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Ambitious environmental policies vital to protecting union say Green Tories following new polling

Over a quarter of Scottish voters are more likely to vote for Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom if the UK Government pursued ambitious environmental policies, according to a new opinion poll.

The poll, commissioned by the Conservative Environment Network, found that 45 per cent of Scottish voters would be more likely to back the union in a future referendum if the UK Government pursued ambitious green policies. At the same time, just 19 per cent would be more likely to vote for Scottish independence, meaning overall, there would be a net 26 per cent of voters more likely to back the union.

Pursuing ambitious green policies would also make a third of Scottish voters (36 per cent) considering voting for independence more likely to back the union and bolster unionist voters, with 57 per cent saying they will be more likely to vote to remain. It would also make 33 per cent of undecided voters more likely to back the union.

In comparison, Scottish voters would be less likely to vote to remain in the union if the UK Government scaled back its environmental targets. In this scenario, 36 per cent of voters would be likely to back the union while 27 per cent would be more likely to support independence. Overall, only a net 9 per cent would be more likely to back the union.

Thirty-five per cent of Scottish voters listed climate change and the environment as one of the top three issues that will determine how they vote, the fourth issue behind the cost of living crisis, the NHS, and the economy. Fifty-eight per cent said climate change was an important consideration when they decide how to vote.

The Conservative Environment Network said the polling results showed that pursuing ambitious policies to tackle climate change is vital to protecting the United Kingdom, uniting Scottish voters, and persuading independence-leaning voters of the case for remaining in the UK. At the Scottish Conservative Party Conference, eleven MSPs joined the Conservative Environment Network's new Scottish Parliamentary Group to champion ambitious environmental action in Holyrood.

The 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, Roz McCall, Oliver Mundell, Graham Simpson, and Brian Whittle.

Sam Hall, Director of the Conservative Environment Network, commented: “As this opinion polling shows, pursuing ambitious environmental policies at a UK level can strengthen support for the union. But if the UK Government were to scale back its climate targets, it would risk pushing Scottish voters toward nationalism which would break up our country.

“When it comes to fighting climate change, we’re stronger together. As part of the UK, Scotland stands to gain tens of thousands of skilled jobs in the offshore wind sector, carbon capture, and clean hydrogen. The SNP’s constant nationalist sabre-rattling puts this investment at risk and makes net zero harder to achieve.

“By championing ambitious policies to achieve net zero, the UK Conservative government can defend the union and maximise the economic benefits for every corner of the country.”

Liam Kerr MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy, and Transport, commented: "Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing us, so it is little wonder that Scottish voters want to see strong action from both their governments.

"The UK Government is committed to huge expansion in clean energy. Its energy plan will create thousands of new jobs to the benefit of the whole United Kingdom.

"In comparison, the Scottish Government has botched its deposit return scheme, blocked nuclear power, and discouraged green investment.

"It's no surprise some Yes voters are thinking again about independence given the nationalists' shocking record on the environment."


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