Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee
Meeting date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Agenda: Pre-budget Scrutiny 2021-22, European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, Subordinate Legislation
Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 (SSI 2020/281)
Agenda item 3 is consideration of a Scottish statutory instrument that is subject to the negative procedure. I believe that several members have comments to make.
I am content with the instrument, which is obviously extremely important, but I have a query that I think it might be appropriate for the committee to write to the Government about.
My query relates to the proposed responsibilities of the environmental standards Scotland body that is to be set up under the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill, which we are considering at the moment. I want to understand how the public sector reporting duty will apply to the new body. I understand that ESS will not have a direct responsibility in relation to climate change targets and that that responsibility is more for our committee. However, ESS will have a role in relation to adaptation, which the reporting duty will also apply to.
There seems to be a bit of confusion about the governance of public sector body reporting in relation to climate change and, in particular, about what role ESS will have—if any—in such reporting and making sure that we all tackle the climate emergency.
It would be helpful if we could also seek clarification—if the committee agrees to do so—on an issue that is highlighted in our paper on the instrument. It states that a short-life collaborative working group was convened by the Scottish Government to carry out a review of the reporting duties, and that that review found that
“The ‘procurement’ sections currently provide little meaningful data and do not effectively monitor how procurement policies are contributing to emissions reduction”.
Given what an important issue that is in the public sector, it would be helpful if we could seek clarification of how the reporting requirements have been developed in that respect and what the expectations are with regard to the instrument.
I am getting the message that, on the whole, we are content with the instrument, but we have a couple of queries that we would like to write to the Government about. If members are content, we will cover the issues that Mark Ruskell and Claudia Beamish raised in a letter to the Scottish Government.
At our next meeting, which will be held on 27 October, we will consider draft reports on the Scottish Government’s budget for 2021-22 and the committee’s green recovery inquiry.
That concludes the public part of our meeting.10:35 Meeting continued in private until 11:31.
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