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Greens minister Lorna Slater unable to say if deposit return scheme will start on time – The Herald

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A SCOTTISH Greens minister has refused to say if the government’s flagship deposit return scheme will begin next July as promised.

The Scottish Government’s deposit return scheme will mean people will pay a 20 pence deposit when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then be given the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

For economic news, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/economy-matters/

Campbeltown wind turbine factory closes permanently – BBC news

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A wind turbine factory in Argyll has been permanently closed, with administrators now selling off equipment used at the site.

Owners CS Wind effectively mothballed the Campbeltown factory, which manufactured offshore and onshore wind farm equipment, in the spring of 2020.

The company said “deteriorating market conditions” had led to a lack of new contracts and declining revenues.

All staff have now either left or been made redundant.

Three-quarters of the 94-strong workforce had already departed in August 2020 with only a handful of staff left running the facility.

The manufacturing plant, located at the Machrihanish Business Park near Campbeltown, was bought by CS Wind, a South Korean firm, in 2016.

At the time it was Britain’s only UK facility for manufacturing onshore and offshore wind towers.

It previously went into administration in 2011 before a partnership between Scottish and Southern Energy and Marsh Wind Technology saved the factory.

After CS Wind failed to secure major work with the Kincardine and Triton Knoll offshore projects in 2019, the majority of the staff were made redundant.

At the time the Unite union called the move a “major blow to Scotland’s renewables manufacturing capacity.”

“Market conditions” are being blamed for CS Wind (UK) being wound up, yet market conditions for wind power have never looked better.

Thousands of towers are required for turbines being planted in the North Sea, with a huge further boost planned in the next 10 years.

Existing onshore windfarms are being renewed after 25 years of torque and tension from generating power.

So there must be other explanations for the repeated failure to make the Campbeltown factory into a success story.

Part of the problem is thought to be the South Korean ownership failing to give the plant the support it needed in the past five years. There’s been a stand-off with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which provided public funding.

But there is a wider question about the failure to link the renewable power revolution to a manufacturing base in Scotland.

The Scottish government sunk more than £37m in three BiFab yards in Fife and Lewis for fabricating offshore platforms. That also went into administration.

For more environmental fails, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/environment-matters-2/

Glasgow is filthy and kids are begging on the streets. A good look for the SNP before COP26

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MOST folk think those phoney street fronts in old Western movies were just a ruse thought up by Hollywood set designers to fool punters in the cheap seats. In fact, what’s known as “western false front architecture” has its roots in real life.

Historians of the Old West say that when pioneers built settlements, and the first local dignitaries arrived, they’d erect a fake town to “project an image of stability and success”.

For more political news, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/politics-matters/

Ambitious SNP-Greens target to scrap half of Scotland’s diesel buses by 2023 met with industry scepticism – The Scotsman

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The move will involve the majority of Scotland’s 4,000 buses by the end of 2023, and trains on the Fife Circle and Borders Railway by the following year.

The dates were included in the Scottish Government’s latest annual Programme for Government, which sets out policies for the year ahead.

Most of the greener buses and the ScotRail trains involved are expected to be electric or battery, but it is not clear how much traditional electrification using overhead power lines will be required on the rail routes.

It was also announced that Scotland’s first hydrogen-powered train is due to be carrying passengers by 2025 after a prototype is showcased to coincide with the United Nations Cop26 climate change conference in November and it is trialled on the network in March.

The Scottish Government said it had already launched a “bus decarbonisation taskforce” and the first, £50 million phase of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund.

However, an industry source expressed concern about the bus target being met and whether sufficient funding would be available.

Revealed: ‘Shocking’ carbon footprint of COP26 venues – The Scotsman

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Two flagship venues hosting the upcoming COP26 climate change summit have received the second lowest possible rating for energy efficiency, with work yet to commence on a raft of legally binding improvements issued by assessors in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

The SEC Armadillo in Glasgow has been graded F by inspectors, who said its owners should consider installing renewable energy sources as well as new insulation and lighting in order to curb its carbon footprint.

The SEC Centre, the sprawling conference venue which will form the epicentre of negotiations, also has an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of F. Assessors told its owners in 2012 they should consider investigating the use of low and zero carbon technologies.

