Fuller control of environment now in hands of Scottish Government
A green group is calling on the Scottish Government to make the most of new devolved powers to benefit the environment.
Powers announced by the Smith Commission include control over air passenger duty as well as significant powers to design home energy efficiency measures.
The Scottish Government also gets a say in overseeing the role of energy regulator Ofgem.
And it means Scotland could effectively have the power to halt the controversial practise of fracking.
Lang Banks, WWF Scotland director, said the new powers must now be used to safeguard the environment and reenergise efforts to tackle climate change.
“The devolution of significant powers to design how home energy efficiency measures are implemented will allow the Ministers to design measures more suited to Scotland’s specific housing stock, tackling fuel poverty in the process,” he said.
“Air Passenger Duty will now be devolved and given this is currently the only tax on the air transport industry, any subsequent changes must reflect the significant amount of our emissions that come from flying.
Given the huge contribution renewables in Scotland make to the UK’s energy supply, it is was right the Scottish Government gets a role in overseeing the energy regulator, said Banks.
“The report also confirms that the Scottish Parliament will now have the full powers to stop fracking and other unconventional gas developments in Scotland," he added.
“We call on the Scottish Government to make use of its new powers to protect communities and our climate by keeping these fossil fuels in the ground and unburned.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon welcomed the new measures but cautioned: “Ministers must resist calls from the business lobby to cut Air Passenger Duty and instead use this levy to maintain its commitment to reduce emissions from aviation."