THE SNP have called for a portion of tax revenues gained from the oil and gas industry to be ring-fenced to support the transition to a low carbon economy in areas like Shetland and the North East of Scotland.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said that at least £1 billion should reserved for areas dependent on the oil and gas sector like Shetland, the North East and Falkirk to help the move towards greener industries.
Speaking in Aberdeen this week, the SNP leader called for more funds to be designated for supporting low carbon energy, transport, infrastructure and jobs.
The news was welcomed by SNP general election candidate for the Northern Isles Robert Leslie, who is based in Orkney.
He added that both Shetland and Orkney have “huge renewable generating potential that is currently hampered by UK energy policy and regulation”.
Revenue from the oil and gas industry goes through the UK Government, with £8.5bn expected to be raised over the next five years.
The Scottish Government already wants to see all emissions offset by 2045.
“We must do everything in our power to tackle the climate crisis and Scotland has set the most ambitious legal targets in the world,” Sturgeon said.
“But we also have to ensure that areas like the North East, where the economy has been built on the oil and gas industry, are supported to make the transition to new low or no carbon industries.
“By ring-fencing the current tax revenues from oil and gas in a net-zero fund and investing in a just transition we can deliver real benefits to these communities and to our environment.”
She added that the “SNP will never argue for the oil and gas industry to be shut down overnight”.
Northern Isles election candidate Leslie added that it is a “scandal that our energy-rich islands have some of the highest fuel poverty rates in the UK”.
“The Scottish Government is doing all it can do within its current powers and the next UK Government needs to overhaul rules that are not fit for purpose and which are economically and socially damaging to these islands,” he said.
“At the moment the only sure way to secure a better future for our environment is with a vote for the SNP on 12th December.”
Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer wrote on Twitter after Sturgeon’s announcement that it was “meaningless doublespeak when the SNP are committed to maximum oil and gas extraction past 2050 ie. 20 years past the point of no return for the planet”.
Sturgeon’s comments came as campaigning for the 12 December general election got into full swing.
There are so far five candidates announced so far for the Orkney and Shetland constituency. They are in alphabetical order:
David Barnard (independent), Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrats), Coilla Drake (Labour), Jenny Fairbairn (Conservatives), Robert Leslie (SNP). Nomination close on Thursday afternoon.