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To ask the Scottish Government how the forthcoming combined alcohol and drugs treatment strategy will provide targeted prevention, intervention and treatment for women, in light of the 169% increase in drug-related deaths in the last decade among women, which was recorded in the report, Drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2016.


Current Status: Expected Answer date 12/01/2018
To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the UK Government regarding establishing schemes that aim to attract more seasonal skilled labour across all sectors, such as the former Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 13/12/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions the Minister for Local Government and Housing has had with councils regarding the sustainability of services.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 06/12/2017

To ask the Scottish Government by what date it will publish the consultation on the introduction of compulsory video recording of slaughter at abattoirs, as set out in its programme for government.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (30/11/2017):

As announced in the Programme for Government, the Scottish Government will consult, by the spring of 2018, on the introduction of compulsory video recording of slaughter at abattoirs in Scotland to aid enforcement of welfare requirements by abattoir management and Food Standards Scotland.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 30/11/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what impact the illegal release of beavers could have on flood mitigation measures in the River (a) Tay and (b) Earn catchment area.


Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (29/11/2017):

The presence of beavers is not thought likely to have a significant impact on flood mitigation measures in the River Tay and Earn catchment areas. In the event that beaver activity such as burrowing or damming threatens flood mitigation measures, there are a number of management actions that can be taken. Detailed guidance on these is being developed by Scottish Natural Heritage, through a Scottish Beaver Forum which was established in May 2017.


Current Status: Answered by Roseanna Cunningham on 29/11/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what consideration the ongoing planning review is giving to surface water management and infrastructure.


Answered by Kevin Stewart (22/11/2017):

The planning review aims to strengthen and simplify the planning system, and to ensure planning better serves Scotland’s communities and economy. It brings a greater focus on delivering the developments Scotland needs, with the infrastructure to support it.

Reducing flood risk is a priority for this Government and we will continue to work to support responsible authorities to deliver actions that protect our communities; as well as raising awareness amongst the public and businesses.

Local Authorities and Scottish Water are working together to understand how drainage and sewerage systems perform in storm events. This information is essential to the delivery of infrastructure which delivers better value for money and creates healthier, safer and more prosperous cities that are fit for the future.

The increasing importance of water management and flooding issues is already set out in National Planning Framework 3 and Scottish Planning Policy. We will issue a fuller, collaborative programme for preparing NPF4 in due course, but currently expect its preparation to commence in 2018 with a view to adoption in 2020, and for the Scottish Planning Policy to be reviewed in parallel.


Current Status: Answered by Kevin Stewart on 22/11/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions it has had with VisitScotland regarding tourism in Ayrshire.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 15/11/2017

To ask the Scottish Government whether it has invited any research institutions to evaluate the work of the University of Queensland with regard to methane reduction in cattle by including seaweed in their diet, and to assess whether a Scottish application might be found for this research.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (25/10/2017):

Experts at Scotland’s Rural College were invited to consider these findings and advised that the reductions observed were based on laboratory based tests only, using seaweeds which are not native to Scottish waters. We remain keen to see how this research progresses and shall continue to monitor developments in this emerging research area.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 25/10/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what evaluation it has made of the claim made by the University of Queensland that including a certain type of seaweed in the diet of cattle can reduce their methane output by up to 90%.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (25/10/2017):

The Scottish Government is aware of this work as part of a wider assessment which it has undertaken on the potential for reductions in GHG emissions to be made through changes to livestock diets.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 25/10/2017

To ask the Scottish Government when it expects bovine viral diarrhoea will be eliminated from Scotland.


Answered by Fergus Ewing (28/09/2017):

It is not possible to accurately predict how long Scotland’s industry-led bovine viral diarrhoea eradication (BVD) eradication scheme will take due to the nature of BVD spread, the variation of farming practices across Scotland and the changeable market forces in play for those farmers sourcing replacement animals outside Scotland. Scottish Government will continue to work with industry, taking these factors into account to eliminate BVD from Scotland as soon as possible.


Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 28/09/2017