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Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 12:18 GMT
Scotland 'missing out' on green jobs
Bulldozer on landfill site
Scotland is bottom of the European recycling league
Thousands of jobs could be created by recycling Scotland's waste, according to the leader of the Scottish Green Party.

MSP Robin Harper made the claim during the party's only debating time in the Scottish Parliament this year in which he urged ministers to adopt a different approach on environmental issues.

Scotland is at the bottom of the European league for recycling.

Robin Harper
Robin Harper: "Lack of direction"
A new report also warns that the situation may not improve because some local authorities are considering big new incinerators.

The Scottish Executive is in the process of creating a national waste strategy.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Harper accused ministers of dragging their heels and said they were failing to "set the conditions to create green jobs".

He believes it is time for the government to "encourage employment that enhances and protects our environment" rather than destroys it.

The Scottish Greens say they are particularly concerned that the potential for more Scottish jobs in waste recycling is not being exploited.

Recycling target

Mr Harper said: "The executive seems as content to throw away this opportunity to create jobs as it is to see Scotland continue to be a throw-away society.

"Lack of direction from the executive has produced a scandalous situation where two-and-a-half years from setting up of the Scottish Parliament we still do not have a fully developed national waste strategy and no national target for recycling.

"They could miss out on a huge opportunity to create at least 4,500 sustainable jobs in recycling."

Government is failing to adequately set the conditions to create green jobs

Green MSP Ross Harper
Mr Harper said that a lack of leadership from the executive had led to local authorities "floundering in a welter of contradictory and confusing options" while they should be forging ahead with definite plans on recycling.

He argued that the executive must start to "transform the economy" now if it is to effectively tackle concerns posed by climate change, toxic pollution and dwindling natural resources.

"It must encourage employment that enhances and protects our environment rather than destroying it.

"Government is failing to adequately set the conditions to create green jobs," he said.

Unhealthy option

Meanwhile, a Friends of the Earth report says that a number of large new incinerators are being considered by councils.

It warns that this is an unhealthy option which could condemn Scotland to being Europe's top waster forever.

One of the authorities, Aberdeen City Council, says it is looking at an incinerator which would also generate electricity.

The council says that not everything can be recycled, although it will do its best.

See also:

16 Jul 01 | Scotland
New waste law sparks concern
13 Oct 00 | Scotland
Villagers feel 'dumped on' by Murray
28 Aug 00 | Scotland
Villagers dig in over waste store
20 Mar 00 | Scotland
Energy-conscious islanders lead way
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