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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008, 14:00 GMT
Minister under fire on renewables
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Scotland falls behind Europe for renewable energy use
The Scottish Government has come under pressure to increase its funding and planning support for renewable energy.

At a conference in Edinburgh, organised by the renewables industry, ministers were told that the journey to a low carbon economy had barely begun.

Chairman of Scottish Renewables Alistair Jamieson said more needed to be done to reduce CO2 emissions.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said an extra 13.5m of funding had been allocated to community projects.

'Packing its suitcase'

Mr Jamieson insisted Scotland was still "packing its suitcase for the journey to a low or zero carbon economy".

Only 6% of the country's energy comes from renewables, compared to an average of 7% in Europe.

However, Mr Swinney said the Scottish Government was providing strong leadership with a target of cutting Scotland's carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

He said the SNP administration had increased support for micro-generation and community renewables by 13.5m this year and that for the first time small businesses would be able to get loans for renewable generation projects.

The money is three times more than the previous administration was providing, but falls short of an SNP manifesto pledge that it would be four times more.

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