Probe to focus on climate change and independence

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WESTMINSTER’S Energy and Climate Committee is to hold an investigation into the effect that Scottish independence would have on the environment.

The committee said that the impending independence referendum, combined with First Minister Alex Salmond’s talks with Prime Minister David Cameron had “pushed the implications of potential Scottish independence up the Committee’s agenda”.

Although climate change policy is, in general, devolved to the Scottish Government, under the Scotland Act 1988 energy policy decisions were reserved for the UK parliament. However, the Scottish Government still has influence through devolved powers on planning permission.

The committee said in a statement: “Scotland’s wind and wave resources mean that it will have a crucial role in the expansion of the renewable energy sector, whether or not it remains part of the UK.

“Furthermore, Scotland’s electricity transmission system is an integral part of the UK’s energy infrastructure.

“Scottish independence would inevitably have implications for energy and climate change.

“There may also be implications arising from uncertainty in the period of time leading up to the planned referendum in 2014.”