SNP demands £28bn a year to hit net zero

  • Party urges more devolution to cut carbon emissions
  • Scotland has the potential to be ‘green powerhouse’ 
  • Only Westminster currently has the power to tackle climate change
  • Scotland needs more support for peatlands restoration
The SNP has demanded more devolution to help it reach net zero

The SNP has demanded more devolution to help it reach net zero.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has demanded the UK government spend £28bn a year to help the country as a whole achieve net-zero targets, including at least £500m to help Scotland transition away from North Sea oil, in its general election manifesto.

The party said it is already supporting those working in the fossil fuel sectors through its £500m North-East Transition fund and said Westminster must at least match it if the UK is going to decarbonise. 

The SNP’s environmental policies are focused on using Scotland’s natural resources to cut carbon, but they are also wide-ranging, touching upon most areas of the economy, including mining, fishing, farming, private investment, the domestic supply chain and transportation. 

It wants to turn Scotland into a “green energy powerhouse”, and its policies reflect that. However, as the SNP is only standing in Scotland, it is limited to what it can achieve with current devolution powers. 

Therefore, its main underlying policy remains independence, as that it believes is the only thing that can help Scotland decarbonise and realise its renewable energy potential. 

In that case, its manifesto is taken up by what its MPs will push the UK government to do, as opposed to what it will be able to do itself.

SNP’s plans at a glance

  • Urge the UK government to spend at least £500m to transition away from North Sea oil, as part of a £28bn plan
  • Deliver a sustainable future for the oil refinery at Grangemouth
  • Promote Scotland’s hydrogen exports
  • Ban new nuclear power plants
  • Promote an affordable move to carbon-free train travel
  • Support vulnerable people in fuel poverty with a single, flexible fuel scheme

More devolution, and £28bn a year

The SNP wants to push for more devolution to achieve its eco-targets, as the UK government is currently the ultimate decision maker in all major spending and environmental projects. 

While it is still campaigning long term for independence, it says London needs to do more to support the green economy right now. 

To that end, it has called on Westminster to commit £28 billion annually in the green economy to deliver what the SNP calls “a step change in public and private investment in net zero and major investment in the domestic supply chain”.

As part of this investment, the UK government should seek an equity stake in future energy projects. The return on investment from these projects could be used to “directly benefit the Scottish people by protecting jobs and lowering energy bills”.

Crucially, it also wants Westminster to spend £500 million to support the transition away from North Sea oil, matching what it has said it has committed. 

However, the SNP has not given clarity over where the people currently employed in that sector would work, or what type of work they would do. 

The UK government claims there are as many as 200,000 people employed in North Sea oil and gas, although this is disputed by environmental MPs and groups who say it could be less than 30,000.

It could be assumed these workers would be integrated into renewable energy, but this isn’t entirely clear as the SNP has not explicitly committed to another energy source, such as solar or wind. 

The SNP share cynicism of North Sea oil and gas with the Labour Party, who have also said they will scale down the sector. This is in stark contrast to the Conservative Party, which wants to continue with it. 

Unsurprisingly, considering its environmental goals, the SNP wants Westminster to ban new coal licences so that its net zero targets are not undermined.  

“The SNP believe the best pathway to net zero and secure, affordable and clean energy is through significant growth in renewables, storage, hydrogen and carbon capture,” it said. 

“Scotland is well placed to supply significant amounts of hydrogen to continental Europe.

“SNP MPs will press for the UK Government to secure progress with direct interconnection between Scotland and the continent, and regulatory agreement to unlock Scotland’s renewable potential.”


As well as energy, the SNP also wants to make transportation a key part of its environmental strategy. It claims to have already spent £11bn on rail infrastructure and nationalised the railways. 

However, as it is with its energy strategy, the SNP insists that it is held back by the UK government and claims its ambition is “constrained by resources and powers controlled by Westminster”.

In the immediate term, the SNP wants Westminster to transfer full powers of track and train to Scotland. It also wants the UK government to “promote a fair and affordable transition to zero-emission transport fuels” by banning the import and sale of non zero-emission buses. 

Additionally, it has called on the UK government to support the production and use of sustainable bridging fuels in the maritime and aviation sectors, such as liquified natural gas (LNG). 

Electric vehicles (EVs) are also a part of the SNP’s environmental strategy, and it wants more financial incentives to encourage people to buy them. 

Specifically, it wants Westminster to establish a new ‘Low Income EV Car Leasing Fund’ to the tune of at least £500m, which it said will enable 50,000 EV leases a year to benefit low income families. 

Devolution to help the natural world

The SNP believes it is currently not receiving enough funding to maximise the potential of its natural space. 

Scotland has over two-thirds of the UK’s peatland – water-logged conditions that slows plant decomposition and naturally stores carbon and cools the surrounding temperature, therefore supporting biodiversity and wildlife. 

It also plants 60% of the UK’s trees, but the SNP claims that Scotland receives no help from Westminster for either peatland or tree restoration. 

It believes that only through more funding and giving the nations of the UK more control over their spending will the natural environment be sufficiently restored. 

Specifically, it wants Westminster to “ensure fair funding flows to the devolved nations” to enable the whole of the UK to be net zero by 2050.

Additionally, for the whole of the UK to reach net zero, each country needs to agree and coordinate their policies, according to the SNP. 

To that end, the party has called for Westminster to establish a ‘Four Nations Climate Response Group’ to stop the UK government backtracking on its environmental goals.  

The SNP’s fundamental goal is similar to the rest of the major political parties, as all are hoping to achieve more energy independence, either for the whole of the UK or for the nation they are responsible for. 

Plaid Cymru, for instance, believe that Wales’ best chance of achieving net zero is for it to have autonomy over its energy. 

Written by:
Max joined The Eco Experts as content manager in February 2024. He has written about sustainability issues across numerous industries, including maritime, supply chain, finance, mining and retail. He has also written for  City AM, The Morning Star and the Daily Express.
Reviewed by:
Roland is Editor of The Eco Experts. He is passionate about solar power, reducing plastic waste and technology that can help humanity overcome some of its greatest challenges.
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