ERD/S2/03/04/M

 
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ENVIRONMENT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

MINUTES

4th Meeting, 2003 (Session 2)

Wednesday 10 September 2003

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Present:

Sarah Boyack (Convener)

Mr Rob Gibson

Alex Johnstone

Mr Alasdair Morrison

Eleanor Scott (Deputy Convener)

Roseanna Cunningham

Karen Gillon

Maureen Macmillan

Nora Radcliffe

 

Also present: Ted Brocklebank, Susan Deacon, Fergus Ewing, Margaret Ewing, Alex Fergusson and Stewart Stevenson.

The meeting opened at 9.37 am.

  1. Subordinate legislation: The Committee considered the following negative instrument-
  2. the Prohibition of Fishing for Scallops (Scotland) Order 2003 (SSI 2003/371).

    Maureen Macmillan MSP moved motion S2M-295-

    That the Environment and Rural Development Committee recommends that nothing further be done under the Prohibition of Fishing for Scallops (Scotland) Order 2003 (SSI 2003/371).

    After debate, the motion was disagreed to by division: For 4, Against 5.

    The Committee therefore agreed, being content with the instrument, to make no recommendation to the Parliament.

    The Committee also agreed to write to the Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development expressing its extreme concern at the late lodging of the regulatory impact assessment which accompanied this instrument.

    The Committee further agreed to write to the Subordinate Legislation Committee regarding this matter to explore whether the Parliamentary rules in relation to regulatory impact assessments require amendment.

  3. Subordinate legislation: The Committee considered the following affirmative instruments-
  4. draft Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Pigs (SE/2003/173)

    draft Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Cattle (SE/2003/175)

    the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2003 (draft).

    Allan Wilson MSP (Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development) moved-

    motion S2M-190 in the name of Ross Finnie MSP-That the Environment and Rural Development Committee, in consideration of the Draft Code of Recommendation for the Welfare of Livestock: Pigs (SE/2003/173), recommends that the code be approved;

    motion S2M-232 in the name of Ross Finnie-That the Environment and Rural Development Committee recommends that the Draft Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Cattle (SE/2003/175) be approved; and

    motion S2M-189 in the name of Ross Finnie-That the Environment and Rural Development Committee, in consideration of the draft Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2003, recommends that the regulations be approved.

    After debate, the motions were agreed to.

  5. Subordinate legislation: The Committee considered the following negative instruments-
  6. The Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) Regulations 2003, (SSI 2003/333)

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (Water Management) (Scotland) Regulations 2003, (SSI 2003/341).

    The Committee agreed, being content with the instruments, to make no recommendation to the Parliament in respect of SSI 2003/333, or to the lead committee in respect of SSI 2003/341.

  7. Work Programme: The Committee considered its forward work programme. The Committee agreed to note the likely timeframes for undertaking work in relation to the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill, its inquiry into the National Waste Plan and the scrutiny of the draft Scottish Executive budget.

In relation to the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill the Committee also agreed to authorise the clerks to seek Conveners' Group approval for Committee visits to SSSI sites, and to seek an informal briefing from Scottish Executive officials, prior to undertaking formal Stage 1 scrutiny of the Bill.

The Committee agreed to note the likely time commitments arising from the referral of other business such as subordinate legislation and petitions, and, in relation to petitions, agreed to receive an update on petitions at 2 month intervals rather than on an ad hoc basis; to incorporate consideration of petitions into other work items where possible; and make use of reporters appointed by the Committee to investigate particular issues raised by petitions and report back to the Committee.

In relation to Committee consideration of European matters, the Committee agreed to:

  • request that the Executive send relevant pre and post European council meeting reports direct to the Committee;

  • authorise the Convener and clerks to request further detailed briefings as required on any dossiers of particular interest;

  • request the Minister for Environment and Rural Development to send the relevant chapter of his six monthly briefing to the European Committee direct to the Committee;

  • seek a standing agreement that the Minister be invited to give oral evidence to the Committee towards the start of each six-month presidency starting with the next presidency in 2004;

  • authorise the Convener and Clerks to receive spreadsheets setting out details of transposition arrangements at regular intervals and to update the Committee as required;

  • note that members will be circulated with the sift paper of relevant documents compiled by the European Committee and which is copied to each subject committee; and

  • authorise the Convener to consider any relevant European issues and bring a report to the Committee as a regular agenda item approximately every three months, as part of the Committee's work programme discussions;

In relation to outstanding legacy issues from predecessor committees, it was agreed to put forward a bid for Committee time in the Chamber to debate the findings of the report on Integrated Rural Development; to continue to explore issues relating to the Scottish fishing and forestry industries as they arise; and not to pursue the following issues, as they now fall within the remit of other parliamentary committees: Petition PE377 on Polluting activities in built-up areas, planning procedures for telecoms developments and Highlands and Islands Ferry Contracts.

  1. Public Petitions: The Committee considered the following petitions-
  2. PE 541 by Dr James S Buchanan on behalf of the Roslyn Community Action Group and PE 543 by Karen Whitefield MSP on sustainable waste management. The Committee noted that it had previously agreed to consider the petitions as part of the inquiry into the National Waste Plan, and that it would take evidence from the petitioners at its meeting on 24 September.

    PE 246 by Kildalton and Oa Community Council, Kilarrow and Kilmeny Community Council and the Kilchoman and Portnahaven Council, and Councillor J Findlay and Councillor R Currie on Special Areas of Conservation. The Committee agreed to take any issues of general principle raised by the petition into account as part of Stage 1 scrutiny of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill, and to consider any written evidence received by the Public Petitions Committee as part of this process.

    PE 365 by Mr Iain MacSween on behalf of the Scottish Fishermen's Organisation Ltd on fixed fishing quota allocations and property rights. The Committee agreed to conclude its consideration of the petition by noting the issues raised by the petitioner. The Committee also agreed to write to the Minister seeking a detailed briefing on issues relating to quota ownership, and tradeability, particularly in the light of the current decommissioning schemes and restrictions on fishing opportunities.

    PE 449 by Mr Alex Hogg on behalf of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association on the impact of predatory birds on waders, songbirds, fish stocks and gamebirds. The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Environment and Rural Development seeking an update on research and scientific matters relating to the petition. The Committee agreed to defer further consideration of the petition until this update is received.

    PE 462 by Mrs Margaret Currie, PE 463 by Councillor Donald Manford and PE 464 by Robert Cunyngham Brown on Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Committee agreed to consider issues raised by the petitions as part of its Stage 1 scrutiny of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill.

    PE 517 by Mr Rob Kirkwood on waste water treatment plants. The Committee noted that an appeal has been lodged with the House of Lords relating to the regulation of waste water treatment plants. Pending the outcome of this appeal, the Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Environment and Rural Development requesting an update on how the Executive plans to take forward issues relating to odour control, and, in particular, issues relating to waste water plants.

  3. Budget process (in private): The Committee considered and agreed its approach to the 2004-05 budget process. The Committee also agreed to seek an informal briefing on the draft Scottish Executive budget from Scottish Executive officials and to seek oral evidence from the Minister as part of the scrutiny of the 2004-05 budget. The Committee further agreed to seek the approval of the Parliamentary Bureau to appoint an adviser and agreed the remit and person specification for this post. The Committee also considered the names of possible advisers to the Committee and agreed a shortlist of preferred candidates for the post.

The meeting closed at 12.49 pm.

Tracey Hawe

Clerk to the Committee