Responding to the publication of a Scottish Government paper on independence and the environment, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“This paper makes a number of welcome promises on how the environment would be protected in an independent Scotland.  A written constitution enshrining the importance of the environment is probably the single most powerful environmental argument in favour of a ‘yes’ vote.  
A constitutional guarantee gives the highest possible legal status for protecting and enhancing the environment and acting on climate change.  Any future government which proposed to trash the environment or ignore our climate obligations would swiftly find itself in court.  Those who wish to stay as part of the UK need to show us how they would deliver something as powerful.

“Whatever the result of the referendum, we will continue to hold the Government to account for the environmental promises and climate commitments made to the Scottish people.”

“Getting rid of nuclear weapons of mass destruction and making sure we concentrate on developing our huge renewable energy resources by ruling out forever building new nuclear reactors in Scotland are hugely important commitments to a greener, more peaceful and safer Scotland.

”Scotland has a good story to tell about climate laws and renewable energy ambitions but this message is diluted in Europe and at the UN when we are part of the less-ambitious UK.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The Scottish Government paper can be found here:  http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0045/00457321.pdf and their press release is here:  http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Government-sets-out-five-green-gains-of-independence-f91.aspx

2.  Friends of the Earth Scotland is neutral in the issue of independence and challenges both sides of the debate to show how they would deliver on climate targets, move Scotland to be a low-carbon economy and protect the environment.

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk