THE Scottish Greens have been accused of doing “another U-turn” after failing to propose a moratorium on shutting down large-scale waste incinerators despite being featured in the party manifesto.
The party manifesto pledged to “oppose the construction of new incinerators because they ease the pressure to reduce waste, cause air pollution and are bad for the climate.”
The Scottish government had pledged to update the MSPs on policy by the end of September – and in a government-initiated question by the MSP Greens Mark Ruskell, his party colleague and now government minister, Lorna Slater , confirmed “we will be reviewing the role incineration plays in the waste hierarchy in Scotland, including the need for new incineration capacity” – the review to be published only after March of the year next.
Ms Slater added: ‘We intend the review to prioritize taking into account national incineration capacity requirements, given the Scottish Government’s ambitious waste reduction targets.
“The review will also have the opportunity to examine how emissions from existing incinerators can be reduced and waste heat can be reused; and take into account the societal impacts of treating residual waste, including impacts on health and the community. The independent chair will determine the detailed form of the review. ”
She added: “The timing of the review will be agreed with the independent chair. However, we are aware that the results of this review will be important in informing the ongoing discussions on local authority planning decisions and broader investment decisions.
“Therefore, we aim to start soliciting evidence for the review in November and review the available evidence between December 2021 and March 2022. We will publish the review as soon as possible after the review is complete.”
Scottish Labor, Energy and Transport spokeswoman Monica Lennon said the decision to ‘kick the tall grass’ was’ a total embarrassment’ ahead of COP26 and was’ a another U-turn “of the Greens.
She added: “It could come too late for communities like mine in Lanarkshire.
“This approach to the status quo is a complete disappointment. What’s the point of having Greens in government as they act like bureaucrats and listen to their SNP bosses?
But conservative MSP Maurice Golden had raised the lack of responses with the president, moments before Ms Slater’s statement was made public.
Speaking in Holyrood’s hemicycle, Mr. Golden said: “On September 22, Lorna Slater, the Minister of Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity promised to inform parliament of plans for incineration of the coalition before the end of September.
“The most appropriate way to do this would be to make a statement in parliament. Instead, at the last possible minute, on the last day of the month, we have a government initiated question – a format that does not allow for a full review.
“PSMs across the chamber have questions that need to be answered, such as whether waste will be imported for burning in Scotland, whether the moratorium will end on incinerators in the planning – as promised in the green manifesto.
“The timing and manner of this announcement is designed to avoid this scrutiny. ”