Nicola Sturgeon challenges Westminster to ‘get its act together’ on green energy

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

Nicola Sturgeon has challenged Westminster to “stop obsessing” about nuclear power and “get its act together” on green energy.

She vowed that a large team of SNP MPs in the House of Commons would push the UK government to act on the climate emergency.

The Scottish Government is “already a world leader” in tackling the issue, the First Minister said, as she called on politicians south of the border to follow in her footsteps.

Campaigning in Edinburgh ahead of the December 12 General Election, Ms Sturgeon said: “At this election, Scotland can elect a strong team of SNP MPs to demand the radical action needed to tackle the climate emergency and secure the future of our green energy industry.

“Scotland is already a world leader on tackling the climate crisis and delivering green energy. By contrast, Westminster has wasted years obsessing over nuclear power and a complete lack of vision and ambition over the energy technologies of the future.

“Put bluntly, there is no more time to waste – it’s time for Westminster to get its act together.”

The Scottish Government has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 – five years ahead of the corresponding UK target.

Nicola Sturgeon, left, campaigned in Edinburgh West with SNP candidate Sarah Masson (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ms Sturgeon said it is “time for the UK government to match the SNP’s ambition – with a Green Energy Deal which will bring about a transformational shift toward the energy schemes of the future”.

The SNP wants to see the next UK government draw up a wave and tidal energy industrial strategy, with adequate funding for it.

The party is also calling for green energy projects to get long-term support and for the transmission charging regime – which it says discourages investment in renewable power projects in Scotland – to be reformed.

It was safety first for Ms Sturgeon during a visit to The Shed, a Climate Challenge community project at North Edinburgh Arts (Jane Barlow/PA)

With Ms Sturgeon calling for “radical action”, the SNP further supports the introduction of a diesel vehicle scrappage scheme, to encourage people to switch to ultra-low emission cars.

The First Minister said: “Climate change is without doubt the single biggest challenge we face. In Scotland, the SNP has declared a climate emergency and introduced the toughest legal targets in the world to ensure net-zero emissions by 2045.

“The next UK government must stop falling behind and follow Scotland’s lead with radical action to secure our future.”

But Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie insisted the SNP could not claim the “moral high ground” on climate change.

He said: “If the First Minister’s world-leading rhetoric was matched by her Government’s actions, Scotland would be well on its way to playing our part in tackling the climate emergency.

“Unfortunately the SNP, just like Johnson’s Tories, want to extract every last drop of oil from the North Sea.

“The SNP cannot claim the moral high ground, only a month after letting BP and Heathrow Airport sponsor their party conference.”