A couple of newspaper reports caught my eye this morning regarding goings-on in Scotland. The firsti was in the Scottish edition of the Daily Telegraph:
Nicola Sturgeon ‘better off moving out of government HQ’ than making it go green – Report reveals that her policy of replacing gas boilers at St Andrew’s House with eco-friendly ones would not provide value for money
In a delicious irony, making a mockery of the Scottish government’s “green” plans, it turns out (according to the Daily Telegraph) that St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, currently heated by gas central heating, cannot efficiently be converted to a low emissions system of the type that the Scottish government demands be put in place by home owners and in offices by 2030. Instead, the government has been advised to consider selling the property and moving out, given the difficulties of justifying a spend of almost £5.8 million for the conversion.
The Telegraph article is based on a report commissioned by the Scottish government and obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request. That report apparently says that “direct electrical heating will incur hugely disproportionate running costs” compared to gas, thanks to the building’s size.
This all begs the question, of course, of who would be rich enough (or stupid enough) to buy St Andrew’s House, should the Scottish government take on board the advice, and put the building up for sale. Presumably any purchaser would have to incur the “disproportionate running costs” from no later than 2030.
Further, the article reminds us that:
More than a million homes must be converted to “zero emissions heat” by the end of the decade to meet the country’s greenhouse gas targets, under the Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings strategy.
Legislation is to be introduced requiring the “installation of zero or very near zero emissions heating systems”, with the new standard to be phased in for off-gas grid areas from 2025 and on-gas grid areas from 2030.
All buildings are to be converted to “zero emissions” by 2045 at a total cost of £33 billion. However, the SNP-Green coalition has so far announced only £1.8 billion of support, raising fears that homeowners and businesses will have to meet the vast bulk of the cost.
Good luck with that.
SNP minister’s A9 upgrade visit kept quiet during ‘climate week’
The second articleii appeared in The Courier, under the above headline. Again, this story appears as a result of a FOI request. SNP ministers are not normally known to be shrinking violets when it comes to headlines and limelight, but when the road contractors responsible for major upgrade works on one of Scotland’s main north-south road links sought some publicity on completion of the project, for once they found the SNP government less than co-operative. And why should that be? Because it conflicted with all the “green” publicity they were busily drumming up around COP 26.
According to the Courier:
Documents released under freedom of information laws reveal officials feared “negative comment” and a perception of “conflicting priorities” if they publicised the event. ..
…A series of events were planned by contractors in September to underline the community benefits from the completion and opening of the £96 million upgrade of the A9 section between the Inveralmond roundabout in Perth and the Pass of Birnam.
Transport Minister Graeme Dey was invited to attend, but memos show officials were concerned about the timing, and said the press should be kept away.
In a briefing prepared for the minister, they said: “We are aware that the Scottish Government Climate Week 2021 is being held 13-19 September and there are plans for the Cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport to deliver a parliamentary update during the same week that sets out the scale of the challenge and an indicative pathway to reducing transport emissions by 75% to 2030.
“We recommend therefore that the event is undertaken as a closed call to minimise the risk of attracting negative comment given the potential perception of conflicting priorities between promoting the benefits of a new road project in the same week as the focus on sustainability/climate change.”
The note added: “The footage/images captured during the event will be used for a subsequent press release and social media updates to promote the success of the community benefits delivered by the project which will be released at an appropriate time following the visit.”
This all strikes me as rather Machiavellian and sinister. The press are to be kept away, because the timing is bad. But when the timing is better, it is to be milked for all it’s worth. And who is making this call? Supposedly non-political civil servants.
Homeless charity feeds 55,000 this year in Glasgow as fuel poverty brings more hungry kids to service
Meanwhile, it was reportediii (under the above headline) just three days ago that:
A homeless charity has handed 55,000 hot meals to the needy in Scotland’s biggest city in the last year…
…bitter temperatures and rising energy bills have also brought more children to the service in recent months, with a spike in parents struggling with fuel poverty…
…“Right now we have lots of children coming with their families and we’re seeing parents who are choosing whether to heat their house or feed their kids…
In some respects, of course, England is no better, but the Scottish government for some time has seemed hell-bent on pursuing a “green” agenda that is anything but, and which is having a disastrous impact on so many aspects of life in Scotland. Whatever madness English politicians and climate zealots seek to introduce, Scotland, it seems, must always trump them, running harder and faster to leap off the cliff. And with a new SNP/Green coalition, things can only get worse, I’m sure.
RIP Scotland. It was nice knowing you.