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Date 24 April 2007

Scots trust public services to protect environment - UNISON

Two- thirds of Scots voters think that the public sector is more likely than the private sector to tackle climate change and protect the environment according to a poll commissioned by UNISON, Scotland's public service union, from Ipsos MORI - the research organisation.

The poll is issued today as part of the union's Revitalising our Environment campaign, highlighting the important work that UNISON members already do to protect Scotland's environment.

This is part of its Revitalise our Public Services campaign during the run-up to the Scottish and Local elections.

UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: "At a time when we can see the consequences of the failures of PFI and private sector involvement in running our public sewerage service in Edinburgh, politicians need to be aware that the people of Scotland think that public sector workers are the people to entrust with tackling climate change and protecting the environment. UNISON points out that the Seafield sewage treatment plant in Edinburgh which suffered such a serious breakdown at the weekend, was one of the first major PFI projects in Scotland and has been run by the private sector since 1999. The contract is for 30 years.

"This breakdown shows how important UNISON's campaign against the co-called 'mutualisation' of Scottish Water is." Said Dave, "The push to mutualisation - from business, the Water Industry Commissioner, and certain political parties - could end up with Thames Water or another private company running all Scotland's water infrastructure."

UNISON has produced a manifesto highlighting the important role public service workers and UNISON members play in protecting and defending the environment.

Gillian Dick, a planner in Glasgow City Council, and Chair of UNISON's Scottish Women's Committee said "UNISON member are planners, ecologists, geologists, architects, waste officers, sustainable development officers, engineers, scientists, park rangers, sewage and water workers, waste management workers, landscape architects, environmental health officers and many more. They are proud of the work they do. We believe that a clean and healthy environment locally and globally is vital for general health and wellbeing and for the future of the planet. The role of the public sector is key and it is good to see that Scotland's voters recognise this."

UNISON is the first trade union to sign up to the Stop Climate Chaos - Scotland campaign. http://www.stopclimatechaosscotland.org. It is the first time UNISON has highlighted climate change as a major part of its political campaigning.


Note for Editors:

1)UNISON's Environment manifesto Revitalising our Environment, is on the UNISON Scotland website. www.unison-scotland.org,uk/revitalise along with other election material. Any requests to contact Gillian should be arranged via Chris Bartter.

2) The poll was carried out by Ipsos MORI from a quota sample of 807 adults aged 18+ interviewed by telephone on randomly generated numbers throughout Scotland. Interviews were conducted on 13-15 April.

The question was "Do you think public or private sector organisations are more likely to tackle climate change and protect the environment in the ways they provide their services?"

The results were Public - 66%; Private 20%; Don't Know 14%

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 0845 355 0845 (w) 07958 122 409 (m) Fiona Montgomery (Information Development Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)