SNP in ‘climate hypocrisy’ row
Friends of the Earth ‘appalled’ over oil tax breaks Wind farm: Major deals signed
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”