How green is Scotland? Greener than the rest

The River Dee, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland - Andrew Wilson/ Scottish  Viewpoin - Scottish Viewpoint
Image: Andrew Wilson/ Scottish Viewpoint

The River Dee and its forest setting.

The Herald today as we run up to COP26:

The Herald

It’s all about choices. There’s so much you could write about and you choose, as COP26 approaches and the Conservative Government’s hopeless performance on the environment awaits global exposure, anything negative you can find on your own country.

I have no doubt we have polluters and polluted waters but I’m sure England is far worse and on the other side, energy production, Scotland is a model for the rest of the UK as Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee and former UK Environment Secretary told Holyrood in 2021.

What could our media report on if they wanted to be fair rather than scare?

First on water pollution:

A screenshot of a cell phone

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2015, I know but according to the Environment Agency reported on the BBC UK website last July (2020):

[In England] there were 56 serious pollution incidents last year [2018], rising from 52 in 2017, the agency’s annual report said. Only one of the nine major water companies in England is performing at the expected level, with most likely to miss 2020 targets, the agency added. The report follows the agency’s announcement that Southern Water is facing prosecution after it was hit with a record £126m penalty package over “shocking” failures in its sewage treatment sites.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-48934421

Meanwhile in Scotland, according to SEPA:

In 2017, for the first time in a number of years, Scottish Water was not responsible for any category 1, serious pollution incidents.

A report in Open Democracy attributes the situation in England to privatisation:

The dire state of our rivers is just one of the many, many failures of water and sewerage privatisation. It is just one example of what happens when we hand over not just time-limited contracts for delivering water and sewerage services, but the actual assets themselves – the pipes, the infrastructure – to private companies to milk for profit.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/when-we-own-it-public-ownership-water-21st-century/

The resulting customer satisfaction:

In a ComRes survey of 199 Scots, published in July 2020, we see:

  • Thinking generally about the company that provides your water and sewerage services, do you or do you not trust your water company? UK 86% Scotland 94%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Provide a reliable service? UK 90% Scotland 96%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Ensure good quality of water? UK 90% Scotland 95%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Fix water pipe leaks in public areas (e.g. in roads, not in the home)? UK 81% Scotland 93%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Take action to protect and improve the environment? UK 78% Scotland 87%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Take away wastewater and sewage and deal with it responsibly? UK 88% Scotland 93%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Provide good value for money to customers? UK 72% Scotland 88%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Pay an appropriate amount of tax? UK 78% Scotland 87%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Invest sufficient money on the water network? UK 73% Scotland 86%.

Let me think, who deserves the credit for preventing privatisation?

Second, on Green energy production:

Country% of electricity from renewables
Norway110.82
Iceland100.64
Scotland 97%
Albania
88.45
Austria75.14
Sweden71.19
Denmark65.35
Portugal53.77
Latvia53.42
Montenegro52.66
Croatia49.78
Bosnia and Herzogvina45.48
Romania41.71
Germany40.82
Finland38.07
Spain36.93
Ireland36.49
Italy34.97
UK34.77

Scotland has been catapulted to the top of the tables in Europe for countries who produce electricity from renewables – with latest available figures placing Scotland into the top three.

Scottish Government figures for 2020 show 97% of electricity in Scotland is produced from renewables.
When compared with the latest data from Eurostat for 2019, it takes Scotland into the top three of nations in Europe producing clean electricity.

In 2019, only Norway and Iceland produced more electricity from renewables than Scotland. Other nations behind Scotland in the table include Sweden, Denmark and Germany. It also puts Scotland way ahead of the UK as a whole which produces just 35% of electricity from renewables.

Full Eurostat numbers can be found here with numbers extracted below
 
Latest Scottish renewables data can be found here

And:

UK Electricity Transfers - Weegie Fifer

Government figures reveal the massive and increasing level of transfer of electricity from Scotland to England. In 2018 only, the transfer rate increased from 13 512 GWh to nearly 25 000 GWh. 1 GWh would heat 700 000 homes! This 83% increase is hidden in the above 53.8% increase total adopted.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/766380/ET_5.6.xls

Note that the ratio of transfers from Scotland to England compared with those from England to Scotland is 25 to 1!

Finally, Green Trees:

file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/FR_NFI_Condition_Scoring_Results_GB.pdf

From NFI woodland ecological condition in Great Britain: Classification Results in February 2020, we can see one more indicator of Scotland’s healthy economy which, together with others below, mean so much more than the macro-economic theory base don GDP of Prof Ronald McDonald.

So 8% of the population, 46% of the trees

Or

In 2019, 84% of all new UK woodland was planted in Scotland.

The River Dee, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland - Andrew Wilson/ Scottish  Viewpoin - Scottish Viewpoint
Image: Andrew Wilson/ Scottish Viewpoint

6 thoughts on “How green is Scotland? Greener than the rest

  1. Decades ago, the die was cast for gutter journalism in England.
    Murdoch, Black, Rothermere, Torygraph—oh how we laughed in Scotland.

    Well we aint laughing now.
    Scotsman ruined and ransacked.
    Herald a shadow.
    Record a comic-cuts.
    The BBC in Scotland now competing with Pravda for “news-management propagandist of the year” prize.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. There will be a plethora of ‘Climate’ programmes on the TV over the coming weeks but you will be hard pressed to find any that puts Scotland in its rightful place as a climate leader. Quite the reverse as we are already seeing. You can be sure anything at all negative will be given top billing so no surprises yesterday when the BBC kicked off with a visit to Norway with great emphasis on continuing Oil extraction. .. you can guess what is coming down the track shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

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