ERD/S2/03/12/M

 
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ENVIRONMENT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

MINUTES

12th Meeting, 2003 (Session 2)

Wednesday 19th November 2003

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Present:

Sarah Boyack (Convener)

Mr Rob Gibson

Maureen Macmillan

Nora Radcliffe

Roseanna Cunningham

Alex Johnstone

Mr Alasdair Morrison

Eleanor Scott (Deputy Convener)

Also present: Brian Adam, Susan Deacon, Marilyn Livingstone, Christine May, Des McNulty and Alex Neil.

Apologies: Karen Gillon

The meeting opened at 10.03 am.

  1. Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill: The Committee took evidence at Stage 1 from-

    Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive, League against Cruel Sports

    Eleanor Dickson, Scottish Manager, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

    Dr Colin Shedden, Director (Scotland), British Association for Shooting and Conservation

    Bert Burnett, Scottish Gamekeepers' Association

    Ian McCall, Director, Game Conservancy Trust

    Superintendent Mike Flynn, Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

    Alan Stewart, Wildlife and Environment Officer, Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland

    Duncan Burd, Rural Affairs Committee, The Law Society of Scotland

    Dave Dick, Senior Investigations Officer, RSPB Scotland.
  2. Public petitions: The Committee considered the following petitions-

PE449 on the impact of predatory birds on waders, songbirds, fish stocks and gamebirds. The Committee agreed to conclude the petition by noting the proposed research outlined in a response from the Deputy Minister, and passing to the petitioner a copy of the response and a copy of the Official Report of the Committee discussion. The Committee also agreed to write to the Minister for Environment and Rural Development requesting updates on the progress of the proposed research.

PE645 on control of odours from waste water treatment works. The Committee agreed to accept the referral of the petition from the Public Petitions Committee. The Committee also agreed to accept the recommendation of the Public Petitions Committee to consider the petition alongside PE517, on the basis that the issues raised by the petitions were broadly similar.

PE517 on control of odours from waste water treatment works. The Committee noted that it had previously agreed to take forward issues relating to noxious odours from landfill sites, raised in PE541 and PE543, as part of its consideration of PE517.

The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Environment and Rural Development raising a number of issues relating to the petition and noting the Committee's intention to consider issues raised by the petition in its consideration of the proposed Water Services Bill. The Committee further agreed, to request that the Minister writes to local authorities conveying the statutory powers available to them in relation to the control of noxious odours. In addition, the Committee agreed to request that the Minister bears in mind the need for higher odour control standards in any forthcoming consultation with Scottish Water and the Water Industry Commissioner on quality.

The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Communities noting the planning issues raised by the petitions and noting the Committee's desire to see these issues taken forward as part of the proposed Planning Bill. The Committee agreed to copy the letter to the Convener of the Communities Committee.

The Committee also agreed to write to the Finance Committee flagging up that the investment and funding regime for Scottish Water ought to take account of the need for better odour control.

PE604 on the regulation of greyhound sport. The Committee agreed to accept the referral of the petition from the Public Petitions Committee. The Committee agreed to consider the issues relating to the welfare of greyhounds raised by the petition during its consideration of the proposed Protection of Animals Bill. The Committee also agreed to write to the Minister for Environment and Rural Development requesting information on the timescale for the introduction of the Bill and asking for his views on whether the issues raised in the petition could be addressed in the Bill. The Committee agreed to conclude consideration of the petition on this basis and write to inform the petitioner of its decision.

PE653 on issues relating to the Scottish Agricultural College. The Committee agreed to accept the referral of the petition from the Public Petitions Committee. The Committee agreed to re-consider the petition following the completion of a business plan by the Scottish Agricultural College and to seek the Minister for Environment and Rural Development's comments on the plan.

PE365 on fixed fishing quota allocations and property rights. The Committee noted that it had previously closed the petition by writing to the Minister for Environment and Rural Development 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. The Committee agreed to forward a copy of the response from the Minister to the petitioner.

The meeting closed at 1.31 pm.

Tracey Hawe

Clerk to the Committee