Next first minister must 'prioritise move away from oil and gas'

New poll revealed a significant majority of SNP voters support a move away from fossil fuels as 'quickly as possible.'

Next first minister must prioritise move away from oil and gas, campaigners say

Scotland’s next first minister must prioritise the transition away from fossil fuels, climate campaigners have said after a poll revealed a significant majority of SNP voters back a move away from oil and gas.

A YouGov poll of 1,000 SNP voters showed just 4% thought the UK should continue to meet its energy demand primarily with oil and gas for “as long as necessary”.

Meanwhile, 70% wanted a move away from fossil fuels as “quickly as possible” by ramping up efforts to improve energy efficiency and developing more renewable energy.

Some 45% support a ban on new oil and gas exploration, compared to 39% against the ban and 16% who did not know.

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth Scotland said the poll results show a clear demand for Nicola Sturgeon’s successor to take a stand on the transition towards renewable energy.

The poll also showed 86% of SNP voters thought more support was needed to help oil and gas workers move into greener jobs while 89% were supportive of the creation of a publicly-owned energy company.

Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “As the campaign to be the next first minister hots up, any credible candidate must put the need for a fair and fast transition away from fossil fuels at the heart of their vision for Scotland’s future.

“Backsliding on fossil fuels or supporting UK Government plans to drill for more oil would only exacerbate the climate crisis.

“Rapidly bringing down emissions while protecting affected communities and workers through this transition will be one of the defining challenges of the coming decade.

“This transformation to a climate-safe future must prioritise meeting the needs of ordinary people rather than clinging on to an outdated energy system that only benefits profiteering oil companies.”

Ms Church said outgoing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had started to “steer the SNP away from its long-standing allegiance” to fossil fuels.

She added: “Her successor must continue in this direction and swiftly rule out support for any new fossil fuels and put a plan in place to end reliance on oil and gas within this decade.”

Ms Sturgeon has previously said the Scottish Government would end its support for drilling of oil and gas, and has opposed Westminster plans for the Cambo oil field in the North Sea.

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