Wed 27 Jun, 2018

...it’s clear that environmental standards in Scotland and the UK will be significantly worse when we leave the European Union. Mark Ruskell MSP

Michael Gove’s plans for a weaker alternative to the European Court of Justice were ridiculed by a Green MSP today at Holyrood.

Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Greens’ environment spokesperson, says the new body, which Mr Gove revealed will not be allowed to “second guess” environmentally destructive planning decisions, will lead to significantly poorer environmental standards in the UK after leaving the European Union.

Giving video evidence before Holyrood’s environment committee, the UK environment secretary dismissed the notion that the new body would be able to call in environmentally destructive planning decisions, such as the one to approve a third runway at Heathrow.

Mr Ruskell, a Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, said:

“It has been two years since the EU referendum and still we have little idea of what the independent body for upholding environmental standards will look like. All we got from Michael Gove was hollow talk about how this body could take the government to court, but when pushed, the UK government minister categorically opposed the notion that it could overturn environmentally destructive planning decisions, like the one taken by the Westminster government to approve Heathrow Airport expansion.

“If the new environmental body cannot ‘second guess’ planning decisions as Mr Gove suggests, then it’s clear that environmental standards in Scotland and the UK will be significantly worse when we leave the European Union. Air quality in parts of the UK is already at dangerous and illegal levels and it’s likely they’ll only become poorer without a robust and independent replacement for the European Court of Justice.”

Get involved

More like this

Green MSP seeks views on Bill to strengthen local democracy

Fri 29 Jun, 2018

A Green MSP is launching a consultation on his draft proposal to strengthen local democracy by giving councils legal guarantees over their status, powers and finances.

If enacted, Andy Wightman’s draft Member's bill to incorporate the European Charter for Local Self-Government into Scots law would give citizens in Scotland the ability to challenge any action of the Scottish Government or Scottish Parliament which they consider violates the terms of the Charter.

The Greens’ commitment to campaigning for independence could not be clearer

Ross Greer MSP Fri 15 Jun, 2018

“For me, independence is about autonomy, allowing Scotland to meet success and failure on its own merit and not point an embittered finger of blame at anyone else”. These aren’t the words of a dyed-in-the-wool independence supporter, but rather a very recent convert who is no longer able to “tolerate a Tory government prepared to treat devolution with blatant contempt”.

You might recognise these welcome and salient words from the brilliant news yesterday that the former Daily Record editor, Murray Foote will back independence the next time we are asked the question.

Harvie puts forward Green alternative to SNP’s growth commission report on independence

Wed 13 Jun, 2018

Independence will provide Scotland with the opportunity to match the “progressive economic, social and environmental policies” of successful similarly-sized countries, contrasting with the decline of post-Brexit Britain, say the Scottish Greens.

However, Patrick Harvie also used the finance and constitution debate at Holyrood to warn that “growth economics”, which he says dominates the economic analysis in the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission report, is not sustainable in a “finite world” with a “fragile ecosystem already under extreme pressure”.