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11 November 2019

Net-Zero Fund to Invest in Low Carbon Future

£1 Billion to Invest in North-East Economies

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed calls for future oil and gas tax revenues to be ring fenced in a Net Zero Fund to boost the transition to a net zero economy. SNP MPs have argued that at least £1 billion of those revenues should be dedicated to helping provide jobs and investment for areas, such as the North-east of Scotland, where the local economy has been driven by oil and gas production.

With clear commitments from the Scottish Government to move to net zero climate emissions by 2045 and a challenge to UK parties to match that ambition, investing the tax revenues from oil and gas in low carbon energy, transport, infrastructure and jobs, could form a major part of the transition to a zero carbon society – as we move away from reliance on oil and gas.

The Office for Budget Responsibility projects that over the next five years oil and gas revenues will be worth £8.5 billion – all of which should be ring fenced to support long term investments in tackling the climate crisis.

The SNP have argued that at least £1 billion of the fund should be set aside to support a just transition for areas like the North-east where the oil and gas industry is a major employer.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“We must do everything in our power to tackle the climate crisis and Scotland has set the most ambitious legal targets in the world.

“But we also have to ensure that areas like the North-east of Scotland, where the economy has been built on the oil and gas industry, are supported to make the transition to new low or no carbon industries.

“The North-east is already playing a major part in Scotland’s renewables revolution, by ring-fencing the current tax revenues from oil and gas in a Net-Zero Fund and investing in a just transition we can deliver real benefits to these communities and to our environment.

“The SNP has long argued that revenues from oil and gas should be invested for the long term, rather than fund day to day spending. Westminster failed to set up an oil fund, where Norway’s is now worth $1 trillion and is investing hugely in the low carbon economy. We should seize the opportunity to ensure we do not waste future revenues in the same way.

“We need to take urgent action to diversify our transport and energy sources, and to speed that up, tax revenues from oil and gas should be invested directly in the transition.”

8 November 2019

Parliamentary Recognition for Peterhead Director's Scottish BAFTA

Peterhead film director Jon S Baird has had his achievement winning a BAFTA Scotland award recognised in the Scottish Parliament.

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has tabled a Motion congratulating the director on the Director-Fiction award he won at the Scottish BAFTAs earlier this week.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I was delighted to see Jon had been awarded a Scottish BAFTA for his film ‘Stan and Ollie’, which has been a tremendous success, receiving very positive reviews and was highly-praised by critics.

“Jon himself has been great at encouraging young people into the creative industries, providing advice to students at Peterhead Academy. With a cinema soon to open in Peterhead, this award really has special significance for the town.

“With Jon’s local connections, his support of the academy, and also the sterling work done by the volunteer group at Peterhead Community Centre in bringing a cinema experience to the town on a regular basis, I’m certain the new cinema will be a success and assist in the ongoing regeneration of the town centre.”

6 November 2019

MSP Welcomes New Action Plan to Boost Banffshire and Buchan Coast

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s new action plan to kick-start developments in rural areas.

The need for planning permission could be removed for certain types of rural developments to help tackle depopulation and support the North-east economy.

The changes are being considered as part of a new action plan to implement a radical shake-up of planning laws.

Under this review, small scale developments, such as the conversion of agricultural buildings to deliver more homes in Banffshire and Buchan Coast, could automatically be given the go-ahead.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I welcome this new action plan and think these proposed changes would be transformational for Banffshire and Buchan Coast.

“A top priority for me has always been to support and boost the local economy and help local families get the homes that they need- these new proposals seek to do exactly that.

“Locally there is still so much untapped potential and this action plan aims to help grow Scotland’s rural areas.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting Scotland’s farmers, promoting sustainable growth and safeguarding the long term prosperity of Scotland’s rural communities.”

4 November 2019

MSPs Welcome £4.5 Million Boost to North-East Rail

North-east MSPs have welcomed an extra £4.5m investment from Network Rail to boost performance in the North-east and Highlands.

The plan will see extra money spent on the Aberdeen-Inverness line targeting specific projects to help prevent infrastructure faults, or reduce the time it takes to fix faults when they do occur.

In the North-east, this December will also see the completion of the £330m Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project which will cut journey times and increase service levels. This will include an increase in services that call at Inverurie each weekday from 45 to 76, with a similar improvement on Saturdays.

Network Rail will also deliver up to three trains per hour from Aberdeen-Inverness and two additional morning peak trains into Aberdeen. An additional evening peak train out of Aberdeen will also be added, along with an improved cross-city service, with 27 trains per day between Inverurie, Dyce, Stonehaven and Montrose. A direct morning peak service from Montrose to Dyce and Inverurie will also be part of the improvements.

Gillian Martin MSP said:

“Access to greener forms of transport are an important step to tackling the climate crisis- and this new investment can make a real difference.

“Having spent some time campaigning for investments in North-east rail services this a welcome improvement to the current services.

“However I very much wish to see even more being invested in our rail infrastructure and will continue to call for the re-opening of the Dyce- Ellon line.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This additional investment in rail will bring a vast improvement to rail in the North-east which I regularly use along with many other constituents.

“Cutting journey times and increasing service levels are a top priority for customers and so I applaud Network Rail for the steps they have taken to address these issues.

“Rail improvements in the North-east are invaluable and I am particularly pleased the investment will mean more trains available for commuters and at weekends.”

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