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Chamber and committees

Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee

Meeting date: Wednesday, May 11, 2022


Subordinate Legislation

Rural Support (Controls) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 (SSI 2022/107)

The Convener (Finlay Carson)

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the 15th meeting in 2022 of the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee. I remind members who are using electronic devices to switch them to silent.

Our first item of business is consideration of the Rural Support (Controls) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2022. I refer members to page 3 of paper 1.

Do members have any comments on the regulations?

Ariane Burgess (Highlands and Islands) (Green)

I would like the committee to ask the Scottish Government why it has chosen to make permanent changes through regulations 2 and 3(7)(b) and what the

“new approach of targeted inspections using relevant data and improved education and engagement with applicants”

means in practice, including what data the targeting is based on.

The policy note states:

“The 2022 Regulations will have no impact on stakeholders or members of the public as they simply assist and enable officials to carry out controls despite the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions.”

If the regulations mean that there will be fewer on-the-ground inspections on farms and crofts that have not complied with rules on protecting soil and water quality and environmental protection, is it not the case that they will have an impact on the local environment as well as on biodiversity and the climate and will therefore impact on the public? I would like the committee to ask the Government that question.

The Convener

Okay. That is fine.

As there are no other questions, are members content for me to write to the Scottish Government to ask the questions that Ariane Burgess has laid out?

Members indicated agreement.