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Scottish Greens under fire for waste incineration u-turn ‘utter embarrassment’

THE Scottish Greens have been accused of making “another U-turn” after failing to bring forward a moratorium on halting large scale waste incinerators despite being in the party’s manifesto.

The party’s manifesto pledged to “oppose the construction of new incinerators as they alleviate the pressure to reduce waste, cause air pollution and are bad for the climate”.

The Scottish Government had committed to updating MSPs on the policy by the end of September – and in a government initiated question by Greens MSP Mark Ruskell, his party colleague and now a government minister, Lorna Slater, confirmed “we will review the role incineration plays in Scotland’s waste hierarchy, including the need for new incineration capacity” – with the review not set to be published until after March next year.

Ms Slater added: “We intend that the review will prioritise consideration of national capacity requirements for incineration, given the Scottish Government’s ambitious targets for waste reduction.

“The review will also have scope to consider how emissions from existing incinerators can be reduced and residual heat may be reused; and consider the societal impacts of residual waste treatment, including health and community impacts. The independent chair will determine the detailed shape of the review.”

She added: “The timeline for the review will be agreed with the independent chair. However, we are aware that the outcomes of this review will be important to inform ongoing discussions around local authority planning decisions and wider investment decisions.

“Therefore, we aim to begin to invite evidence for the review in November and to review available evidence between December 2021 and March 2022. We will publish the review as soon as possible once the review has been completed.”

Scottish Labour’s net zero, energy and transport spokesperson, Monica Lennon, said the decision to “kick this into the long grass” was an “utter embarrassment” ahead of COP26 and was “another U-turn” by the Greens.

She added: “That could come too late for communities like mine in Lanarkshire.

“This business as usual approach is a complete let-down. What is the point in having the Greens in government when they are acting like bureaucrats and listening to their SNP bosses?”

But Tory MSP Maurice Golden had raised the lack of answers with the presiding officer, moments before Ms Slater’s statement was made public.

Speaking in the Holyrood chamber, Mr Golden said: “On September 22, Lorna Slater, the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity promised to update parliament on the coalition’s plans for incineration before the end of September.

“The most appropriate way of doing this would be via statement to parliament. Instead, at the last possible minute, on the last day of the month, we have a government initiated question – a format that doesn’t allow full scrutiny.

“MSPs across the chamber have questions that need answered such as whether waste will be imported to burn in Scotland, if the moratorium will end on incinerators in planning – as promised in the Green manifesto.

“The timing and manner of this announcement is designed to avoid that scrutiny.”



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