Scottish Conservatives have
said that, if elected, they would establish a new circular Food Producers Fund
to support food producers and rural communities.
The money for the new fund
would come from unspent money from Scotland’s existing Circular Economy
Investment Fund to reduce costs for businesses, while increasing rates of
recycling and energy recovery and maximising the value of waste streams.
Projects eligible for funding would include on-farm anaerobic digestion, waste
hubs, micro-plastic recycling facilities and infrastructure purchasing.
The Circular Economy
Investment Fund has so far allocated approximately £5 million even though the
total funding available to small and medium sized businesses is £18 million.
Maurice Golden, Scottish
Conservative shadow environment secretary said, “Our Scottish Conservative food
producers fund would give rural communities and farmers the ability to recycle
as close to home as possible. The SNP ban on plastic incineration will leave
farmers, particularly those in rural communities, with very few viable options
for recycling. The Scottish Conservative plan would remove the barriers to
recycling that many farmers and rural communities face.”
Defra secretary Michael Gove has said he wants to set up a new watchdog for environmental protection after Brexit.
The announcement, which was made on television and elaborated in an opinion piece on Monday by Mr Gove, has surprised many, particularly as his appointment was criticised by environmental campaigners who worried he would scrap many environmental protections.
Saying that the Common Agricultural Policy had ‘damaged our countryside’ he warned that transferring all existing European law, including environmental protections, into UK law ‘was not enough.’
“Without further action, there will be a governance gap. The environment won’t be protected as it should be from the unscrupulous, unprincipled or careless,” he said. “So we will consult on using the new freedoms we have to establish a new, world-leading body to give the environment a voice and hold the powerful to account. It will be independent of government, able to speak its mind freely.
“And it will be placed on a statutory footing, ensuring it has clear authority. Its ambition will be to champion and uphold environmental standards, always rooted in rigorous scientific evidence.”
He added that the consultation would be published in early 2018.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Michael Gove – UK Parliament official portraits 2017