Issues guide: Environment and rural affairs

This is an area which is widely devolved to Scotland, including water quality regulation and climate change.

In the last parliament, MSPs passed what is reputed to be one of the world's most ambitious legislation to cut carbon emissions, under the Climate Change Bill. Here, BBC news online Scotland outlines the environment and rural affairs policies of the SNP, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Conservatives, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens.

Election issues 2011

Environment and rural affairs

Scottish National Party



Liberal Democrats


  • Increase domestic energy generation from renewables to 100% by 2020, ensuring 130,000 jobs delivered in low-carbon economy.
  • No to new nuclear power stations.
  • New coal-fired stations must demonstrate carbon capture and storage on at least 300 MW of capacity, with 100% CCS expected on new builds from 2020.
  • Consult on environmental court in Scotland.
  • Keep the Forestry Commission as a publicly-owned body and forests in public hands.
  • Establish new Scottish Land Fund, with proposals by the end of 2011.
  • 80% of energy to come from renewables by 2020.
  • New body, Energy Scotland, to drive forward plans to become a world leader in low carbon sector.
  • No new, non-replacement fossil fuel power stations without effective carbon capture and storage systems.
  • Plans for new nuclear power stations "considered on merit", in terms of safety, environmental impact and community views.
  • Phase out diesel and petrol cars for government use, including ministerial cars, and replace them with greener hybrids.
  • 10,000 electric vehicle charging points by 2015.
  • End Scottish government policy against new nuclear power - consider proposals for new stations but not on new sites.
  • Require councils to publish "heat maps" showing demand for district heating.
  • Pursue Common Fisheries Policy and domestic fisheries reform, including end to discards.
  • All public bodies to publish energy consumption details and commit to targets for cutting it.
  • Right to request disused publicly-owned land be put into use as allotments.
  • Encourage procurement of local food across the public sector and retain single farm payment.
  • Scotland to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2025.
  • Oppose new nuclear power plants, while backing carbon capture and storage technology.
  • Allocate £250m to accelerate insulation of homes and buildings in Scotland and take forward universal home insulation schemes.
  • Support new generation of apprentices to become experts in installing insulation and energy-efficient systems.
  • New-build homes and non-domestic buildings to be "zero carbon" by 2016.
  • Strategy for on-street recycling.
  • Renewable energy to meet Scotland's domestic energy demand by 2020.
  • £100m-a-year fund for universal home energy efficiency.
  • Expand Scottish Water to become publicly-owned renewable energy company.
  • Oppose new coal-fired power stations.
  • Close existing nuclear power stations at or before the end of their normal working lives, with waste to be stored on site in secure, monitored and retrievable conditions.
  • No deployment of carbon capture and storage technology until "shown to be a realistic, efficient long-term option".

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