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Scotland Energy Policy

Thursday, October 29, 2015

GMB Scotland Agree With Civil Engineers Call For Evidence Led Debate On Scottish Energy Policy

Having access to gas is crucial to tackle fuel poverty because gas is four  times cheaper than electricity says GMB Scotland.

GMB Scotland, the union for energy work, on the call by the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland Committee for an expert-led debate on Scotland’s energy policy. See notes to editors for copy of the press release dated 29th October.

Gary Smith, Acting Secretary GMB Scotland, said " We do need a sober honest debate.

We have high levels of fuel poverty in Scotland. Having access to gas is crucial to tackle fuel poverty because gas is 4 times cheaper than electricity. If anyone disputes the case for gas then they should put in their manifesto that they want people to turn off their gas boiler and replace it with electricity at the cost of thousands and then watch the bill to heat t their homes go up four fold.

 We need to be honest, that we have been fracking in the north sea for decades. It hasn't resulted in earthquakes and rigs falling into the sea.

The fact is too we are going to be a using chemicals from fracked gas. They will be imported into Scotland and those chemicals are essential to meeting the needs of everyday modern life, from clothing to food. We also need to face up to our environmental and moral responsibilities. Importing gas across continents and oceans, gas that has been bought from dodgy regimes in the Middle East and Russia is not morally right or good for the environment. We protested about Scotland playing Qatar because of the treatment of workers on the World Cup stadiums yet we are happy to buy gas from the same regime. Do we really believe labourers in the energy sector in Qatar have union rights or enjoy high levels of Health and Safety?

There has been a lack of honesty about energy from Scottish politicians of all parties. We need energy to heat our homes and to power industry. It is about the bitter irony that whilst there has been a frenzied debate about fracking we are losing hundreds of jobs in the steel sector due to high energy prices.

GMB Scotland supports a sensible sober debate about energy, environment, safety and jobs. A debate that is rooted in the real world. "


Contact: Gary Smith on 07710 618909, Jim Moohan 07885 868405 or GMB press office 07921 289 880

Notes to editors

Copy of press release from

Thursday 29th October 2015


Institution says there is ‘mixed understanding of technology and risk’ and calls for debate based on evidence, not emotion

The Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland, which has 8,000 members and is part of a global organisation providing expertise on infrastructure, will call for an expert-led debate on Scotland’s energy policy as part of a major new report.

The Scottish Infrastructure Scorecard, which is released once every Parliamentary term, analyses the Scottish Government’s energy policy as one of five major areas of infrastructure and is compiled using evidence from expert members and stakeholders.

The energy section of the report, to be released in early November, will:

Highlight Scotland’s energy ‘quadrilemma’; the need to simultaneously balance reducing carbon, minimising consumer cost, ensuring security of supply and taking into the account the social acceptability of different types of energy source

Whilst recognising that much of energy policy is reserved to Westminster, call for the Scottish Government to articulate a clear vision of how it wishes the gap caused by the retiring of over half of Scotland’s electricity generating capacity over the next decade to be filled

Call for the Scottish Government to ensure that the debate on the pros and cons of wind, nuclear and onshore gas and their place in Scotland’s future energy mix is informed by independent, scientific, expert advice

Professor Gary Pender, Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland Committee, said:

“Scotland will transition from being a net exporter to being a net importer of electricity if the closures of Longannet, Hunterston and Torness are not replaced by new development. We will be calling for a national debate on how we, as a country, deal with this to ensure that we have a resilient supply with sufficient capacity for the long term.

“Energy policy is hugely politically controversial, with wind power, nuclear power and onshore gas extraction provoking particularly emotional and politically motivated responses. We need to move beyond this at times irrational and ill-informed discourse about all these forms of energy generation, and conduct a thorough, expert-informed assessment of the right approach for Scotland.

“Energy is the part of Scotland’s infrastructure network which concerns us most, and we encourage the Scottish Government, working with the UK Government, to provide a clearly articulated vision for the future. Decisions must be made on evidence and resilience, not on emotion and politics.”



1. The Institution of Civil Engineers is a global membership organisation which qualifies civil engineers, exchanges knowledge and best practice, and provides expert advice to government. ICE is a leading source of professional expertise in transport, water supply and treatment, flood management, waste and energy. Our Constitution binds us to act in the public interest, and our 8,000 Scottish members design, build and maintain our nation’s infrastructure. ICE Scotland is a registered charity.

2. The Infrastructure Scorecard will provide a performance assessment grade of the Scottish Government in the areas of energy, transport, water/wastewater, flood management and waste

It will be released in full on 4th November 2015

3. For more information contact Message Matters: Andy Maciver (07855 261 244) or Peter Duncan (07740 469 949)

4. You can see an infographic highlighting Scotland's energy quadrilemma on the website.






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