£1.6 billion package to fund Scotland's green recovery
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
The Scottish Government has announced a package amounting to £1.6 billion to help the country meet net-zero targets and to lead a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding is aimed at transforming the heat and energy efficiency of buildings thereby reducing their carbon emissions which have been estimated to account for a quarter of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The £1.6 billion will support up to 5,000 jobs in the low-carbon sector and it is hoped will set the country on course to meet its net-zero carbon emission target by 2045, five years ahead of the date set by the UK government in 2019. Scotland will update their Climate Change Plan which was published in February 2018 before the end of the year to incorporate the acceleration of decarbonisation targets.
The £1.6 billion package will be augmented by a further investment of £500 million in Scotland’s natural economy. £150 million of this will deliver a 50% increase in woodland creation by 2024 with a similar amount channelled into boosting flood risk management.
Projects which have already been named to benefit from the injection of funds include:
£100 million green job fund.
£60 million to assist industrial and manufacturing sectors to decarbonise.
Increasing the number of young people working in nature and land-based jobs.
Improving the waste collection and recycling infrastructure.
Roseanna Cunningham, the Environment and Climate Change Secretary at Holyrood, pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic had instigated a rethink on every aspect of life in Scotland. Harnessing the country’s abundant natural resources to their net-zero commitments was a central part of future thinking.
Scotland is still indebted to the oil and natural gas industries. The sector provides about 100,000 jobs either directly or indirectly. Extraction alone was worth an estimated £8.8 billion in 2019 representing 5% of total Scottish GDP.
The situation is changing however. The natural resources at Scotland’s disposal make it favourable for the production of renewable energy from onshore and offshore wind farms. A target of producing 100% of Scotland’s electricity consumption from renewable sources by the end of 2020 may yet be achieved.
The huge Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm now under construction off the Scottish coast is emblematic of the scale and potential of the domestic renewables sector. From 2023, this wind farm alone will be able to generate the equivalent annual electricity to power 375,000 households.