In an exclusive interview, a spokesperson from the Scottish Government speaks to Open Access Government about how Scotland is fighting climate change
A spokesperson from the Scottish Government reveals the future where digital and low carbon technology and the investment ploughed into this sector. In addition, they explain the Scottish Government’s future priorities for the environment, for example in terms of the plans to introduce Low Emission Zones into Scotland’s four biggest cities between 2018 and 2020.
To support the circular economy and tackle climate change, we find out that the Scottish Government plans to develop a deposit-return scheme, designed to increase recycling rates and reduce littering across Scotland. Looking at the wider picture, we also learn about the importance of developing a sustainable future for younger generations, in this special question and answer session with a Scottish Government spokesperson.
Can you outline the New Innovation Fund, to accelerate innovation in new technologies, including low carbon and digital projects by 2020?
To send a clear signal that Scotland is the place for innovation in digital and low carbon technology, we have invested a further £60 million to deliver wider low carbon energy infrastructure solutions across Scotland, such as electricity battery storage and sustainable heating systems and electric vehicles charging, where the focus up to 2020 will be on innovation.
This will build on the momentum generated by the European-supported Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and will benefit consumers, communities and businesses up and down the country.
What are the Scottish Government’s future priorities for the environment, for example in terms of the plans to introduce Low Emission Zones into Scotland’s four biggest cities between 2018 and 2020.
Protecting and enhancing the environment is a priority for the Scottish Government for the multiple benefits it provides; public health and quality of life, a natural asset available to current and future generations and inputs to key sectors of our economy.
The Low Emission Zones are one example of practical work with partners to deliver benefits that support the health of individuals and the quality of the places that people live and work. It is important that this work is done in partnership with other partners such as local authorities and last week I announced a leadership group that will support this work.
What are the Scottish Government’s views on how a potential ‘deposit-return scheme’ will operate in Scotland?
To support the circular economy and tackle climate change we will develop a deposit-return scheme designed to increase recycling rates and reduce littering and implement it across Scotland. This represents a step change in our level of ambition and over the next year, we will build on detailed work already being carried out by Zero Waste Scotland, ahead of a roll-out across Scotland.
We will ensure the scheme is tailored to meet Scotland’s specific needs and we will work closely with the business community during its design and implementation. To this end, we are currently looking at existing schemes and will shortly be launching a consultation on how a deposit-return scheme could operate in Scotland.
Following on from this, what are the benefits of a deposit-return scheme for recycling and reducing litter, and what potential impacts could this have on retailers and local authorities?
We are confident that a deposit-return scheme will increase recycling and reduce littering – this is clear from the evidence in the many countries that already use deposit return. We are also keen that a system should work for everyone in Scotland, including small retailers and local authorities, and will be working closely with experts and stakeholders to design a suitable system.
Why is it important to develop a sustainable future for younger generations?
As the Programme for Government set out in September made clear, we are determined to equip Scotland – not just for next year – but for the next decade and beyond. At its heart is the ambition to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up and be educated and the best place to live, work and do business.
It is a key responsibility of any government to leave the country in a better place than you found it; whether that be through protecting and providing vital public services that people expect; ensuring services are sustainable and affordable, and taking responsibility for mitigating global issues such as climate change or creating a fairer economic model.
I believe we have set out a programme of action that will enable us to develop a sustainable future for younger generations, and I am now getting on with delivering just that.
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