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Sturgeon demands veto over Britain’s energy policy

First minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon has demanded a veto over the UK’s energy decisions, Herald Scotland has reported.

Ms Sturgeon said UK ministers should take key decisions only after “consultation and agreement” with the Scottish Government.

The demand came as experts warned Scotland will rely increasingly on importing power from England to keep the lights on in the years ahead.

It is the latest in a series of confrontations between the Scottish and UK governments since the General Election.

The Scottish Government has already challenged Conservative plans to repeal the Human Rights Act, while a bitter row is brewing over proposals to devolve more powers to Holyrood.

Ms Sturgeon was speaking after a meeting of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, a panel co-chaired by the First Minister and Professor Sir Jim McDonald of Strathclyde University.

She set out a list of specific demands, including an assurance that subsidies for Scotland’s onshore windfarms will not be changed without the blessing of SNP ministers in Edinburgh.

She also called on the UK Government to commit to major offshore wind projects, where Scotland has lost out because of the higher costs of maintaining turbines in deeper coastal waters.

Ms Sturgeon also urged the UK Government to cut transmission charges for generators in remote parts of Scotland further than already planned.

Ms Sturgeon’s call for a final say on wider policy issues came as experts told MSPs Scotland would be increasingly dependent on electricity imported from England as more than half the country’s generating capacity is due to shut down in the next few years.

Longannet, the giant coal-fired power station in Fife, is expected to close by March next year as new carbon emission rules will make it uneconomic.

Scotland’s two ageing nuclear power stations, Hunterston and Torness, are scheduled to go offline by 2023.

The three closures will cut Scotland’s generating capacity by 55 per cent and leave the country’s energy mix dominated by windfarms.

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