Environment Minister highlights work to tackle climate change.

Environment Minister Aileen McLeod has renewed criticism of UK Government energy and energy efficiency policies which are impacting on Scottish Government budgets.

Dr McLeod said UK policy on energy and energy efficiency has hampered investment and reduced the level of funding available in Scotland. This includes the end of consequential funding for the HEEPS: Cashback scheme because of the UK Government’s decision to implement early closure of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

The Minister also highlighted the Scottish Government’s implementation of a £13.3 million overall increase across other areas, as she published a summary of funding for climate change mitigation measures in the Draft Budget 2016/17, including significant investment for energy efficiency – despite the challenges from UK Government actions, sustainable travel, waste reduction and natural carbon capture.

Dr McLeod said:

“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.

“Investor confidence in renewable energy has been hit by the UK Government changes, with the UK falling from the top 10 of EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index for the first time. This comes as at a time when the Secretary of State herself has admitted the UK Government does not have a credible plan to meet its legally binding target to deliver 15 per cent of the UK’s final energy consumption from renewables by 2020.

“This is an extremely disappointing situation and I again urge the UK Government to re-think their policies, particularly in light of the deal for worldwide action agreed recently in Paris.”

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