The SNP-Greens Government have been accused of delaying issuing “bad news” on two meaningful climate policies until after COP26 to “spare the blushes” of ministers.
The Scottish Government, which has refused to clarify if the place return scheme will begin as intended next July – and will now bundle a statement with an update on the controversial review of waste incineration on Wednesday, November 17 – after the global climate conference finishes.
Greens minister Lorna Slater was criticised after failing to take questions from MSPs when announcing that a moratorium on burning waste will not be brought forward until a review has been carried out.
Now, Conservative MSP Maurice has accused the SNP-Greens Government of “hiding from parliamentary scrutiny”.
Speaking in Holyrood, Mr Golden said: “Members will have noted the Government’s intention to provide a statement on incineration and the place return, but not until after COP26.
READ MORE: Greens minister Lorna Slater unable to say if place return scheme will start on time
“Given the Government has all the evidence now then why the delay? We can only assume it’s because they are going to deliver bad news – news that could embarrass them in front of the world at COP26.
“And why are the two equally important ecosystem issues being bundled into one statement? That can only average less scrutiny. This is to spare the blushes of the SNP- Green coalition.”
Mr Golden stressed that the issue of waste incineration, with the without of action angering opposition MSPs and climate activists, “could have been dealt with two years ago”, adding “that’s when Zero Waste Scotland forecasted the SNP were headed for more than a million tonnes of incineration overcapacity”.
He additional: “The Greens already promised a ban on new incinerators in their manifesto. But now they announce a nonsensical review meaning that more incinerators can be built which will make Scotland the ashtray of Europe.
READ MORE: Incineration fears: Scotland could become ‘waste dump of Europe’
“And there’s been very little on the place return scheme promised for July 1 next year – despite working on it for a decade. My letter to the minister is nevertheless unanswered after a month.
“This is a Government hiding from Parliamentary scrutiny.
“It’s time the SNP-Greens took their responsibilities seriously and allow Parliament to question them on their shambolic record on tackling climate change.”
But George Adam, SNP Minister for Parliamentary Business, accused the Conservatives of raising unnecessary worries and spreading conspiracy theories.
He said: “There is no conspiracy in this whole scenario – there is no lone shooter on the Grassy Knowle. It is affectively just a case of parliamentary business.
“On this issue, it’s purely course of action.”
READ MORE: Scottish Greens under fire for waste incineration u-turn ’embarrassment’
Mr Adam additional that the Conservatives “requested that we lessen the pressure and the intensity of parliamentary business for the duration of COP26”, but Tory chief whip Stephen Kerr later stressed the move had doing to do with less scrutiny of the Scottish Government.
Mr Adam said that waiting until the COP26 summit has concluded “gives the Conservatives the opportunity to get more publicity” about the issues.
He additional: “Currently, the whole world is, quite rightly, looking at Glasgow for COP26.
“This is me being reasonable, this is me trying to help colleagues to make sure the flow of parliamentary business can go as easily as possible.
“It’s purely for the time of action and not for the conspiracies the Conservatives believe.”
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