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Environment / SIC’s environment chairman says green plan is a ‘significant leap’ forward

New petrol and diesel cars won’t be able to be sold after 2030, while the UK Government also wants to further hydrogen production and offshore wind

The vehicle charging point at the Fort Road car park. Photo: Shetland News

THE CHAIRMAN of Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) environment and transport committee has welcomed moves from the UK Government to create a self-proclaimed “green industrial revolution”.

Councillor Ryan Thomson said the 10-point plan announced by prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday was a “significant leap towards a more environmentally friendly future for the UK, and the world”.

One of the pledges is to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

The number of electric vehicle chargers in Shetland, meanwhile, is in line to increase in the near future.

A planning application has been submitted by the SIC for a new rapid charger in the old swimming pool car park in Lerwick.

Permission was also recently granted for a charger at Mackenzie’s farm shop and cafe in Cunningsburgh.

Thomson also welcomed the emphasis in the UK Government’s announcement on promoting public transport and active travel.

Councillor Ryan Thomson.

It comes after the draft Shetland Active Travel Strategy 2020-2025 was launched for consultation, seeking the public’s views on walking, cycling and wheeling, including wheelchair use, across the islands.

“With the Scottish Government set to publish its own updated climate change plan soon, and the SIC climate change strategic outline programme recently being discussed and approved, we are at an important point in history if we are now to make real changes to reverse climate change,” Thomson added.

“This needs to be done in conjunction with addressing the serious issues we have here in Shetland, and beyond, relating to fuel poverty.

“Shetland experiences some of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country, and a combined approach to tackling climate change, and addressing this serious problem, is essential.”

Included in the Prime Minister’s plan is a focus on areas like offshore wind, hydrogen, nuclear energy, electric vehicles and public transport, cycling and walking.

Johnson said: “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country.

“My ten point plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.”

While the general thrust of the plan has been welcomed, critics have pointed to the level of investment.

The prime minister said the plan will “mobilise £12 billion of government investment”.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said the plan “completely fails to rise to the gravity of this moment”, while shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said “only a fraction of the funding announced today is new”.