SNP in ‘cli­mate hypocrisy’ row

Friends of the Earth ‘ap­palled’ over oil tax breaks Wind farm: Ma­jor deals signed

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS - BY MARK LAMMEY

En­vi­ron­men­tal cam­paign­ers have ac­cused the SNP of “cli­mate hypocrisy” af­ter an Aberdeen MP backed new tax breaks for the North Sea oil in­dus­try.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) said it was “ap­palled” that Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Black­man sup­ported the leg­is­la­tion in West­min­ster while her party pre­sented its green cre­den­tials in Poland.

Caro­line Rance, FoE cam­paigner, said the SNP could not con­tinue to “ride both horses” when it came to cli­mate change and en­ergy pol­icy.

But Ms Black­man hit back with a staunch de­fence, say­ing the SNP was “at the fore­front of tack­ling cli­mate change” and that Scot­land was liv­ing up to its com­mit­ments on emis­sions.

On Tues­day, she slammed Labour’s shadow trea­sury min­is­ter, Clive Lewis, af­ter he crit­i­cised the UK Gov­ern­ment for in­tro­duc­ing leg­is­la­tion on trans­fer­able tax his­to­ries.

TTH was brought in to smooth the trans­fer of age­ing as­sets to smaller com­pa­nies which want to in­vest in ex­tend­ing field life. The leg­is­la­tion lets buy­ers in­herit tax cred­its from the seller which can later be used to off­set de­com­mis­sion­ing costs.

Dur­ing a Commons Pub­lic Bill Com­mit­tee ses­sion, Mr Lewis said TTH would com­pro­mise ef­forts to cut car­bon emis­sions.

He said the Trea­sury had ex­posed UK tax­pay­ers to “ex­or­bi­tant” fu­ture de­com­mis­sion­ing costs.

Ms Black­man said Labour had “given up” on the North Sea and “be­trayed” oil work­ers by re­ject­ing the UK’s strat­egy of max­imis­ing eco­nomic re­cov­ery (MER) from the basin.

How­ever, Ms Rance said MER was “in­com­pat­i­ble” with the UK’s ef­forts to cut green­house gases, and would serve only to “line the pock­ets of big cor­po­ra­tions”.

She said the SNP’s sup­port for TTH was at odds with Ni­cola Stur­geon’s com­ments at a United Na­tions cli­mate change con­fer­ence in Ka­tow­ice.

The first min­is­ter spoke of a “moral re­spon­si­bil­ity” to “pre­vent and mit­i­gate the ef­fects of global cli­mate change”.

Ms Stur­geon said Scot­land had been “widely praised in­ter­na­tion­ally” for its work to cut emis­sions and that she was “ab­so­lutely de­ter­mined” there would be “no let-up” in its ef­forts.

Ms Rance said: “It is ap­palling that while the first min­is­ter is talk­ing about cli­mate lead­er­ship, her MPs at West­min­ster are vot­ing through enor­mous hand­outs for oil and gas com­pa­nies.”

She went on: “This tax break could amount to tens of bil­lions of pounds to the very same firms de­stroy­ing cli­mate.”

Ms Black­man said oil and gas was the ma­jor in­dus­try in Aberdeen and that it would be vi­tal to “stew­ard” pe­tro­leum pro­duc­tion for decades to gen­er­ate em­ploy­ment and other eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

She said: “Over suc­ces­sive years, and through­out the down­turn in the oil and gas in­dus­try, we’ve called for in­cen­tives to help firms diver­sify into re­new­ables – these haven’t been de­liv­ered by the Tories who are let­ting our en­ergy sec­tor down.

“The only party with a clear vi­sion to make the most of Scot­land’s vast en­ergy po­ten­tial, both oil and gas and re­new­able tech­nol­ogy, is the SNP.

“The Tories don’t care, and Labour has given up.” our Wind farm de­vel­op­ers have an­nounced £2.6 bil­lion of in­vest­ment and a clutch of big deals.

The 950 megawatt (MW) Mo­ray East Off­shore Wind­farm yes­ter­day con­firmed mul­ti­mil­lion-pound con­tracts with Siemens, Boskalis and MHI Ves­tas.

Dutch ca­ble firm Boskalis an­nounced a £98 mil­lion deal to lay in­ter-ar­ray ca­bling, while Siemens and tur­bine firm MHI Ves­tas said they had inked “sig­nif­i­cant mul­ti­mil­lion pound deals”.

The wind farm will be built in agree­ment by de­vel­op­ers EDP Re­new­ables, Di­a­mond Gen­er­at­ing Europe and Engie.

The de­vel­op­ers also re­vealed last month the up­com­ing wind farm will be able to “meet the needs of 40% of Scot­land’s house­holds”.

Mo­ray East Off­shore Wind­farm added that it will also gen­er­ate power at al­most twothirds less than the cost of cur­rent UK wind farms.

The de­vel­op­ment, due to be­gin con­struc­tion in 2021, is ex­pected to power more than 950,00 homes.

Mo­ray East board di­rec­tor Dan Finch said: “Siemens an­nounced that it would be work­ing with lo­cal con­trac­tor I&H Brown, who will pro­vide man­age­ment of the site work pro­vided by the en­gi­neer­ing firm.”

HIT­TING BACK: Kirsty Black­man MP in­sists the SNP is “at the fore­front of tack­ling cli­mate change”

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