Richard Dixon: The UK Government’s policies have been a disaster for onshore wind and solar, but remarkably effective in reducing cost of offshore wind, writes Dr Richard Dixon. A general election used to be a vital opportunity for the environment movement but since 1999 the Scottish Parliament has controlled most of the things that make a difference on the environment and climate change, from air quality standards and transport policy to agricultural subsidies and energy efficiency in buildings. So is there much left to get excited about? Brexit is, of course, the main issue that will determine how many people cast their vote. Leaving the EU is likely to be very bad for the environment as we face the threat of the UK Government trying to weaken environmental and consumer protections to do dodgy trade deals with the US, and we lose the opportunity to go the European courts to challenge government decisions with major negative impacts on the environment. The other big area that affects us all is energy policy including the future of North Sea oil and gas. In Scotland, we have our own renewables and energy efficiency targets, and we are due a revised energy strategy next year, but a great deal of energy policy is controlled by the UK Government, including the crucial rules of the energy market, which determines the viability of different generating technologies. This has been disastrous in recent years for onshore wind and solar energy but remarkably effective in reducing the cost of offshore wind. So much so that it is now much cheaper than new nuclear power.
Scotsman 18th Nov 2019 read more »