During the debate last week on 10th March, MSPs received an update on the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan 2018-2032 and heard that the country has the most ambitious climate legislation in the world. The Climate Change Plan sets out bold actions charting a pathway to reach new emissions reduction targets by 2032, including a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and a number of sustainable actions – expanding walking and cycling paths to promote active travel – as well as smaller steps such as supporting businesses to expand and continue to support their workforce to work from home, which is impacting positively on emissions reductions.
Ms Harper, who is a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy Committee, credited the work of several businesses and agencies in her South Scotland region, including South Scotland Enterprise Agency (SOSE) who she said have played a pivotal role in supporting local businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and who have helped businesses to meet climate change targets by adopting green policies which mitigate the very real impacts of climate change.
The South Scotland MSP was instrumental in bringing forward an amendment to the SOSE Billwhich revised the language of the Bill to bring it in line with current terminology in environmental legislation, providing better alignment with the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and with the Scottish Government’s climate change plan.
Ms Harper commented;
“Since South of Scotland Enterprise was operational from March last year, it has directly provided financial and practical support to schemes to mitigate the impacts of climate change – such as a grant of £1.9 million over 5 years – to the UNESCO Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and positive dialogue with the Galloway National Park Association which I have also been working with.
“The Biosphere has the aim of conserving and enhancing our South West’s natural environment, while encouraging sustainable outdoor use such as hiking, mountain biking other outdoor pursuits which also are an important part of the preventable health agenda. Many constituents are hoping that the Biosphere could be expanded into Stranraer and the Machars which would help to encourage economic growth, tourism and environmental mitigation for the region and I am pursuing this. Many of my constituents would also like to see a Galloway National Park which would help meet sustainable and environmental targets.
“Scotland has the most ambitious climate legislation in the world and the Climate Change Plan update sets out the policies that will be introduced, boosted or accelerated to help us meet them and to support our green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic”.
“DuPont Tejing Films in Dumfries & Galloway – who I visited with Minister, Jamie Hepburn last year – have benefited from the Emerging Energy Technologies Fund, and from the Apprenticeship Fund, which is extremely welcome. In our region there is also a commitment to the expansion of electric car charging infrastructure which will both mitigate the impacts of climate change and help to promote green sustainable tourism.
“I will continue to do all I can to support our regions green recovery and encourage anyone to contact me if they are looking for any help and support.”
(Featured image credit iStock/Mr_Twister)