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  • climateaction@udny.org
  • Mill of Allathan, Udny, Aberdeenshire

General Election 2024

Udny Climate Action contacted the five candidates for Gordon and Buchan and asked them to respond to the following question by 26th June when we told them that we would publish their responses-
‘If you are elected, what actions would you encourage the UK Government to take to support local communities, such as Udny, to achieve net zero?’

The Conservative, Liberal, Labour and Reform candidates did not reply.

Richard Thomson, the SNP candidate, did reply and the following is his response

Firstly, thank you very much for engaging with the candidates in this election and I trust you’ll get responses from them all.

As your MP, I was pleased to receive approaches from Udny Climate Group throughout the last Parliament on the Local Electricity Bill and engage with the Climate Café.

I have also been involved with assisting a local climate group elsewhere who were experiencing difficulties in obtaining insurance for their car share club, a situation being faced by many other car clubs across the UK.  I have engaged with the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on the matter.  The DfT were very much of the ‘leave it to the market’ view.  The ABI were sympathetic but of limited help.  The Scottish Government – which provided the funding for the car club – is now taking the matter up with the ABI at my request and will be meeting with them shortly where this will be discussed, notwithstanding that financial services are of course reserved to Westminster.  I very much hope that a solution can be found to enable car share clubs to continue their contribution to carbon reduction.

During the last Parliament, myself and my SNP colleagues also very strongly supported community energy proposals in the Energy Bill and the suggested change to provide a framework to support the growth of a community and smaller-scale electricity export guarantee scheme in the Local Electricity Bill, a concept backed by more than 110 local authorities in the UK and more than 80 national organisations.

It is estimated that community energy generation could grow between 12 and 20-fold in size over a decade, which could mean up to 10% of electricity being generated by community-owned projects.  That would facilitate additional investment providing returns for communities, building a better network resilience with small schemes scattered across the grid – and, of course, that is far better value for money than the £70 billion or so for two large-scale nuclear power stations.  This is certainly something which will continue to have my support should I be re-elected.

In 2021, according to the organisation ‘Power for People’, community energy groups spent more than half a million pounds on energy efficiency upgrades, helping 21,000 people to reduce their energy bills, while nearly 60,000 individuals were engaged in energy efficiency initiatives.  This means reducing energy demand in the entire system.  It is clear that the reinvestment of returns by community schemes is a virtuous circle and, again, this is something I am pleased to support.

More generally, the SNP remain fully committed to ensuring that Scotland is at the forefront of tackling the climate emergency and to reaching net-zero by 2045.  Tackling climate change was one of four key priorities that the First Minister set out in his vision for Government. 

Scotland has outpaced the UK, with emissions down in Scotland more than in any other part of the UK between 1990 and 2021.  Scotland also accounts for 75% of all new woodlands created throughout the UK over the last five years.

The Scottish Government was the first government in the world to declare a climate emergency and the first developed nation to commit funding to address climate loss and damage. 

Scotland is becoming a renewables powerhouse – with almost 88% of electricity generation coming from zero or low carbon sources in 2022.  As you will know, the Scottish Government has committed £500m here in the North-east to securing a Just Transition to net zero and the SNP calls on both the current and next UK Governments to match this funding.

Unfortunately, the UK Government is set to fail to reach its 2030 target of 50GW of offshore wind target and has reneged on its commitment to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, forcing the Scottish Government to follow suit. 

Meanwhile Labour have u-turned on their £28billion green investment plan, a move which even their own former climate change spokesperson described as ‘economically illiterate and environmentally irresponsible’.

A vote for the SNP at this election will ensure a strong team of SNP MPs at Westminster to continue to press the UK Government on one of the most crucial issues of our time – and put the interests of Scotland first.

I trust this response is helpful but if you have any other queries then please do not hesitate to get back in touch.  If re-elected, then I hope we can continue this dialogue and co-operation.

With best wishes.

Richard Thomson

SNP Candidate for Gordon and Buchan

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