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Petition by Mr Allan Berry  
 
Closed Petitions - Petition PE096  
Petition calling for the Scottish Parliament to hold an independent and public inquiry into the adverse environmental effects of sea cage fish farming, and the regulatory failure to both recognise and prevent significant damage to our natural heritage, the environment and other interests dependent on the integrity of our Scottish coastal waters.  
Petitioner: Mr Allan Berry  
Number of signatures: 101  
Date lodged: 9 February 2000  
Summary:

29 February 2000 :   The Public Petitions Committee agreed to pass the petition to the Rural Affairs Committee and Transport and Environment Committee for further consideration, along with a copy of Mr Berry's letter regarding previous submission of material to these committees. 

13 June 2000 :   The Transport and Environment Committee agreed to support in principle the petitioner's call for an inquiry, but noted that the Committee already had a significant workload, as well as previously agreed work priorities. The Committee agreed that the Convener should consult the Convener of the Rural Affairs Committee over the possible scope and timescale of any inquiry. The Committee agreed to consider the issue again, in the context of its future work programme, when this discussion had taken place. 

27 September 2000 :   The Transport and Environment Committee noted that the Rural Affairs Committee had agreed in principle to support an inquiry into sea cage fish farming, and that it had appointed two reporters to discuss the mechanisms and terms of reference of such an inquiry with the Transport and the Environment Committee. The Committee agreed to appoint Robin Harper and Nora Radcliffe as reporters to work with the reporters from the Rural Affairs Committee. It was agreed that, in common with the approach being taken by the Rural Affairs Committee, the reporters would not be conducting an inquiry. Their remit was to give further consideration to the issues involved and to consider the mechanisms and terms of reference of an inquiry. 

19 December 2000 :   The Rural Affairs Committee considered a paper by Reporters, agreed for its interest the recommendations made and agreed to take this matter forward with the Transport and the Environment Committee. 

24 January 2001 :   The Transport and Environment Committee considered a report on the petition by reporters appointed from the Transport and the Environment and Rural Development Committees, and agreed to its recommendation that the Scottish Executive should be asked to establish an independent inquiry into the issue of sea cage fish farming. The Committee also agreed that the Convener should write to the Scottish Executive setting out this recommendation in conjunction with the Convener of the Rural Development Committee. 

18 June 2001 :   The Transport and Environment Committee agreed to give further consideration to how the petition might be dealt with after hearing evidence from the Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development at the meeting on 26 June 2001. 

26 June 2001 :   The Transport and Environment Committee took evidence from Rhona Brankin, Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development. The Committee discussed the evidence taken under item 5 of petition PE96, on Sea Cage Fish Farming and agreed to write to the Executive to reiterate its request that the Executive establish an independent public inquiry into the issue. The Committee agreed to appoint Robin Harper and Bristow Muldoon as reporters on the issue. It was agreed that the reporters would monitor the progress being made by the Executive over the summer recess in relation to the initiatives outlined in the Minister's evidence. It was further agreed that the Committee would consider a paper on how to take forward consideration of the issue immediately after the recess. 

5 September 2001 :   The Transport and the Environment Committee considered a paper from the reporters along with a paper outlining options for further consideration of this issue. The Committee agreed to give further consideration to the petition and further agreed that there would merit in an approach which involved: (a) instituting a 'rolling' or 'staged' inquiry where issues would be examined on an on-going basis in order to link in with work being taken forward by other bodies such as the Aquaculture Forum and the Executive ; (b) the appointment of a research co-ordinator with a scientific background to take an overview of the Executive's research and other work, including identifying any gaps in the research programme; (c) synchronising the timing of the Committee's work with the introduction of the Executive's proposed Water Environment Bill; and (d) continuing the appointment of Committee reporters on the petition. The Committee agreed to consider, at an early opportunity, a paper setting out in more detail how such an approach would be achieved in practice. 

19 September 2001 :   The Transport and the Environment Committee agreed to continue the appointment of reporters on the petition and further agreed that Maureen Macmillan MSP should replace Bristow Muldoon MSP as a reporter and that Robin Harper MSP should continue to act as a reporter. The Committee also approved the programme of visits referred to in the paper. The Committee agreed in principle to hold a rolling inquiry, and that the inquiry should use the phased approach to evidence taking and committee reporting outlined in the paper. The Committee agreed the remit of the inquiry as set out in the paper, subject to certain specific changes, and agreed to issue a call for written evidence based upon this remit. The Committee agreed to pursue the creation of a post of research co-ordinator and to write to the Scottish Executive to request that it arranges for the appointment of this person. The Committee agreed to appoint an adviser on the inquiry, but to defer further consideration of the adviser's role until a response has been received from the Executive regarding the post of research co-ordinator. 

19 September 2001 :   The Rural Affairs Committee Committee agreed to defer consideration of PE63: on increased resources for agri-environment schemes, and PE96: on sea cage fish farming. 

3 October 2001 :   The Transport and the Environment Committee considered a paper setting out further arrangements for the Committee's consideration of the petition. The Committee agreed an updated remit for the work of its reporters on sea cage fish farming. The Committee agreed that the reporters should liaise with relevant Scottish Executive Officials on the arrangements for the possible appointment of a research co-ordinator. The Committee agreed the terms of a call for evidence on its rolling inquiry into sea cage fish farming. The Committee also agreed to take forward the process of appointing an adviser for the inquiry, and agreed the terms of an adviser specification, subject to minor amendments. The Committee agreed to conclude its formal consideration of Petition PE96. 

 
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