Nine Scottish Conservative MSPs have joined the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) today to launch a new Scottish Parliamentary Group to champion ambitious environmental action in Holyrood.
CEN will build consensus amongst Scottish conservatives around ambitious environmental action and campaign for market-led conservative solutions to cut carbon and boost biodiversity. The parliamentary group will hold the Scottish Government accountable for delivering its devolved green responsibilities and lobby the UK government for support to help Scotland deliver the net zero transition. Its initial priorities will be urging the Scottish and UK governments to back the North Sea’s transition to clean energy, supporting jobs and investment in Scottish offshore renewables, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen. Members will also be campaigning for a UK-wide approach to the Deposit Return Scheme to boost recycling rates and reduce costs to business.
The group in Holyrood is the latest addition to CEN’s network in the UK. It sits alongside CEN’s Parliamentary Caucus in the UK Parliament, which consists of over 140 Conservative MPs and peers, and a UK-wide network of over 540 Conservative councillors championing environmental action in council chambers nationwide.
In the past year, CEN MPs and peers have successfully campaigned for VAT on insulation to be scrapped to cut people’s bills, a higher floating offshore wind target to drive renewable investment into the North Sea, and the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate to ramp up production of electric vehicles.
The new Scottish group brings together a broad coalition of Conservative MSPs who support net zero, nature restoration and resource security, including Finlay Carson, Murdo Fraser, Maurice Golden, Rachael Hamilton, Liam Kerr, Stephen Kerr, Douglas Lumsden, Graham Simpson, and Brian Whittle. Sam Hall, Director of the Conservative Environment Network, commented: “I am delighted to launch CEN’s Scottish Parliamentary Group today to champion conservative environmentalism in Holyrood and to formally welcome these MSPs to CEN. “This new group will provide an invaluable forum for Scottish conservatives to debate environmental policies, find consensus and champion more ambitious action to tackle climate change and restore nature.”
Liam Kerr MSP (North East Scotland), Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, commented: “I am proud to be a member of the Conservative Environment Network's new Scottish Parliamentary Group. I look forward to working with colleagues in Holyrood and across the UK to champion the ambitious action we need to tackle climate change, hold the SNP-Green government accountable on delivering their targets, and ensure Scotland is at the forefront of the green industrial revolution.
“Leading the net zero transition is our opportunity to secure the North Sea's future, winning investment, starting new clean industries, and creating skilled jobs which will benefit communities across Scotland and the UK. Scotland can become Europe's net zero powerhouse as part of the UK, speak as one voice on the global stage, and pool resources to tackle environmental challenges together.”
Maurice Golden MSP (North East Scotland) commented: “On so many environmental challenges, the Scottish and UK governments need to work together. The Scottish Government’s approach of deliberately diverging from the rest of the UK isn't working for our environment or economy, and this is shown across a number of areas.
“The Scottish Government’s complete failure to deliver the Deposit Return Scheme has been a perfect example of SNP/Green incompetence.
“Done right, DRS can boost recycling and cut waste, but the Scottish Government’s refusal to listen to traders and consumers threatens businesses with uncertainty and higher costs. The recent delay will have come as a relief to businesses across the country, but we need to use this time to deliver something that’s fit for purpose. I look forward to working with the Conservative Environment Network on this issue.”