Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:07 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment and Rural Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales) 3:07 pm, 1st May 2019

Yes, I have to agree with the hon. Gentleman—it has surprised me how long the Bill has taken to reach the Floor of this House again. It was an interesting time in Committee. A number of the issues did not really concern Scotland, of course, as he will be aware, but there were some big issues that were not properly addressed by the Minister at the time. It might be that the Government are grappling with the issues around food production, for example, which, as he will know, was not even in the Bill.

To return to welcoming new industries and new jobs arising from new technology, that is why the Government should be reversing decisions they made to pull funding from renewables and to cut subsidies, denying researchers the tools they need to progress these new technologies. Nova Innovation, headquartered a few hundred metres from my constituency office in Edinburgh North and Leith, has recently installed tidal arrays off Shetland, gathering power from the sea and demonstrating that the technology can be scaled up and adapted to provide a constant and consistent source of renewable energy. That was possible only because EU funding was available to drive the development of the technology. Post-Brexit, none of that funding will be available, so how will the Government be stepping up to the plate? Will they be filling this hole left by our departure from the EU? Indeed, since this is a Labour motion, may I ask Opposition Front Benchers to give some concrete assurances that if they ever got into power, research into renewables would see increased support and funding—and, crucially, as referenced by my hon. Friend Angus Brendan MacNeil, connections to the grid would be cheaper for renewable power generated?