For a clean green Scotland

Energy, pollution and the environment

Unlike other political parties, the Scottish Socialist Party doesn’t pretend that lobbying corporations to behave more responsibly with regards to the environment is anything but futile. Corporations have one priority – profit.

Until they can make money through cleaning up their act, they won’t. So let’s give them no choice, let’s demand rather than ask, through carbon capping and toxic waste legislation that doesn’t give them the room to simply buy their way out of trouble.

We understand that environmentalism cannot happen in a vacuum. If we establish ourselves as a living, breathing example of sustainability, we would serve as an example to the whole world, and help to exert pressure on other governments to do likewise.

Someone has to go first – why not us? We seek a world that is sustainable, forward-looking and in which people can thrive.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to implementing the following:

  • Responsibility for energy to be transferred from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament and the wealth of Scottish energy resources to be brought into public ownership. This will allow the full development of these resources in an ecologically sustainable and socially just manner putting people and planet before profit.
  • An independent audit commission, to enforce Scottish climate emissions targets of at least three per cent a year.
  • The tightening of building regulations to compel construction companies to use sustainable sources for their construction materials and to ensure that energy efficiency is built into the design of buildings and appliances fitted.
  • Every new building, including private homes, to be carbon neutral by 2016.
  • 100 per cent grants, available to all,  for insulation and double-glazing in private homes.
  • All rented housing to have compulsory insulation and double-glazing.
  • The replacement of overhead pylons with underground cables where environmentally beneficial.
  • The cancellation of all airport expansion projects.
  • A ban on the transportation of nuclear materials on Scotland’s roads and railways.
  • The protection by law of ancient forests.
  • An expanded, fully integrated, publicly owned, fully accessible and free public transport network.
  • The cancellation of new road-building projects.
  • A reduction in urban traffic by extending pedestrianisation of town and city centres and halting all further development of out-of-town shopping malls.
  • Diversification and alternative employment opportunities for fishing communities.
  • A conservation scheme to protect wildlife habitats and parkland from industrial development.
  • An audit of all contaminated land to identify areas that may pose a potential health hazard and embark on a safe and comprehensive containment or clean-up programme.
  • Environmental education to be incorporated into the curriculum of primary, secondary, further and higher education.
  • Kerbside collection of materials for recycling, including glass, from every household in Scotland.
  • Recycling bins in every public building and workplace.
  • All suppliers of goods to the public sector to be legally required to use biodegradable and recyclable packaging.
  • A ban on any release of genetically modified organisms into the environment and effective testing of food and animal feed imports from countries which do grow GM crops to ensure that food and feed imports are not contaminated.
  • A ban on the sale of GM food products.
  • Public contracts to be refused to any company with a record of dangerous work practices or polluting the environment.
  • Local communities to be provided with information about any plan to construct a mobile phone mast within a one mile radius and to have the right of veto.
  • No new incinerators.
  • Serious waste reduction targets to be set for every local authority area, backed by whatever resources are necessary to deliver these targets.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • An international 90 per cent reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide by the year 2030 together with significant reductions of other greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Investment in alternative energy technologies, including community-owned wind farms, tidal power and clean coal technology.
  • Public and community ownership of energy, including oil, windfarms, electricity, coal and gas, with a proportion of all profits ring-fenced for investment in alternative energy.
  • An end to the imposition of pre-payment meters on those who owe debts to gas and electricity companies.
  • Refunds backdated by five years to households which have been forced to pay the higher charges associated with pre-payment meters.
  • Increased taxation on aviation fuel, with revenue used to improve high speed rail and ferry links between Scotland and mainland Europe.
  • Resistance to the building of any new nuclear power plants in Scotland, and the setting of a clear timetable for the decommissioning of existing nuclear power stations.
  • A target date for all public service vehicles to be carbon-free.
  • Legislation making it illegal to own, as well as to import, illegally logged timber.
  • All biofuels to have sustainability and greenhouse gas certification.
  • The establishment of elected anti-pollution boards at national and local level to monitor and enforce pollution controls, and for these boards to have the power to impose penalties.
  • A shift of focus away from pure economic growth as measured by gross domestic product, in favour of a more balanced measurement of the quality of life.

Land and rural regeneration

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • The building of 20,000 fully accessible new homes across Scotland’s rural communities for low cost rent to local people.
  • Public and community ownership of Scotland’s vast landed estates and corporate farms.
  • Local councils to be allowed to set special local taxes on second homes.
  • Extra funding for public amenities and public transport in sparsely populated areas that lack social facilities.
  • The shop in single shop villages to be exempted from business rates.
  • Local and regional initiatives to bring performing artists and productions to rural areas, and encourage the development of sport, drama, live music and the performing arts.
  • The release of funds to increase the numbers of mobile and small cinemas serving isolated areas.
  • A halt to the closure of small rural schools.
  • The setting up of a network of community post offices to replace those lost through UK government cuts.
  • Increased funding to the Rural Transport Community Initiative to allow people living in remote and isolated areas access to social, leisure, shopping, health and other services.
  • Government grants to enable small farmers to establish farming co-operatives, where they can agree prices for produce and thus resist the power of supermarkets to drive down prices.
  • Government grants for local food cooperatives, selling local produce in town centres, villages and housing schemes at reasonable prices.
  • Grants and assistance to help farmers convert to organic farming.
  • Free school meals with the ingredients purchased from local farmers.
  • The expansion of the number of allotments in Scotland and the protection of existing allotments from the infringement of developers in recognition of their important environmental, health and recreational role in our communities.
  • The establishment of a national body along the lines of SportScotland to promote and support gardening in all its forms.
  • Road Equivalent Tariff scheme to be rolled out across every Scottish ferry route.
  • Elected and accountable River Boards to remove fishing rights in rivers and lochs from the control of private landowners and bring them under public control, thus allowing the relevant authorities to keep control of fish stocks.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Full trade union rights and protection for farm workers.
  • The rural economy to be geared towards providing quality local foods for regional markets, rather than exports.
  • Immediate withdrawal from the EU Common Fisheries Policy with a 25 mile offshore limit within which only Scottish fishermen and women can fish.
  • Local management of sea fisheries, based on the Finnish model, where environmental sustainability is a key priority alongside community sustainability.

Animal welfare

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • Full support for the ban on foxhunting and resistance to any future moves to water down the legislation.
  • A ban on the abuse of animals in entertainment and sport.
  • An end to battery farming, factory farming and other forms of intensive farming.
  • Stringent new legislation for zoos to ensure that animals held in captivity do not suffer ill-treatment.
  • Similar legislation to prevent cruelty to animals at market and at slaughter.
  • Financial support for co-operatively  owned local abattoirs to avoid transport of live animals over long distances.
  • Animal welfare to be incorporated into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools, as part of personal and social education.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the powers of the Scottish Parliament:

  • A ban on animal testing for cosmetics, household products and military research.
  • A ban on unnecessary use of animal testing in medical research.
  • The replacement of the ineffective Dangerous Dogs Act with new non-breed based legislation which recognises the responsibility of owners for aggressive behaviour by their dogs.

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