Nine years on, neither it nor any of the other SEC properties have renewable energy sources installed. Cumulatively, the venues, chosen by the UK government for the summit, along with Glasgow Science Centre, are pumping around 6,659 tonnes of CO2 a year into the atmosphere.

For more news on the environment, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/environment-matters-2/

Gamekeepers ‘sickened’ by Scottish Government agency’s ‘unjustified’ deer cull – The Herald

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GAMEKEEPERS have said they are “sickened” after a Scottish Government agency sanctioned a second “unjustified” taxpayer-funded cull of deer.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association have said they are considering withdrawing from the nation’s codes for human deer control that they helped develop because of plans of a continued cull in the nation’s forests.

Hydro-electric extractions having ‘devastating’ impact on river, says Spey Fishery Board – The Northern Scot

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The Spey Fishery Board states the amount of water extracted to generate hydro-electricity is having a “devastating” impact on the river.

A report published today shows 90% of the water taken from the Spey comes from the top 13% of the river.

This water is then diverted to Fort William or the Tay.

The upshot, says the report, is that the natural flow in the Spey can be reduced by up to 24% at Boat o’ Brig, near Fochabers, and by up to a massive 61% at Kingussie.

Roger Knight is the director of the Spey Fishery Board’s director, which manages wild salmon and sea trout fishing in the Spey catchment area.

He says: “In the 1940s hydro-electricity was considered to be cutting-edge technology and a crucial source of power, particularly in rural parts of the Scottish Highlands.

“That technology, though, is 80 years old and such impoundments and abstractions would not be permitted under present-day environmental standards.

Thunberg: Scotland not a world leader on climate change – STV news

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg has said she does not believe Scotland is a world leader on climate change, as the Scottish Government claims.

The Swedish teenager said she has not yet decided whether she will travel to the global UN climate conference in Glasgow next month, but will do if it is “considered safe and democratic” – including ensuring participants from poorer countries are fully vaccinated and able to travel.

Questioned by BBC Scotland on whether Scotland is a world leader on climate change, she said: “No… I mean, there are some countries that do a bit more than certain others, but then if we look at it from a broader perspective then I think we can safely say there are no countries – at least in the global north – that are even doing close to what would be needed.”

Scotland’s climate change legislation includes a target to reach net zero by 2045, which the Scottish Government has said is “world-leading”.

The 18-year-old was also sceptical of the Scottish Government’s new powersharing deal with the Scottish Greens which will bring Green representatives into government for the first time in the UK.

Ms Thunberg told the broadcaster: “Of course there might be some politicians that are slightly less worse than others. That was very mean, but you get the point.

“It’s a hopeful sign that people want something that’s more ‘green’ – whatever ‘green’ means – but in order to solve this, we need to tackle this at a more systemic approach.”

Having returned to school after a year out leading young people in school strikes for climate change, Ms Thunberg said the conference falls in her school holidays, and if she does attend she plans to travel by train.

Nicola Sturgeon’s Green jobs academy branded a ‘sham’ – The Herald

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A FLAGSHIP SNP scheme to “help people secure work in the low carbon economy” has been branded a sham after it appeared to be little more than a jobs listing website.

Scottish Labour said the Green Jobs Workforce Academy, which was launched this week, was a “gobsmacking” example of rhetoric falling short of reality.

Announcing the Academy in December, Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn said it would help ensure people “have the right skills to support a just transition to a net zero economy”.

e said it would support “those who are facing redundancy to upskill and reskill so they can capitalise on green job opportunities as they emerge”.

Launching it on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon said the Academy was “an invaluable step in preparing our current and future workforce to seize the opportunities” of a just transition.

Shocking footage of rotting waste at illegal Glasgow dump site as fly-tipping branded ‘horrendous’ – The Scotsman

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Piles of trash, including countless household items such as fridges, washing machines, baths and toilets, as well as doors, windows, furniture, building rubble and bin bags, can be seen strewn across the ground beneath the M8 in the Blochairn area of the city.

Organised crime gangs are thought to be behind systematic illegal dumping at the site, near Alexandra Park.