The Scottish National Party launched its manifesto for the December general election today (27 November) with a pledge to bring to market a £3 billion portfolio of projects ready for ‘green finance investment’.
It says these projects would include renewables, waste and construction.
Other pledges include a commitment to campaign for the UK to remain aligned with EU environmental regulations even if Brexit takes place.
In a chapter entitled “Climate change – a moral and economic responsibility”, the manifesto reads: “We have a huge opportunity to lead the world in building the new economy of the future, creating sustainable technologies and jobs that can secure our prosperity.”
While the word ‘recycling’ does not appear once in the manifesto, the party’s website points to what it says the SNP has done to increase recycling since being in government.
The website says: “Household recycling is at its highest ever levels – with over 45% of household waste recycled in 2017, and, for the first time ever, exceeded the amount of waste sent to landfill.
“The SNP Scottish Government introduced the Waste (Scotland) Regulations, which require all businesses and organisations to separate key materials for recycling, while most food businesses are also required to separate food waste collection.”
In 2014 the Scottish Government introduced a 5p charge for plastic carrier bags, which the SNP claim has led to a reduction in carrier bag use by 80%.
The website says that following the success of the plastic bag scheme, the party has announced a new Deposit Return Scheme, with shops which sell drinks set to offer 20p deposit refunds to customers.
This policy does not appear in the manifesto.
EU environmental policies and legislation are put in place to “protect natural habitats, keep air and water clean, ensure proper waste disposal, improve knowledge about toxic chemicals and help businesses move toward a sustainable economy”.
The EU action plan for the circular economy is among the EU environmental regulations the SNP has committed to campaign to maintain if they are voted to government.
This plan aims for a climate-neutral, circular economy where pressure on natural and freshwater resources as well as ecosystems is minimised.
A key element of this plan is a common EU target for recycling 70% of packaging waste by 2030.
The SNP’s manifesto for the general election of 2017 similarly contained no specific promises pertaining to recycling.
However, the 2017 manifesto did emphasise the party’s commitment to a circular economy.
In 2017 the Scottish Government won an award in the Public Sector category at The Circulars, awards which recognise individuals and organisations across the globe making notable contributions to the circular economy in the private sector, public sector and society.
The 2017 manifesto said: “Scotland is showing international leadership on moving to a more circular economy, where we keep valuable resources in circulation for as long as possible.”
The manifesto also noted that Scotland’s recycling rate was at 44.2 per cent in 2015, which was up from around 32 per cent for municipal waste in 2007.
Key pledges not related to the waste management sector in the 2019 manifesto include support for a second EU referendum “with Remain on the ballot paper”, a call for the UK government to match Scottish per capita NHS spending and an end to austerity.
Along with a pledge to “scrap Trident”, the manifesto says: “We will propose a Green Energy Deal that will ensure green energy schemes get the long-term certainty needed to support investment and that a UK Government plays its part in delivering a Green New Deal for Scotland.”