Christina McKelvie has welcomed the SNPs commitment to the creation of liveable, accessible places, with thriving local economies, where people can meet their daily needs within a 20-minute walk.
As part of the election campaign Nicola Sturgeon has announced:
- 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors this year, with an investment of £719m.
- £275m over the life of the parliament to support community-led regeneration and town centre revitalisation.
- Steps to support the development of 20-minute neighbourhoods.
- A £10m “Scotland Loves Local” fund - to encourage people to shop locally when they can, helping keep wealth within their community.
Christina McKelvie, who is currently seeking re-election as the SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse has been a strong advocate for town centre regeneration across the constituency.
In 2016 Christina joined with Angela Crawley – MP for Lanark and Hamilton East to launch the “Our Town, Your Voice” town centre consultation which received almost 2,000 responses which have helped to inform the councils work on regenerating Hamilton’s High Street.
The new SNP administration elected a year later, standing on a platform of town centre regeneration brought forward a 24 point plan to take forward. As part of this work derelict buildings have already been brought in to use or, as in the case of the derelict Vogue Cinema site, in the process of being brought in to use.
“We’ll never be able to thank businesses and their employees enough for the sacrifices they have made to help get the virus under control over the last twelve months. Revitalising our town centres and communities is an absolute priority for myself and the SNP in South Lanarkshire. Strong town centres are now more essential than ever to make sure that our recovery from COVID is built on solid foundations.
“The SNP Scottish Government has already gone further than the UK Government by extending 100% rates relief for the hardest-hit sectors for a full twelve months.
“If re-elected we will take forward plans to spend £275m over the life of the parliament to support community-led regeneration and town centre revitalisation - as well as supporting the development of 20-minute neighbourhoods. This builds on the already £50m worth of investment through the Town Centre Fund announced in 2019, which brought £2.5m to South Lanarkshire.
“On top of this significant government investment, all of us can help our communities, and protect and create local jobs, by spending locally when we can.
“We’ll build on our 'Scotland Loves Local' campaign to highlight the many benefits of doing so.
“If re-elected as your MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, I will be totally committed to continuing to work with communities across the constituency - like the fantastic volunteers who created the Larkhall Community Plan - to ensure that our town centres are firmly at the heart of Scotland’s recovery.”
Christina McKelvie has written to the Scottish Government calling for a national moratorium on new incinerators across Scotland.
In the letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government and the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Christina hailed the world leading climate change legislation brought in by the Scottish Government. The legislation commits the country to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 and becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The legislation also sets legally mandated targets to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040.
Christina is concerned that planned incinerators, such as the controversial Overwood Farm application submitted by Viridor, could put achieving these targets at risk.
The Welsh Government has announced a moratorium on incinerator facilitates with a capacity of more than 10MW. Welsh Ministers will refuse to grant applications for proposals under 10MW capacity unless “applicants can show there is a need for such facilities in the regions in which they are planned.”
Commenting, Christina said:
“Scotland is at the forefront of tackling the climate emergency. Since 1990 we have managed to halve our emissions here in Scotland, second only to Sweden in Europe.
“I am concerned that incinerators, like the one proposed for Overwood Farm, will put this progress at risk. We need to make sure our zero waste, climate change, emissions and planning policy all come together to take Scotland forward.
“I am strongly against the proposed incinerator in Overwood – an incinerator the local community have made clear they neither want nor need. However, I also believe we should look at our incineration policy nationally to ensure it ties in with our planning policy and environmental targets. More important than anything else is ensuring we protect Scotland’s environment for future generations.”
I have been contacted by a huge number of constituents from Stonehouse and the surrounding areas with concern about the planning application that has been submitted by Viridor for a Waste Incinerator on the former site of Overwood Farm.
I campaigned long and hard with Dovesdale Action group against Scotgen plans to build an incinerator in the Stonehouse area when I was first elected. Many of the problems I have with the old proposal I now share with this new one. Chief among these problems is that the local community has been clear for almost a decade now – they neither want nor need an incinerator.
As part of the campaign against Scotgen more than 24,000 people objected to the planning application. At the time that broke the record for number of objections to a planning proposal!
I also have my concerns about the environmental impact of incineration. This is particularly the case when placed into the context of the Scottish Government efforts to decarbonise the Scottish economy. The ambitious target set by the Government to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 will require a move away from incineration to ensure we are delivering on our commitments.
I have already met with Viridor alongside MP for Lanark and Hamilton East - Angela Crawley and SNP Candidate for Clydesdale – Mairi McAllan to make my concerns known. We also raised the problems any consultation carried out during this pandemic would have in reaching older and more vulnerable residents in the community. We strongly urged Viridor in no uncertain terms to withdraw their planning application until the pandemic had passed.
I have also met with members of the Dovesdale Action group to see how I can best support their campaign and will continue to work closely with them over the coming months.