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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 9 March 2006

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

  1. Future Energy Policy: Alex Johnstone moved S2M-4074—That the Parliament calls on the Scottish Executive to support the adoption of a balanced energy policy to meet the energy needs of the nation, including the promotion of clean coal technology, new and replacement nuclear build, as well as oil and gas and renewables and therefore considers that immediate plans must be started to replace or renew our existing coal-fired and nuclear generating stations where required.

    The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Allan Wilson) moved amendment S2M-4074.3 to motion S2M-4074—

    Leave out from “calls on” to end and insert—

    “notes the progress made at Longannet to secure future base load energy supplies; supports the Scottish Executive’s commitment to the development of a wide range of renewable energy technologies in Scotland as a key element of a balanced energy supply mix; supports the Executive’s target that 40% of electricity generated in Scotland by 2020 should come from renewable sources; looks forward to publication of the revised Scottish Climate Change Programme and the consideration given to the contribution of energy efficiency and renewables to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; endorses the Executive’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty; acknowledges the Executive’s commitment to not support further development of nuclear power stations while waste management issues remain unresolved; welcomes the release of the first two volumes of the Scottish Energy Study; recognises the importance of the UK Energy Review, and supports the Executive’s engagement with the UK Government, Ofgem and the energy industry to ensure that the future energy supply needs of Scotland are met.”

    Richard Lochhead moved amendment S2M-4074.2 to motion S2M-4074—

    Leave out from “calls on” to end and insert—

    “believes that there is no case for the building of new nuclear power stations in Scotland and that decisions on our energy future should be the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament rather than the UK Government, in line with the wishes of the people of Scotland.”

    Shiona Baird moved amendment S2M-4074.1 to motion S2M-4074—

    Leave out from “calls on” to end and insert—

    “acknowledges that the development of stable, secure and sustainable future energy policy is one of the most pressing and most challenging tasks facing the present generation; recognises that any future energy policy must consider all energy and not merely electricity, which accounts for only around one-fifth of total energy demand; accepts that such a policy must take into account the twin problems of climate change and dwindling supplies of oil and other fossil fuels; welcomes the recent publication by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) of its position paper, The Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon Economy; supports the conclusion of the SDC that nuclear power is not the answer to tackling climate change or security of supply; further notes the results of a BBC Scotland opinion poll indicating that a majority of Scots favour more renewable energy while a small minority supports new nuclear power, and calls on the Scottish Executive to ensure that Scotland’s future energy policy involves radical energy efficiency measures, the expansion of all renewable technologies, decentralised networks and the widespread adoption of microgeneration.”

    After debate, amendment S2M-4074.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 41, Abstentions 7).  As a result, amendments S2M-4074.2 and S2M-4074.1 were pre-empted.

    The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 41, Abstentions 7)

    Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the progress made at Longannet to secure future base load energy supplies; supports the Scottish Executive’s commitment to the development of a wide range of renewable energy technologies in Scotland as a key element of a balanced energy supply mix; supports the Executive’s target that 40% of electricity generated in Scotland by 2020 should come from renewable sources; looks forward to publication of the revised Scottish Climate Change Programme and the consideration given to the contribution of energy efficiency and renewables to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; endorses the Executive’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty; acknowledges the Executive’s commitment to not support further development of nuclear power stations while waste management issues remain unresolved; welcomes the release of the first two volumes of the Scottish Energy Study; recognises the importance of the UK Energy Review, and supports the Executive’s engagement with the UK Government, Ofgem and the energy industry to ensure that the future energy supply needs of Scotland are met.

  2. Drug Abuse: Miss Annabel Goldie moved S2M-4073—That the Parliament notes the increasing drugs problem in Scotland which has seen rises in the number of drug-related deaths and drug-related crimes; recognises that drug abuse destroys lives, tears families apart, leads to widespread and recurring crime and the disintegration of entire communities; believes that there should be a zero tolerance drugs strategy which aims to rid Scotland of drugs; believes that such a strategy should place an emphasis on early intervention and include a coherent education programme which prioritises abstinence, and believes that there needs to be a change in the help offered to drug addicts, away from an over-reliance on methadone and towards a drug-free lifestyle.

