Scotland ‘to cut climate change budget’

Scotland plans to cut its budget to tackle climate change under its draft proposals. WWF’s analysis revealed the Scottish Government is planning to reduce the funding on policies that help […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Scotland plans to cut its budget to tackle climate change under its draft proposals.

WWF’s analysis revealed the Scottish Government is planning to reduce the funding on policies that help tackle climate change for 2016/17 by around 10% to £456.2 million.

It follows a commitment the government first made last summer and repeated in the run up to Paris that climate change would be embedded throughout its Draft Budget, WWF Scotland added.

It could also reduce funding for fuel poverty and energy efficiency by 13% compared to last year.

Scotland’s budget for the energy sector will be reduced from £107.6 million last year to £67.9 million this year.

Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland said: “It‘s particularly disappointing that the Scottish Government is reducing funding for energy efficiency programmes, despite its commitment last year to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. Reversing this decision would be one clear way to better embed climate change in this Budget, whilst also helping to tackle fuel poverty and create jobs.

“As the Draft Budget is finalised over the coming weeks, the Scottish Government should use this opportunity to increase its investment in building a low carbon economy, so that the final budget represents a stronger reflection of its new commitment to embed climate change throughout this Budget.”

Scottish Environment Minister Aileen McLeod said the budgets have been impacted by the UK Government’s energy policies.

He added: “Over the last year we have repeatedly lobbied the UK Government, including direct representations to the Prime Minister, to reverse their changes to renewable energy policies. Regrettably they have not done so and we have had to revise our budgets relating to renewable energy. This has been caused by the reduction in investors for projects because of the early closure of the subsidy regime and other policy and regulatory changes.

“Despite this we remain absolutely committed to continuing action to tackle climate change, delivering our ambitious targets on emissions reductions and protecting Scotland’s environment, with a £13.3 million overall increase in budgets across other areas.”