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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 29 January 2009

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Forestry: Sarah Boyack moved S3M-3325—That the Parliament notes widespread and clearly expressed public concern about the potential effects on biodiversity, access, employment and the ability of Forestry Commission Scotland to continue to carry out its functions effectively as a result of the Scottish Government’s proposals to lease large tracts of the forestry estate to the private sector for decades into the future; notes that the Parliament is being asked by the Scottish Government to scrutinise a proposal that it has now said does “not necessarily represent the best or only option” to achieve its objectives; also notes that the Scottish Government has not set out what it believes would be the other or better options; further notes the lack of published detail or business plan and the inability of the Scottish Government to answer a series of questions on the full implications of its proposals at this time, and calls on the Scottish Government to reconsider its plans to proceed with the leasing proposal and end the uncertainty surrounding the proposals by dropping the provisions that would permit this from the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill.

The Minister for Environment (Michael Russell) moved amendment S3M-3325.1 to motion S3M-3325—

leave out from “widespread” to end and insert—

“theconsultation on climate change and forestry that has just closed; welcomes the widespread agreement that there must be a significant planting increase to assist the process of combating climate change; is grateful to all those who brought a variety of ideas and views forward, and looks forward to a report to the Parliament on the outcome of the consultation.”

John Scott moved amendment S3M-3325.1.1 to amendment S3M-3325.1—

insert at end—

“and to subsequent detailed parliamentary scrutiny of any proposals brought forward as a result of the consultation.”

Jim Hume moved amendment S3M-3325.2 to motion S3M-3325—

after “future” insert—

“; recognises with concern that the loss of potentially 100,000 hectares of estate earmarked for this lease option represents 35 to 40% of Forestry Commission Scotland’s (FCS) timber income and 25% of its land mass; notes that diminishing FCS income by such a significant proportion could lead to the loss of investment for new leisure and tourism facilities, other woodland initiatives and research and development on renewable energy and could, in the longer term, threaten existing facilities and projects due to a restricted maintenance budget; further notes the potential detrimental impact that giving away full cutting rights could have on sawmills, smaller timber contractors and timber companies that often rely on cutting contracts granted to them by FCS to sustain their businesses; believes that the lease option has been drawn up without considering the impact on rural and remote communities and without considering other land uses and land-use policies in an integrated approach;”

After debate, amendment S3M-3325.1.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 80, Against 42, Abstentions 1).

After debate amendment S3M-3325.1 as amended was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 61, Abstentions 1). As a result, amendment S3M-3325.2 was pre-empted.

After debate, the motion as amended was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 61, Abstentions 1).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes theconsultation on climate change and forestry that has just closed; welcomes the widespread agreement that there must be a significant planting increase to assist the process of combating climate change; is grateful to all those who brought a variety of ideas and views forward, and looks forward to a report to the Parliament on the outcome of the consultation and to subsequent detailed parliamentary scrutiny of any proposals brought forward as a result of the consultation.

2. Transport Priorities: Des McNulty moved S3M-3322—That the Parliament notes that the Strategic Transport Projects Review lacks detail on timescales and does not commit the Scottish Government to deliver a programme of expenditure for the vast majority of the projects identified; also notes the concern of communities along the length of the A82, A77, A9 and A96 that no indication has been given as to when their needs for road improvements will be addressed; notes in particular the disappointment of people in Elgin, Inverness and Maybole who were led to believe by the SNP prior to the 2007 election that their bypass schemes would be given priority by an SNP government, and reminds ministers of the principle of collective responsibility and the need to ensure that communities are not misled about the Scottish Government’s intentions.

The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) moved amendment S3M-3322.2 to motion S3M-3322—

leave out from “lacks” to end and insert—

“(STPR) focuses on the three STPR priorities of addressing safety on the network, maximising use of the network and making focused investments that deliver national benefits and notes that the STPR is not the only mechanism for the delivery of surface transport infrastructure supported by the Scottish Government which also involves working with regional transport partnerships and councils and that the Scottish Government is engaging with local communities such as Elgin, Inverness and Maybole to deliver solutions to a range of transport infrastructure issues that have important local benefits.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 46, Against 75, Abstentions 3).

Alex Johnstone moved amendment S3M-3322.3 to motion S3M-3322—

insert at end—

“and, while recognising that the new Forth Replacement Crossing is an overriding priority for Scotland, calls on the Scottish Government to state its priorities by reference to the projects listed in the Strategic Transport Projects Review and others identified by regional transport partnerships and local authorities as having a major regional significance.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 121, Against 2, Abstentions 1).

