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Charity welcomes Scottish Government carbon tax pledge

By Gregor White

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Incentives are already in place for peat landscapes like the Flow Country but some groups want more protection for Scotland's landscapes.
Incentives are already in place for peat landscapes like the Flow Country but some groups want more protection for Scotland's landscapes.

The John Muir Trust has welcomed an announcement by Net Zero Cabinet Secretary Màiri McAllan that the Scottish Government will hold a public consultation on a carbon land tax.

The Trust, which owns and manages some of Scotland’s most famous mountain landscapes, has led a campaign to implement a carbon emissions land tax to drive urgent changes in land use to support climate targets.

The Trust’s campaign is now backed by a diverse range of over 50 community groups, trade unions, churches, charities, and businesses representing over a million people in Scotland.

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The STUC, the Scottish Community Alliance, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, the Woodland Trust Scotland, the Quakers, Oxfam Scotland, and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland are among the groups calling for the Scottish Government to agree the principle of a new Carbon Emissions Land Tax.

Thomas Widrow, campaigns manager for the John Muir Trust said: “This is a well-judged and timely initiative from the Scottish Government. There are incentives in place for peatland restoration and woodland creation, but the slow pace of change toward Net Zero shows that we urgently need sticks as well as carrots to drive rapid change in land use.

“The John Muir Trust has conducted serious research in this area with scientists, economists, tax experts, tech companies, and governmental bodies to show how this could work in practice.

“We will argue for the tax to apply to all private, public and charity landholdings over 1000 hectares, with an exemption only for community-owned land. We will also suggest that the tax focus on reducing carbon emissions using the polluters pay principle by improving the resilience and strength of Scotland’s natural environment, rather than on increasing electricity generation.”

“Last year, a YouGov poll showed that 64 per cent of voters in Scotland supported our proposal. Seventy supported the polluters pay principle.

“We now call on people across the country to join our campaign to make sure the Scottish Government delivers a Carbon Emissions Land Tax that soaks up carbon, boosts biodiversity and strengthens rural communities.”

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