- Written by Gus Jones
- Category: Debates
- Published: 01 April 2015
Mike Robb is the Scottish Labour Party Candidate for this Constituency.
He has a degree in Physics from Edinburgh University and has worked in the software and electronics industry for most of his professional career. Mike runs his own UK-wide IT Consultancy Business from Inverness. Mike lives in Muir of Ord, with his wife Gwen who is a nurse. They have two grown up sons. His priorities are jobs for young people, getting more houses built, protecting the NHS and building an economy that's works for us all, not just bankers.
Our environment is a precious thing. For all of us wherever we live but especially here in the Highlands. Protecting that environment against factors local, national and global is vital.
We all have a role to play in that, whether as environmental activists, single issue campaigners, community groups or politicians, elected or aspiring!
I believe that climate change is happening and that we need to intervene at many levels to avoid its worst effects. In responding, we need to be led by science and not by vested interests or dogma.
On energy, we need policies that are science based and that provide safe, secure and reliable sources. Energy needs to be affordable and reliable as well as renewable.
We need to do much more to tackle the use of energy in terms of how we use it as much as how we produce it. Home insulation projects, innovative area heating schemes and getting people out of cars and onto energy efficient public transport are key.
Wind farms have a place in the mix. But I am steadily coming to the conclusion that the scale and pace of industrial wind farm developments is much more about the benefits to landowners and international energy companies than it is to the environment or to local communities and consumers. Like so many things in our society, the benefits are for the few whilst the costs are picked up by many ordinary families.
Fuel poverty is a real issue in the Highlands. We need sources of energy which don’t damage the planet but which allow the most vulnerable in our communities to heat their homes without fear.
On transport, we need a better balance to cut fuel-based emissions. The use of a car will never be any more than an essential in most parts of the Highlands, but there is so much we can do to ensure there are environmentally positive alternatives in as many places as possible. Train and bus timetables that join up; frequent, affordable rural bus services that recognise the value of providing an alternative to cars. The private sector may not be ready to provide this and we should be ready to look at public ownership again. We need to dual the A9, but we also need to invest in the rail link to Inverness to make it an attractive alternative to driving cars and lorries up and down the A9. And as a cyclist, I’d like us to invest in making it “safe and easy” to cycle to work in as many places as possible.
Sustainable farming, fracking, green procurement, getting the balance right in the Cairngorms between environment and tourism are all topical issues which I look forward to debating