Alison McInnes moved amendment S3M-3322.1 to motion S3M-3322—

after “A9” insert “, A90”.

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 75, Against 46, Abstentions 3).

After debate, the motion as amended was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 75, Against 48, Abstentions 1).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes that the Strategic Transport Projects Review lacks detail on timescales and does not commit the Scottish Government to deliver a programme of expenditure for the vast majority of the projects identified; also notes the concern of communities along the length of the A82, A77, A9, A90 and A96 that no indication has been given as to when their needs for road improvements will be addressed; notes in particular the disappointment of people in Elgin, Inverness and Maybole who were led to believe by the SNP prior to the 2007 election that their bypass schemes would be given priority by an SNP government; reminds ministers of the principle of collective responsibility and the need to ensure that communities are not misled about the Scottish Government’s intentions and, while recognising that the new Forth Replacement Crossing is an overriding priority for Scotland, calls on the Scottish Government to state its priorities by reference to the projects listed in the Strategic Transport Projects Review and others identified by regional transport partnerships and local authorities as having a major regional significance.

3. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

4. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Finance and Sustainable Growth were answered by the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers.

6. Gaelic Language Plan: The Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture (Linda Fabiani) moved S3M-3324—That the Parliament recognises that Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland’s heritage, national identity and current cultural life; welcomes and supports the launch of the consultation on the Scottish Government’s draft Gaelic Language Plan, and acknowledges the work being carried out on the implementation of other Gaelic language plans by Argyll and Bute Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Edinburgh City Council, Glasgow City Council, Highland Council, the Scottish Parliament and Highland and Islands Enterprise.

Pauline McNeill moved amendment S3M-3324.1 to motion S3M-3324—

insert at end—

“; further welcomes the boost to the language provided by the establishment of BBC Alba, and calls for continued investment in and expansion of Gaelic-medium education.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

After debate, the motion as amended was agreed to (DT).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises that Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland’s heritage, national identity and current cultural life; welcomes and supports the launch of the consultation on the Scottish Government’s draft Gaelic Language Plan; acknowledges the work being carried out on the implementation of other Gaelic language plans by Argyll and Bute Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Edinburgh City Council, Glasgow City Council, Highland Council, the Scottish Parliament and Highland and Islands Enterprise; further welcomes the boost to the language provided by the establishment of BBC Alba, and calls for continued investment in and expansion of Gaelic-medium education.

7. Business Motion: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-3336—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) the following revision to the programme of business for Wednesday 4 February 2009—

delete

followed by Scottish Government Debate: The Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2009

and insert

followed by Stage 1 Debate: Budget (Scotland) (No.3) Bill

and (b) the following revision to the programme of business for Wednesday 11 February 2009—

delete

followed by Scottish Government Business

and insert

followed by Stage 3 Proceedings: Budget (Scotland) (No.3) Bill

The motion was agreed to.

8. Suspension of Standing Orders: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-3337—That the Parliament agrees that, in order to consider the Budget (Scotland) (No.3) Bill at Stages 1, 2 and 3 on 4, 10 and 11 February 2009 respectively, the first sentence of Rule 9.16.5 be suspended.

After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

9. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 6 and 8 as noted above.

10. Diabetes UK 75th Anniversary: The Parliament debated S3M-3200 in the name of Karen Whitefield—That the Parliament congratulates Diabetes UK on its 75th anniversary, which it celebrates in 2009; notes, in this year of Homecoming, the particular contribution of Scotland and Scots to the work of Diabetes UK and to diabetes research, including RD Lawrence who founded the organisation with HG Wells in 1934, JJR Macleod who shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of insulin and John Ireland who co-designed and developed the insulin pen; recognises that diabetes continues to be a major public health issue in Scotland, with 209,706 people registered with diabetes and a projected increase to 350,000 by 2025; commends the improvements in diabetes services over the past seven years arising from the Scottish Diabetes Framework Action Plan; notes that the action plan concludes this year, and looks forward to renewed commitment to action on diabetes in Scotland to take us into 2010 and onwards.

The meeting closed at 5.44 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
29 January 2009

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

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 29 January 2009 and is not subject to any parliamentary procedure

sportscotland Lottery Fund Annual Review 2007-08 (SG/2009/6)

laid under section 34 of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993

Committee Reports

The following were published on 29 January 2009—

Public Audit Committee, 2nd Report, 2009 (Session 3): Police call management (SP Paper 196)

Rural Affairs and Environment Committee, 2nd Report, 2009 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 201)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 6th Report 2009 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 202)