Remit and membership (12 May 2002 -
26 March 2003)
To consider and report on matters relating to transport which
fall within the responsibility of the Minister for Enterprise,
Transport and Lifelong Learning; matters relating to environment
and natural heritage which fall within the responsibility of
the Minister for Environment and Rural Development; and matters
relating to the land use planning system and building standards
which fall within the responsibility of the Minister for Social
Justice. (As agreed by resolution of the Parliament on 13 June
Bristow Muldoon (Convener)
Nora Radcliffe (Deputy Convener)
Bruce Crawford (from 13 November 2002)
Adam Ingram (until 13 November 2002)
Des McNulty (until 28 November 2002)
Elaine Thomson (from 28 November 2002)
Committee Clerking Team:
Clerk to the Committee
Senior Assistant Clerk
Transport and the Environment Committee
4th Report 2003
Annual Report of the Transport and the
Environment Committee for the Parliamentary Year 12 May 2002
to 26 March 2003
The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows-
1. As with all years of the first parliamentary session, the
Committee has had a heavy and diverse workload which reflects
the breadth of remit enjoyed by the Committee.
Inquiries and Reports
2. In the course of this major inquiry, the Committee examined
the issues which will determine the long term development of
the rail industry in Scotland, including structural and funding
matters. The Committee heard from all the main players in the
industry and was able to influence the directions and guidance
for the replacement Scottish rail passenger franchise.
3. In its report, the Committee identified a framework within
which a coherent programme for rail services could be delivered
in Scotland. Specifically, the Committee recommended, and the
Executive subsequently accepted, that a new, robust concordat
should be established between the Scottish Executive and the
Strategic Rail Authority.
Highlands and Islands Ferry Services
4. Following extensive consultation in the Hebrides, Des McNulty
MSP and Maureen Macmillan MSP reported to the Committee on the
draft service specification for the tendering of the Highlands
and Islands ferry services network. One of the most contentious
issues has been the status of the Gourock-Dunoon service, and
the Executive has agreed with the Reporters that this should
be tendered for separately.
5. The Committee's first inquiry in the parliamentary session
was into the planning procedures for telecommunications masts
- a result of which saw the introduction of revised regulations.
The Committee took the opportunity to take evidence from key
organisations to examine whether the new procedures have addressed
the underlying concerns which led to the initial inquiry. The
Committee has given its views to the Executive as part of a
current research project on the new regulations.
2003-2004 Budget Process
6. The Committee considered the Scottish Executive's response
to its May 2002 report on the 2003-04 budget, focusing on (1)
how the priorities that had been identified in the Executive's
Transport Delivery Report would be funded and (2) the appropriateness
of the transport targets which had been set alongside funding
Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003
7. This legislation transposes the European Water Framework
Directive into Scots Law with its principal purpose being to
promote the sustainable management of Scotland's water environment,
through the creation of new river basin management plans.
8. The Committee raised a number of concerns at Stage 1 concerning
the financial impact of the legislation as well as recommending
that the Bill be strengthened in a number of areas, including
sustainable flood management; public participation in the river
basin management planning process; protection for wetlands and
changes to the planning regime in respect of fish farming developments.
By the end of Stage 3, the Executive had positively addressed
virtually all of the Committee's concerns.
9. The Committee believes that the Bill, as passed, was a substantial
improvement on the Bill which was introduced. The Committee
notes that Scotland's implementation of the Water Framework
Directive has been commended by the European Commission.
Building (Scotland) Bill
10. This non-contentious Bill sought to replace the outdated
Scottish building control system with more responsive and flexible
arrangements. At Stage 2, the Committee responded to concerns
by the Disability Rights Commission and amended the Bill so
building regulations specifically referred to access for disabled
11. The Committee considered 56 Scottish Statutory Instruments
(SSIs), of which 14 were subject to affirmative procedure and
42 negative. The Committee's scrutiny included evidence sessions
on SSIs which established the Cairngorms National Park and designated
a new Nitrate Vulnerable Zone.
12. The Committee devoted a substantial amount of time to the
consideration of petitions (24 new referrals during the reporting
year). Many petitions cited local complaints which had wider
national implications. For example, Fiona McLeod MSP reported
on a petition relating to a cattle incinerator sited in an urban
area, which highlighted general weaknesses in planning regulations.
Her work led to the Committee producing a report recommending
the need for a more integrated approach to planning and environmental
regulation, as well as stronger environmental protection enforcement
13. As well as new petitions, the Committee considered a number
of on-going petitions. For example, the Committee arranged a
parliamentary debate on its report on waste spreading on land,
which addressed issues raised by petition PE327.
14. The Committee met 29 times from 12 May 2002 to 26 March
2003. Of these meetings, none were entirely in private, and
26 were partly in private. The Committee considered 53 items
in private, of which 18 were consideration of possible lines
of questioning and 17 were consideration of draft reports. All
Committee meetings were held in Edinburgh.