Lib Dems: Put climate change back on Parliament radar

An end to open cast coal mining and a complete moratorium on fracking will be on the agenda of the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ conference later this month.

Tackling climate change and protecting the Scottish natural environment will be the focus of key discussions as the party joins together to call for the Scottish Parliament elected in May to put climate change back on the radar and take much more radical steps to tackle it over the next parliamentary term.

At conference, members will discuss a motion calling for action to be taken to protect the natural environment including a complete moratorium on fracking and unconventional gas extraction to be maintained over the next parliamentary term and an end to all open-cast coal mining.

The motion also calls on Parliament not to enact any substantive cut in Air Passenger Duty, support greater energy efficiency in homes and buildings and take stronger action on wildlife crime.

Mover of the motion, Tavish Scott MSP, said: “Both the Scottish and UK Governments have let measures to tackle climate change fall by the wayside. Under the SNP Scotland has missed its climate change target for four years running. Meanwhile the Conservative election victory in May has dealt a massive blow to the UK green energy industry.

“The Tories have done a complete about-turn on the great strides we made in government to combat the impact of climate change. Investment in renewables has now all but collapsed. Subsidies for greener cars and greener homes have been thrown out the window. Other world leaders asking with incredulity why Britain has abandoned the fight.

“Liberal Democrats see climate change as one of the greatest dangers facing us, we can’t sit around while it catches up with us, we need to act right now and quickly. But tackling it and protecting our natural environment have slipped far too far off the radar under the current Scottish and UK Governments.

“Not enough is known yet about the impact fracking and unconventional gas extraction could have in the future. That’s why we want to see the moratorium against it continue. Open-cast coal mining also needs to be stopped in its tracks. The industry has utterly failed this country, saddling communities with a blighted countryside and no measures to restore sites.

“We also want to address fuel poverty with warmer homes for everyone in Scotland. We don’t want any substantive cuts to Air Passenger Duty. And we want to promote biodiversity in our hills, forests, rivers and seas.

“Scotland consistently tops the polls as one of the most beautiful countries in the world – why would we want to let that badge of honour disappear? Lib Dems take on the mantle of leadership on environmental issues with pride and our bright, liberal and green vision will put tackling climate change much closer to Holyrood’s heart in the next Parliament.”

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