The new SNP-Green deal is breaking new ground for Scottish politics. It has been cautiously welcomed from some environmental quarters, but does it promise anything new for the sustainability of our seas, and can it deliver?
In the first deal of its kind in Scottish and UK politics, the SNP and the Scottish Green Party have announced a formal power-sharing arrangement. The deal was months in the making and it was reported that marine and fisheries issues were some of the thorny sticking points that held up the cooperation deal negotiations as the parties struggled to reconcile their differences.
The tensions were arguably inevitable: the SNP’s manifesto position promised measures to put “marine ‘assets” at the heart of the economy “doubling turnover, GVA and international trade in a decade”, with little focus on environmental safeguards. And this has likely been in direct conflict with Scottish Green party commitments to ensure sustainability for the longer-term by setting “mandatory catch limits” and urgently reducing the impact of damaging industries by “excluding dredging and trawling from much of our inshore waters… with the default being within 3 miles of Scotland’s shore.” The text of the deal sets out what they agree to collaborate on within specific areas, and under the heading ‘marine environment’ promises a “step change in marine protection”, but what does this actually mean? And does it do so? [Read more…]