Wednesday, 11th April 2012
Scotland’s off-shore energy ‘gold rush’ will destroy vital coastal ecosystems, says Euro MP
Scotland’s natural marine carbon sinks are being put at risk by badly planned renewable energy projects. This is the core message that will be presented tomorrow (Thursday 12 April) to key EU and Scottish Government stakeholders at a meeting in the European Parliament, Brussels.
The meeting, to be arranged and chaired by Scottish Conservative Euro MP Struan Stevenson, will be attended by representatives of the European Commission, The Scottish Government, Marine Scotland and the European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD). Attendees will also include representatives of organisations concerned by the effects of off-shore wind farm development in UK and Scottish coastal waters, including Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS), No Tiree Array (NTA) and the Holderness Coast Fishing Industry Group.
Speaking from Brussels ahead of the meeting, Struan Stevenson said:
“It is important that policy-makers understand and acknowledge the facts and key concerns about the impact of off-shore renewables development on our most important natural coastal resources.
“Marine vegetated habitats, in particular mangrove swamps, salt marshes and seagrasses form the earth’s so-called ‘blue carbon’ sinks and store up to the equivalent of half of the emissions from the entire global transport sector every year. Moreover, seagrass meadows provide an important habitat for certain types of shellfish and finfish. They help maintain biodiversity, water quality and prevent coastal erosion. Their presence and abundance is therefore a good measure of the environmental quality of the entire coastal zone.
“Around one third of the planet’s blue carbon sinks have been lost already, much of it in the past two decades. It is therefore vital that we begin to understand Scotland’s key role in this process and take steps to protect what’s left. Our long coastline is home to one fifth of Europe’s seagrass meadows. Yet the remainder is now threatened by the current renewables ‘gold rush’ as developers seek to construct more and more large-scale offshore windfarms.
“Seagrasses are largely unrecognised because they grow under the water. That needs to change. We must maintain and restore coastal carbon storage ecosystems in Scotland rather than allow their wanton destruction. The headlong rush for costly, unreliable and intermittent renewables is totally counterproductive and is doing more harm than good. We need to re-think our energy strategy and concentrate on systems that have a positive rather than a negative impact on climate change.”
Note to editors
1. Struan Stevenson is a Conservative Euro MP for Scotland and President of the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development – The largest intergroup in the European Parliament with more than 200 MEP members.
2. For further information, please contact:
Tel: 0131 554 1146
Mob: 07766 166 637
Wednesday 11 April 2012