Planning for a greener and economically sustainable Scotland

The Just Transition Commission met this week at the Coalfields Training and Enterprise Hub to examine how Scottish climate change ambitions can be met in a way that does not leave workers and communities behind.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT), headquartered in Scotland at the Hub in Kincardine, hosted the event and was among the groups to share their views on the best way forward. The focus of the meeting was on power generation and distribution.

Scotland’s Just Transition Commission is about bringing social, climate and economic goals together as Scotland’s economy changes. The Commission has been set-up to advise Scottish Minsters on how to apply Just Transition principles to Scotland. The principles cover:

  • Planning, investing and implementing a transition to environmentally and socially sustainable jobs, sectors and economies, building on Scotland’s economic and workforce strengths and potential
  • Creating opportunities to develop resource efficient and sustainable economic approaches that help address inequality and poverty
  • Designing and delivering low carbon investment and infrastructure to create decent, fair and high value work that does not negatively impact the current workforce and economy.

The Commission met in Kincardine to examine the impact of the closure of Longannet Power on the town and surrounding areas as part of its look at lessons that can be learned from previous economic transitions, such as the decline of coal mining in Scotland. 

The session in Kincardine also looked forward to opportunities and challenges for the power sector in the coming years. The information gathered will feed into a report that is expected to be complete by early 2021,   Along with CRT, Fife Council, Scottish Power, Scottish Renewables and trade union representatives took part in the session in Kincardine.

Since its launch in 1999, CRT, funded by the Scottish Government, has invested more than £20 million in supporting local initiatives to improve health and employment prospects for residents of coalfield areas. Its focus is on community-based projects and job creation schemes in Scotland’s hardest hit areas.

It is also part of the Longannet Task Force set up following the closure of the power station to work with local residents, businesses and other partners to address the issues communities are facing across the area.

Pauline Douglas, head of operations – Scotland, Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “We are pleased to be playing a role in helping Scotland cut greenhouse gas emissions in a way that doesn’t leave workers and communities behind. The meeting was an excellent opportunity to share our views on how Scotland can be a greener and  fairer country, with a sustainable economy that benefits areas such as Kincardine and to highlight local issues. As such, we were delighted to host the Just Transition Commission at our headquarters, the Kincardine Training and Enterprise Hub.”

Professor Jim Skea, Chair of the Just Transition Commission, said: “Our Commission is tasked with providing practical advice on how Scotland's transition to a carbon neutral future can continue in way that is fair for all. 

“We are keen to engage with all those who might be affected by, and contribute to, these changes to our economy.  We were delighted to be hosted by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and our meeting in Kincardine brought together a range of voices that will help the Commission consider what can be learned from past transitions.”

Image shows: Participants at the meeting on 10 April 2019 outside the Coalfields Training and Enterprise Hub.