Sturgeon urged to tackle landfill waste rather than cutting aviation tax

Nicola Sturgeon has been challenged to abandon plans to cut a flight tax and instead “tackle a million tonnes of waste” from Scotland that could be dumped in England.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called on the First Minister to stop “the planned £250 million tax break” from a devolved air departure tax (ADT).

Mr Rennie referenced the visit of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to the UK to lobby politicians for environmental action and asked the First Minister: “Would Greta be impressed?”

Extinction Rebellion protests
Extinction Rebellion protests

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Rennie said that, at exactly the same time Westminster’s SNP leader Ian Blackford “boasted about the SNP government’s record on tackling climate change, his government was announcing that it was intent on cutting aviation tax to increase air flights to and from Scotland”.

Following the news that rubbish from Scotland may have to be sent south of the border to meet a planned ban on household waste going to landfill, Mr Rennie added: “Inaction from this government means that £1 billion will be spent to sent Scottish waste to England.

“That’s 87,000 bin lorries sent down the M74.

“Will the First Minister ban the planned £250 million tax break for the airline industry and tackle a million tonnes of waste, or will Greta have to come back?”

In response, Ms Sturgeon defended her government’s record on climate change, citing praise from a former UN executive that the climate Bill currently going through Parliament “confirms (Scotland’s) status as a world leader”.

She added: “Whether it’s on climate change, reducing emissions or any other aspect of environmental action, this government – not by our own estimation, but by the estimation of many across the world – are leading the world and we should continue to do so.”