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Environment Improvement Schemes (Support)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th December 2019.

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Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

7. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to ensure that schemes to help improve the environment are given long-term certainty over their future. (S5O-03855)

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

Obviously, many of our environmental schemes are supported and funded by the European Union, such as LIFE, the common agricultural policy and structural funds. I am deeply concerned about the loss of EU funding in relation to the delivery of environmental outcomes.

I have continually pressed the United Kingdom Government to provide clarity on future funding arrangements. In the absence of that clarity, the Scottish Government has published its own consultation on the replacement for the EU structural funds, to give stakeholders the opportunity to bring their experience and expertise to the development of any successor arrangements.

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

Given what she said, does the cabinet secretary agree that there is a contrast between the actions of her Government and those of the UK Government? For too long, the UK Government has been limited by an embarrassing lack of ambition, not least in its recently published manifesto commitments, which will do nothing to tackle rising global temperatures, which were described by a recent United Nations climate report as “devastating”. Does the cabinet secretary also agree that there is no more time to waste, and that Westminster must follow Scotland’s lead and get its act together on green energy?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

In its approach to addressing climate change, Scotland is, in fact, leading the way—not just in the UK, but globally. We continue to press the UK Government on its failure to match its rhetoric with practical actions around renewable energy to support our climate response and match our net zero emissions ambition—some of that goes back to the earlier discussion that we had about moving away from oil and gas. It is disappointing that, in its manifesto, the UK Government has failed to do that. Nonetheless, we are clear that we will continue to lead for the UK on this crucial issue of our times, and allow other parties to trail in our wake.