BLOG: We all have to consider how we can help fight climate change

By Bruce Crawford MSP

First Published in the Stirling Observer, 17 July 2019

 

In recent weeks, the Stirling area has seen some mother nature at her most spectacular. From hot summer days, to flash floods. It is a reminder of the power of the environment and the impact that it can have on our livelihoods when it turns.

 

For those who have been affected by recent flooding, I would urge you to get in touch with the Association of British Insurers, who may be able to offer helpful advice, and can be found online.

 

However, recent weather may tell us part of a wider story about climate change. We know that the continuation of greenhouse effect gasses being released into our atmosphere is affecting global temperatures, and that this in turn is resulting in more extreme weather phenomena.

 

The more we learn about how human activity is leading to the warming of our atmosphere, the more urgent we find the situation to be. As such, earlier this year, the First Minister declared a Climate Emergency, and committed the Scottish Government to undertaking the recommendations of the UK Committee on Climate Change’s report.

 

The Scottish Government now has a target, the most ambitious of its kind in the UK, of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045. This will affect almost every area of government, business and will require for all of us to begin to think differently about how we use energy, and manage waste.

 

Of course, to achieve this target, we will need similar cooperation from the UK Government due to the fact that many areas where work is required to tackle climate change remain under the control of Westminster. Theresa May’s final commitment to the environment as Prime Minister saw her announce a UK Government target for emissions reduction to net zero being 2050 – a significantly less ambitious target.

 

Some people have contacted my office, expressing a wish to see these targets achieved on a much smaller timescale. Whilst I am deeply sympathetic to this view, and would personally like to see us eradicate our detrimental impact on the environment much sooner, the Scottish Government has set an ambitious target, but also must be pragmatic and mindful of what can realistically be achieved.

 

In managing to achieve our 2045 target, the Scottish Government has introduced a wide-ranging conversation to encourage members of the public to share their view about what can be achieved and what we should be doing to tackle climate change. The Big Climate Conversation has been launched by the First Minister, with consultation events taking place around the country. In Stirling, there will be an event held in the Stirling Engine Shed, on 24 July at 1pm with the specific aim of engaging local young people in this important conversation.

 

The purpose of this exercise is to establish what changes people in Scotland are willing to make in order to help us reach net zero of greenhouse gas emissions. And I would encourage young people across the area to get involved with this event.

 

The SNP Government has made huge progress in this area. Last month, the Transport Secretary announced more than £20 million of additional funding to help the rollout of electric vehicle infrastructure, the Housing Minister has recently announced £17.6 million of loan funding to help homeowners make their houses more energy efficient, and recent figures have told us that in the first quarter of 2019, Scotland produced enough renewable energy to fuel 88% of Scottish households for a whole year.

 

Nobody denies the scale of the task ahead, but we owe it to ours and future generations to repair the damage made to our environment. Our record shows what can be achieved in tackling climate change, and by working together, we can take on these challenges and help to heal the only planet that we will ever call home.

MSP encourages spring clean

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford met with representatives of Keep Scotland beautiful in parliament this week to discuss their Spring Clean 2019 campaign.

 

Clean Up Scotland is the national campaign to build community pride and make Scotland clean for future generations. But litter and flytipping levels at the worst in a decade.

 

Events are taking place across the country, with a Clean Up event organised at Bannockburn High School on 31st May.

 

Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:

 

“I am biased when I tell people that I represent the most beautiful constituency in the whole country. From a striking urban setting, to the spectacular Stirling highlands.

 

“However, it is disheartening on those occasions when I am out and about, visiting rural Stirling areas and finding areas where fly tipping has taken place. It’s a scar on our otherwise beautiful countryside.

 

“I fully support this grassroots initiative to tackle the problem and would urge locals across the area to get involved.

 

“Finally, if you see someone fly tipping, please ensure that you report this to the authorities.”

Rise in electric and ultra-low emissions vehicles in Stirling

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford has welcomed the news that the Stirling area has seen a significant rise in the number of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) since 2017.

 

Figures released by the Department of Transport reveal that the number of ultra-low emission and electric vehicles in Stirling has increased by 67% since last year. (549 in 2017 Q3, 916 in 2018 Q3).

 

Across Scotland, the number of people driving electric vehicles has almost tripled since 2016 – rising by 130% in two years.

 

The Scottish Government has pledged to introduce low emission zones in Scotland’s four biggest cities by 2020, and phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars by 2032 – 8 years ahead of the UK government’s target.

 

The SNP in government has also committed to delivering 20 electric towns by 2025, and work to electrify the A9 trunk road with the provision of charging points along the route recently began.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said:

 

“I welcome the news that the number of ultra-low emission and electric vehicles in Stirling is continuing to rise.

 

“These figures are testament to people’s commitment to clean air and clean energy in Scotland, and will help to make our towns and cities more accessible – and are an important part of the fight against climate change.  

 

“Ultra-low emission vehicles give us the opportunity to set a path for less pollution and improve the quality of air in the places that we live, work and visit.

 

“The SNP will continue this progress and maintain Scotland’s reputation as a global leader on tackling air pollution and climate change.”

Take your litter home, says Stirling MSP

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford is encouraging local residents to take their litter home, instead of leaving it in the street or at a roadside.

The call comes in support of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Give Your Litter a Lift campaign – which is encouraging people not to litter the roadside.

 

According to Keep Scotland Beautiful, around 50 tonnes of litter is collected at the side of motorways every year.

 

Mr Crawford showed his support for the campaign by picking up some litter at the side of Players Road in Stirling last week.

 

Commenting, he said:

 

“Taking your litter with you is so easy to do, especially considering that the alternative is so disrespectful to the local community.

 

“Up and down many road sides, drivers and passengers have carelessly thrown litter out of their car windows, making the place untidy and damaging the environment.

 

“This campaign by Keep Scotland Beautiful is a fantastic way to raise awareness in this area and to encourage people to give their litter a ride home.

 

“I’d encourage everyone to keep a bag in their car for your rubbish, or invest in a discreet car bin to make things easier. If everyone does their bit, we can all make a real difference to our roadsides.”