Just Transition Commission: Grangemouth residents can have their say on future of town

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Grangemouth residents are being urged to have their say on how local people can be part of the move away from fossil fuels to greener energy.

The Just Transition Commission – an independent group that advises the Scottish Government on how to cut carbon emissions in a fair way – is currently holding meetings across Scotland, including Grangemouth.

The commission includes experts and leaders from trade unions, voluntary organisations, environmental groups, business and industry – and they want to hear from local people about their experiences of working and living in the town.

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On Thursday, March 14, the local community council is encouraging residents to go along to Grangemouth High School to have their say.

The Just Transition Commission want to hear from Grangemouth people about the future of the town. Pic: Getty ImagesThe Just Transition Commission want to hear from Grangemouth people about the future of the town. Pic: Getty Images
The Just Transition Commission want to hear from Grangemouth people about the future of the town. Pic: Getty Images

The recent announcement from Ineos that the oil refinery in Grangemouth could become a fuel import terminal by 2025 has made very clear that change is happening.

Grangemouth, including Skinflats Community Council, has already made a contribution to the debate through a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy and Fair Work Committee’s report last year.

In their statement, they made clear that more must be done to challenge the deprivation, poverty, high unemployment and poor health that are found in several areas of Grangemouth.

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They point out that while wealth has undoubtedly been created by Grangemouth’s booming oil and chemical industries, it is hard to find in the town centre itself.

For the community council, Grangemouth has been the subject of “an unjust transition”, with all of the downsides of living next to industry but none of the benefits.

“Currently many of those employed within the local industry commute into and out of Grangemouth on a daily basis, referred to locally as DIDOs (Drive In Drive Out),” they stated in the submission.

“We have no wish to deprive the DIDOs of a living but there has to be measures taken to mitigate their impact.”

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They want action and have put forward practical suggestions, such as opening a train station that will bring people into the town centre and create jobs for local people.

They want to see this alongside a parking levy that will actively discourage people from just ‘driving in and driving out’.

They also want to see better housing so that people who work in Grangemouth would also want to live in the town alongside a radical regeneration of the town centre.

They are aware that there are massive opportunities on the horizon for Grangemouth, with investment set to pour in through projects such as the Falkirk/Grangemouth Growth Deal and the Green Freeport.

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But they remain to be convinced that local people will be at the heart of any changes.

The question the Just Transition Commission will be asking people – over a bite to eat – on March 14 is: ‘What does a fair future look like for workers and communities in Grangemouth and the surrounding area?’

It is an open event, where all are welcome to have a say and the commission will publish their findings as advice to government.

Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance and food will be available on arrival from 6.15 pm.

For tickets, sign up here.