Environmental campaign fury as demands on flight pollution watered down
THE head of a leading environmental campaign group has accused the Scottish Government of ignoring 21,000 people who responded to the consultation into its climate change bill.
Almost all the 21,046 people who offered their views in the consultation into the Scottish Climate Change Bill called for emissions from international aviation to be included in the legislation.
It was one measure that environment groups argue must be taken to make sure the new laws, which will set out the Scottish Government's targets for action to tackle climate change, are rigorous.
The director of WWF Scotland is furious because, he claims, all responses sent to the government as part of campaigns by environment groups have been lumped together in the analysis of the consultation.
This means almost 21,000 responses generated by eight campaign groups are being counted as just eight responses.
As a result, the government is claiming just a third of respondents called for aviation emissions to be included.
Instead, Dr Richard Dixon, the director of WWF Scotland, insists that figure should be closer to 99 per cent.
He said it was a "real insult to democracy".
"They are basically ignoring 21,000 people who made the effort to put in a response," he said, adding: "This is a very worrying sign that the government is backing away from the world-beating climate bill that they have promised.
"A climate bill that ignores international aviation is like a diet that still lets you eat chocolate – it won't work."
He argues that, just because many of the responses were solicited by campaign groups and sent on campaign cards, they should still be included as individual representations.
He compared it with the consultation the Scottish Government carried out into the smoking ban legislation, when they advertised for people to send in text message responses.
"When the government themselves solicited tens of thousands of responses on the smoking ban, they were delighted to count them all.
"However, with more than 20,000 people telling the government to do the right thing by including flying in the climate bill, it is hugely disappointing that they have gone out of their way to sideline these responses."
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "Unlike previous consultations, the vast majority of campaign responses were based on a core script which individuals were encouraged to adapt. The analysis of these responses took account of both the core script statement, plus amendments and additions by individuals. Every single response was read and counted."
He said international aviation emissions are not included in the Scottish government's target, because of complications from allocating emissions from passengers who take more than one flight to reach their final destination.
Instead, he said the Scottish Government supports an international solution, and said if Scotland takes action alone it could simply shift emissions elsewhere, rather than delivering reductions.
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