Scottish ministers were not consulted by the UK government when it drew up its first strategy on conservation and development in the Arctic last year. Now they are coming under growing pressure to come up with their own.
Tensions between the need to protect the polar region’s fragile environment and the demand to exploit its valuable resources are increasing as global warming melts the ice cap. Last week the UK oil giant, Shell, shelved controversial plans to drill in the Alaskan Arctic this summer.
The UK government produced its Arctic strategy in October after five years of consultation. It endorsed plans to exploit oil, gas and other minerals, but said there should be high environmental standards.
But now the strategy has come under fire for being “overly timid” so as not to offend other countries. In a paper published today by the Scottish Global Forum think tank, former British diplomat, Professor Alyson Bailes, highlights “weaknesses” in the UK approach.