Tue 6 Oct, 2020

If a Just Transition Board is right for Grangemouth and Mossmorran, it is absolutely right for Hunterston. I’ll continue to fight for this, and I’m pleased that the Government have confirmed the option is on the table. Ross Greer MSP

Local Green MSP Ross Greer repeated his calls in the Scottish Parliament for Hunterston to be given a ‘Just Transition Board’, a body which would be responsible for creating jobs and securing employment for those currently working at the nuclear plant.

Decommissioning of the power station, which will start next year, is expected to keep all current employees in a job for the next few years, but the area’s Green MSP has led calls for a ‘just transition board’ to ensure the community doesn’t face mass unemployment at the end of that process. A ‘just transition’ is when workers in industries being phased out, such as nuclear or oil & gas, are supported into new industries such as renewable energy where jobs will be secure and long-lasting.

In August the First Minister announced that a Just Transition Board would be set up for the INEOS Grangemouth refinery, and campaigners have been calling for a similar approach for Exxon’s Mossmorran gas plant in Fife. Immediately after the First Minister’s announcement local Green MSP Ross Greer wrote to her, asking that Hunterston also benefit from a Just Transition Board to protect local jobs.

His office have not yet received a reply but during a recent Green-led debate on setting up a Just Transition Board for Mossmorran Greer asked Scottish Government Minister Mairi Gougeon if the government were supportive in principle of more boards being set up for sites such as Hunterston. Mairi Gougeon did not rule the idea out. 

Ross Greer, Scottish Green MSP for the West of Scotland commented:

“Hunterston workers and their families deserve job security. Communities across the West of Scotland have been devastated before when big employers closed and nothing came in to replace the lost jobs. The Greens will work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again and that Ayrshire’s potential as a green jobs powerhouse is realized.

I’ve pushed the Scottish Government for years to produce a ‘Just Transition’ plan for Hunterston but instead it has been relegated to a side project, lost in much wider and vaguer efforts such as the Ayrshire Growth Deal. Hunterston needs to be a priority in and of itself.

“If a Just Transition Board is right for Grangemouth and Mossmorran, it is absolutely right for Hunterston. I’ll continue to fight for this, and I’m pleased that the Government have confirmed the option is on the table.”

 

The exchange in question is recorded as follows in the Parliament’s Official Report:

 

Mairi Gougeon: Turning to another part of Mark Ruskell’s motion and a key theme of the debate, there have been calls to establish a just transition board specifically for Mossmorran, perhaps along the lines of what was announced for Grangemouth in the programme for government. However, as I said at the start, it would not be appropriate to closely engage or build that kind of relationship with Mossmorran at the moment while the Crown Office considers SEPA’s report. The Government cannot commit to any specific action on the future of Mossmorran until the outcome of that consideration is known. I hope that members understand that position.

Ross Greer (West Scotland) (Green): 

I appreciate the minister’s point, but does the Government accept in principle the possibility of extending just transition boards to other sites across Scotland? I ask that with a regional interest in the decommissioning of Hunterston nuclear power station.

Mairi Gougeon:  

That is something that has been looked at specifically for Grangemouth. I will not rule anything in or out at the moment. We will have to see how the model works there. There is a particular set of circumstances at Mossmorran and we will need to go through that process. We will have to see whether the Grangemouth model is something that could work in other areas, but we will have to see how that establishes itself first and how the work continues.

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