White Paper: Environment, energy and resources

BBC Scotland's environment correspondent David Miller looks at what the Scottish government's White Paper on independence would mean for rural Scotland, the environment and energy.

Scotland's natural resources can bring prosperity and ensure the global challenges of the 21st century are met, including climate change, food supply and energy security, says the White Paper.

An SNP government in an independent Scotland would maximise production from oil and gas fields off its shores. "Insufficient weight" is given to the needs of rural Scotland by the Westminster government, says the paper.

The main points include:

  • The Scottish Parliament would have the opportunity to enshrine protection of the environment in a written constitution, ensuring its protection.
  • Scotland would have the platform to "champion action on climate change at the global level".
  • The needs of rural Scotland would be properly prioritised in relation to telecommunications, postal services, fuel and energy policy.
  • A single GB-wide market for electricity and gas would continue, with the current trading arrangements, provided they met Scottish requirements for energy security.
  • Principles of "stability and certainty" would "guarantee new investment" in energy.
  • Scottish Energy Fund to be established to provide investment for future generations and "to smooth receipts from oil revenues".
  • There are no plans to increase the overall tax burden on the oil industry and no changes would be made to the fiscal regime without consultation.
  • Direct representation in Europe would allow an independent Scotland a "full voice in negotiations affecting key Scottish sectors", including agriculture and fisheries.
  • An independent Scottish government would ensure the country "does not lose out" in future Common Agricultural Policy negotiations.
  • And fishing quotas would be retained in Scotland as a "national asset for the benefit of future generations".