    The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved amendment S2M-4073.3 to motion S2M-4073—

    Leave out from “calls on” to end and insert—

    “recognises that drug abuse destroys lives and tears families apart; recognises that more needs to be done, particularly to support and protect children in drug misusing households; believes that there should be an early intervention strategy; believes that there is a need to help addicts to move towards a drug-free lifestyle by offering a range of interventions; believes that for those on methadone there should be a care plan which includes an exit strategy from methadone use; believes that there should be an education programme which continues to reinforce the dangers of taking drugs; believes that employability issues should be addressed as part of re-establishing a drug-free stable lifestyle, and welcomes the enhancements to the Scottish Drugs Misuse Database which should lead to an improvement in the collection of data to help shape and target investment and services.”

    Stewart Stevenson moved amendment S2M-4073.1 to motion S2M-4073—

    Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

    “acknowledges that drug abuse creates feelings of hopelessness, despair and low self-worth in individuals and communities; recognises that drug misusers are individuals who will vary widely as to the best approach to address their addictions and therefore dismisses single dogmatic solutions to this complex problem; believes that the Scottish Executive should focus resources on appropriate support and child protection measures for children in drug misusing families; notes that access to support for addicts varies widely across Scotland; recommends that substantial additional resources are focused on addiction services and on recovering profits from illegal drugs trade barons, and calls on all in public life to make common cause in the fight against drug misuse.”

    Tommy Sheridan moved amendment S2M-4073.2 to motion S2M-4073—

    Leave out from first “believes” to end and insert—

    “calls for a radical overhaul of the unhelpful drugs laws which cause more problems rather than providing solutions; further calls for a pilot scheme to be initiated into the prescribing of heroin under clinical conditions; calls for massive investment in drug rehabilitation and treatment, based on the fact that it is nine times more effective to treat drug addicts than pay the cost of drug-related crime, and calls for a recognition of the role of extended family members, particularly grandparents, in supporting and protecting children in families where there is drug misuse.”

    After debate, amendment S2M-4073.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 17, Abstentions 30).  As a result, amendments S2M-4073.1 and S2M-4073.2 were pre-empted.

    The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 90, Against 17, Abstentions 2)

    Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises that drug abuse destroys lives and tears families apart; recognises that more needs to be done, particularly to support and protect children in drug misusing households; believes that there should be an early intervention strategy; believes that there is a need to help addicts to move towards a drug-free lifestyle by offering a range of interventions; believes that for those on methadone there should be a care plan which includes an exit strategy from methadone use; believes that there should be an education programme which continues to reinforce the dangers of taking drugs; believes that employability issues should be addressed as part of re-establishing a drug-free stable lifestyle, and welcomes the enhancements to the Scottish Drugs Misuse Database which should lead to an improvement in the collection of data to help shape and target investment and services.

  3. General Question Time:  Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

  4. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

  5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Justice and Law Officers and on Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning, were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers and by the Scottish Law Officers.

  6. Agriculture Strategy: The Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie) moved S2M-4081—That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Executive’s commitment as set out in A Forward Strategy for Scottish Agriculture: Next Steps to secure a prosperous and sustainable farming industry in Scotland, focussed on producing food and other products for the market, contributing to sustainable rural development, protecting and enhancing the environment and contributing to improvements in animal health and welfare and human health and well-being, and approves the actions outlined in the strategy for achieving these objectives in partnership with other stakeholders.

    Richard Lochhead moved amendment S2M-4081.4 to motion S2M-4081—

    Leave out from “and approves” to end and insert—

    “while approving many of the actions outlined in the strategy, regrets the lack of support and initiative from Ministers for the farmers’ campaign to curb the power of the supermarkets and secure a more equitable trading relationship throughout the supply chain; calls for more effort to allow agriculture to compete on a level playing field by addressing the issue of inferior imports and costly red tape; further calls on Ministers to do more to promote locally produced food, especially through the use of public procurement, not only to boost the industry but to cut the number of food miles, and urges the Executive to accelerate the production of energy crops.”

