviour change, and the creation of a Centre for Circular Economy Excellence will together help to achieve an estimated £3 billion economic boost.
“The bottom line is that a circular economy will be a win for businesses, a win for consumers and a win for the environment.”
FoE Scotland director Richard Dixon said: “I am glad to see a high level of support in the paper for renewable energy. However, on nuclear power, they are flogging a dead horse.
“We have seen around the world French and Chinese companies involved in UK nuclear power in serious financial trouble. Both EDF and Toshiba are essentially propped up by their respective governments.
“Nuclear power is not something that works in the modern world, both on economic and environmental grounds. It creates dangerous waste for thousands of years.”
Greener UK chair Shaun Spiers said: “There is now a real danger that the UK will leave the EU without a deal or consciously pivot towards countries with lower environmental standards.”
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