West of Scotland Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer has responded to the Scottish Government’s announcement of a job creation scheme at Grangemouth by requesting that a similar programme be established at Hunterston, following news of the nuclear plant’s imminent decommissioning.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced during her Programme for Government speech that “One of Scotland’s biggest industrial employers - and largest emitters - is Grangemouth….. We will establish a Grangemouth Future Industry Board to support a Just Transition… promoting economic activity while advancing the move to a low-carbon future.“
Scottish Greens Parliamentary co-leader Alison Johnstone MSP asked the First Minister if this approach would be extended to Hunterston, the Mossmoran gas planet in Fife and other locations but the First Minister failed to directly answer the Greens’ question.
EDF confirmed last week that decommissioning of reactors at Hunterston B is to start next year. This work will take a number of years and protect jobs for much of the current workforce during that time but Green MSP Ross Greer has consistently challenged the First Minister and Scottish Government to develop a ‘Just Transition’ plan, guaranteeing future employment for every worker at Hunterston in the long term.
While the Ayrshire Growth Deal, signed last year by the Scottish and UK Governments, will include some job creation in green industries in the area, the Scottish Greens have called for the new Grangemouth approach to be taken at Hunterston as well. Ross Greer has now written to the First Minister to formally request this.
Greer, whose West of Scotland region includes North Ayrshire commented:
“Every worker at Hunterston, their families and the wider community deserves job security beyond the next few years. Waiting until decommissioning ends to come up with a plan will result in history repeating itself as another Scottish community is left on the economic scrapheap when a large employer closes. That’s why I’ve pushed the Scottish Government for years to develop a ‘Just Transition’ plan for Hunterston, investing in the clean, green and jobs-rich industries of the future.
“The Government’s recognition that a targeted approach is needed at Grangemouth is welcome. It is after all Scotland’s biggest polluter and contributor to the climate crisis. This is exactly the kind of focused approach that Hunterston needs too though, so I have written to the First Minister to ask that a Hunterston Future Industry Board be established as well.
“That board should ensure the massive potential for local job creation in industries such as rail manufacturing and and renewable energy are prioritized. It should also have guaranteed places for trade unions, community representatives and environmental groups, to ensure that any plans put people and planet ahead of corporate profits.”
Text of letter below:
I was pleased to see that this year’s Programme for Government included the announcement of a Grangemouth Future Industry Board. I am writing to urge the Scottish Government to take a similar step at Hunterston in my region, as mentioned in the chamber by my colleague Alison Johnstone.
You’ll be aware that I have consistently called for a just transition plan for Hunterston, including at First Ministers Questions on 22 November 2018. You will also be aware that this has taken on greater urgency following recent news of the nuclear plant’s imminent decommissioning.
While the decommissioning work will secure jobs for a number of years, there is a clear need for a long term plan for the area, one which should also consider the future of the nearby Hunterston PARC site. I acknowledge that the Ayrshire Growth Deal, signed last year by your Government will include some job creation in green industries in the area but the targeted leadership that should be provided by the new Grangemouth approach is required at Hunterston as well.
The Hunterston area has huge potential for growth in green jobs. I know that Scottish Enterprise and others are enthusiastic about potential for future rail manufacturing contracts at the PARC site, for example.
I would also ask you to confirm that Future Industry Boards will include guaranteed representation from trade unions, community organisations and environmental groups. In the case of Hunterston this is particularly important. I’m aware that the staff union at the nuclear plant are deeply concerned about the future of their workers and there have long been active community campaigns around the issue of decommissioning and more recently to protect the adjacent Southannan Sands SSSI from inappropriate industrial development.
I have copied this letter to the Economy Secretary on the presumption that the Future Industry Boards will be led from within her department.
Ross Greer MSP