    After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 49, Against 60, Abstentions 0).

    Mr Ted Brocklebank moved amendment S2M-4081.1 to motion S2M-4081—

    Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

    “notes the aims for the Scottish agricultural industry set out in A Forward Strategy for Scottish Agriculture: Next Steps and acknowledges that the vision outlined in that document is one with which we can all agree; notes that under Scottish Executive stewardship, Total Income from Farming statistics show that returns are down by 11% and average net farm incomes have fallen by 34%, indicating that the agricultural sector is beleaguered by uncertainty and despondency, and calls on the Executive to act to restore confidence to the sector in order to reverse the current trend of young people deserting the land.”

    After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 46, Against 61, Abstentions 3).

    The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 68, Against 0, Abstentions 42).

  7. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2 and 6 as noted above.

  8. Ship-to-Ship Oil Transfer: The Parliament debated S2M-4017 in the name of Robin Harper—That the Parliament notes with concern the application by Forth Ports plc and Melbourne Marine Services to introduce ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of Russian heavy crude oil at swinging anchorage in the Firth of Forth; recognises the unprecedented scale and nature of such operations and the pollution risks posed by their routine operation and possible accidental spillage; notes the very recent identification by the UK Government of marine environment high risk areas around the Scottish coastline, and notably the Forth estuary, as being most sensitive and highly vulnerable to accidents involving merchant shipping and in need of protection; further notes that the Firth of Forth is a Special Protection Area containing numerous conservation sites of national and European importance, and a Ramsar site of international designation; acknowledges the devastating impact on the economy and ecology of areas, such as the Forth, that could occur in the event of a heavy crude oil spill; recognises the opposition to the Forth proposal by Fife Council, the City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, major environmental groups and agencies and local communities; expresses concern that any such proposal should be considered in the absence of either a UK or EU statutory regulatory framework for the control or monitoring of STS oil transfer operations along the Scottish coastline; notes that the current consultation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is not a full public consultation about the context or strategic merit of the Forth proposal, but is restricted to a discussion of Forth Ports’ oil spill contingency plan, and considers that the Scottish Executive should use its powers, particularly under the EU Habitats Directive, to oppose the application for heavy oil transfer from ship to ship.

The meeting closed at 5.52 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
9 March 2006

Appendix
(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 9 March 2006 and are subject to annulment—

The Beef Carcase (Classification) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/118)—

The Dairy Produce Quotas (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/119)—

laid under paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

The Provision of Water and Sewerage Services (Reasonable Cost) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/120)

laid under section 1(6) of the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 and section 101(2) of the Water (Scotland) Act 1980

The National Health Service (Tribunal) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/122)

laid under section 105(2) of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978

The Local Government Pension Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/123)

laid under section 12(6) of the Superannuation Act 1972

The Non-Domestic Rates (Levying) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/124)

laid under section 153 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland)  Act 1994

The Non-Domestic Rating (Rural Areas and Rateable Value Limits) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2006 (SSI 2006/125)

laid under section 8 and Schedule 2 of the Local Government and Rating Act 1997

The Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (Designation of Responsible Authorities and Functions) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/126)—

The Water Environment (Consequential Provisions) (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/127)—

laid under section 36(4) of the Water Environment and Water Services  (Scotland) Act 2003

The Waste Management Licensing (Water Environment) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/128)

laid under section 36(5) of the Water Environment and Water Services  (Scotland) Act 2003

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Consequential and Supplementary Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/129)

laid under section 172(6) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

The Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003 (Conservation Bodies) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/130)

laid under section 127(1) of the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003

Committee Reports

For further information on accessing committee reports, please contact either the relevant clerk or webpage (see end of Bulletin for contact details or access general committee webpage)

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/index.htm

The following reports were published on 9 March 2006—

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 3rd Report, 2006: Report on Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Company Law Reform Bill – LCM(S2) 2.1 (SP Paper 516)

Health Committee, 5th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 517)