Scots express dissatisfaction with Government climate policies, new survey reveals

22/05/2024
Fiona Hodgson, CEO of SNIPEF

A NEW ICM survey on behalf of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) reveals significant dissatisfaction among the Scottish public regarding recent delays, cancellations, and scaling back of climate change targets and policies by Holyrood and Westminster governments.

Only 12% of Scots reported feeling satisfied with the current pace of climate action, highlighting a notable public discontent in Scotland compared to the overall UK sentiment. Meanwhile, 45% of Scots expressed dissatisfaction with the current climate policies, with 24% being very unsatisfied and 21% unsatisfied.

Fiona Hodgson, Chief Executive of SNIPEF, commented on the survey findings:

“These results should be a wake-up call to both the Holyrood and Westminster governments. The significant level of dissatisfaction among the Scottish public reflects a growing concern about our commitment to addressing climate change. The recent delays and rollbacks in climate policies are not only disappointing but also undermine public trust and the future of our environmental sustainability.”

In Scotland, political turmoil has further complicated climate policy. The recent resignation of First Minister Humza Yousaf, following the collapse of the coalition with the Scottish Greens, underscores the instability. Yousaf’s decision to abandon key climate targets, such as reducing emissions by 75% by 2030, was a significant factor in the coalition’s breakdown, leading to his resignation and the appointment of John Swinney as the new First Minister.

“These policy reversals and delays are creating uncertainty and hindering progress towards our climate goals,” Hodgson added. “It is now essential that the Holyrood government work with industry to create realistic targets and take decisive action to restore public confidence and ensure a sustainable future. The Scottish public’s dissatisfaction is clear, and it is imperative that we address these concerns through concrete and consistent policy measures.”

The UK government has also recently made several U-turns on climate and emissions policy, some of which have been critical components to meeting our legally binding emissions targets. These policy changes, coupled with rumours of further delays and cuts, could jeopardise the UK’s ability to meet its international commitments under the Paris Agreement and its own net-zero targets.

Additionally, the survey asked Scots whether they would support a further increase in government incentives for renewable energy installations in residences, such as solar panels or heat pumps, to help the nation meet its climate target obligations. The results show strong support, with 61% in favour, 14% opposed, and 26% unsure.

“The strong support for increased government incentives for renewable energy installations highlights the public’s willingness to embrace solutions that contribute to our climate goals,” said Hodgson. “It is imperative that the government listens to these voices and implements policies that facilitate the transition to sustainable energy.”

Impact on the Plumbing and Heating Profession

The changing targets and policy uncertainty have also profoundly impacted the Scottish plumbing and heating profession. Industry professionals are expected to install new heating technologies like heat pumps, but with the government’s shifting goals, many in the industry feel inhibited from investing in the necessary training, technology, and workforce development.

“The plumbing and heating profession is crucial to achieving our climate targets, but the lack of consistent policy direction makes it challenging for businesses to commit to long-term investments,” Hodgson explained. “Our members are ready and willing to support the transition to renewable energy, but they need assurance that the government will maintain a steady course. Without this stability, it is difficult to justify the significant investments required in training and technology.”

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