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Recovery plan

SCDI calls for ‘green stimulus’ to kickstart growth

Sara Thiam

Sara Thiam: ‘we need to work together’

The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) has today called for the Scottish and UK governments to deliver an ambitious ‘green stimulus’ to kick-start the economy, create new green jobs and fuel ‘clean growth’.

The Green Recovery plan has been developed by SCDI’s Clean Growth Leadership Group, which brings leaders and experts from business, industry, academia, local government and the public sector together in a shared mission to tackle climate change with practical ideas and action.

Building Scotland’s Green Recovery contains 12 big ideas which can be delivered in the coming weeks and months.

SCDI CEO Sara Thiam said: “Government, employers, workers, citizens and communities need to work together to tackle the climate emergency with the same urgency as we have the public health emergency.”

The plan says this ‘green stimulus’ should include new or expanded national programmes of investment in:

  • Domestic buildings retrofit and energy efficiency;
  • Domestic buildings heat pumps;
  • Low- and zero-carbon transport infrastructure (e.g. active travel routes, EV charging points, hydrogen refuelling points, railway electrification);
  • Nature-based solutions (e.g. tree planting, peatland restoration, flood management); and,
  • Digital connectivity

Such investment needs to happen at pace and at scale to address the worst-hit sectors of the Scottish economy and jobs at risk in tourism & hospitality, retail, construction and energy, says the SCDI.

Investment should be targeted at accelerating the decarbonisation of such sectors and supporting laid-off workers with reskilling, upskilling and transitioning into new green jobs.

The report also calls for:

  • A Green Jobs Transition Taskforce to prevent a surge in unemployment by supporting laid-off workers into new green jobs.
  • Green Reskilling & Upskilling Fund to help Scottish workers to keep pace with technological, environmental and labour market changes and to increase workforce and business resilience to future disruption.
  • Green Town/City Plans to transform the natural and built environment of Scotland’s towns and cities to create more inclusive, resilient and sustainable places which encourage walking and cycling, reduce pollution and facilitate social distancing.
  • New ‘net-zero presumption in favour’ in planning for developments which are essential to achieving net-zero (e.g. new active travel routes, onshore wind farms, pumped storage hydro or sustainable housing).
  • Better public procurement approaches by government, local authorities and public agencies to invest more public money locally and sustainably (e.g. Community Wealth Building).
  • Strong environmental conditionality on business support, rescue agreements or bailouts for the worst-hit businesses and sectors to accelerate their progress to net-zero.

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