I was rather angry today to hear that the Queen, in spite of being one of the largest landowners in Scotland, has exercised the right of ‘Queen’s Consent’ to exempt her properties from the draft law passing through the Scottish Parliament – the ‘Heat Networks Bill’.
The draft law has been altered so that the Queen’s land is exempt from measures to cut carbon emissions and encourage green energy.
I am not an anti-monarchist per se. But this draws attention once again to the intense inequalities which must be combatted as we transition to a more sustainable future. Putting aside all questions of the monarchy and archaic details of UK laws for now, I feel very strongly that no one should be exempt from environmental regulation.
Regardless of how you feel about the Queen herself, and the institution, the idea that one of the most powerful landowners in my country should be allowed to pick and choose which environmental laws suit and simply ‘opt out’ if they do not suit is, quite frankly, abhorrent.
Unfortunately, though I am very lucky in where I live, and am in many ways very proud of my country and its people. This draws my mind back to the great inequalities – especially when it comes to land – that are found here. Scottish land reform and land access – like land reform and land access in other nations around the world – is a crucial issue. And one that should be front and centre in our efforts to drive progress towards a fair and just transition.