Environment watchdog's sins of emissions

IT IS hard not to agree with Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who has accused the government body responsible for protecting Scotland's environment of demonstrating "extraordinary double standards" over its carbon emissions.

The reason for Mr Harvie's justified wrath is that it the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has had to admit that over the past year its carbon emissions rose by 10 per cent, despite having targets to slash carbon dioxide generated by its business activities.

Sepa, which says its mission is to make Scotland a greener place to live and create a sustainable legacy for future generations, was responsible for 3,365 tonnes of over the year, from electricity used in its offices and the car journeys taken by staff.

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In mitigation, the watchdog, which does vital work monitoring water quality, argues that it has increased its staff and they have to go to where they are needed. A fair point, but it did, perhaps foolishly, adopt those targets.

There are now any number of different bodies, almost always publicly funded, that take it upon themselves to chastise the nation over the need to preserve and protect our environment. If they are to have any credibility at all they should set a better example.

Sepa, to its credit, has admitted that it should do better, given the role it plays in Scotland, but this is still a prime case, if ever there was one, of the need to adopt some Biblical wisdom. The advice then is simple: physician, heal thyself.