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Chamber and committees

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Agenda: Decision on Taking Business in Private, Subordinate Legislation, Subordinate Legislation


Subordinate Legislation

Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2019 (SSI 2019/427)

The Convener

The next item on our agenda is consideration of two negative instruments: the Conservation of Salmon (Scotland) Amendment (No 2) Regulations 2019, and the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2019. Does any member have any points to raise in relation to the instruments?

Claudia Beamish

It is heartening that the science behind the salmon river gradings seems to be more granular. Although there are still concerns about wild salmon, which is an iconic and protected species, it seems that we are in a better place than we were a few years ago—even if not in relation to the whole north Atlantic issue.


Rachael Hamilton

I still feel slightly uncomfortable about it, because I do not feel confident about the socioeconomic impact that it will have, although I completely understand the science and the conservation aspect. There is a real balance to be struck. My nervousness comes about because we do not have all the data or the projected new methodology that will be used after the end of the moratorium. I wonder whether the moratorium might be extended.

Those points have been noted.

Mark Ruskell

I was quite reassured by the evidence and the lack of concern from stakeholders this year. Salmon is a protected species, and we should be restoring its status in Scotland. I am interested in what will sit around the regulations in future, such as the investment in riparian planting and some of the wider ecological work that can be done to restore the status of the species.

I was heartened to hear about the economic impact study, which seemed to show that there are wider issues at play and that it is about not just the status of salmon but the changing nature of the angling industry and its offering, including making licences available on a daily or weekly basis.

I am content with the regulations.

Finlay Carson

We now have more confidence in the river gradings than we had in the past. They still seem to be very up and down, but they appear to have more of a scientific basis.

We need to look at the two different issues: the scientific information about preserving the salmon, which is vital, and the impact of the regulations and the river grading on the economy. We might need to consider how the Government can support angling clubs and rivers in the future. If we have a gap and a drop in anglers, we might not have the fishermen there in the future. That is really important.

I look forward to the Scottish Enterprise report, which might need to be part of another piece of committee work.

Yes—or something that we would want to flag up to our colleagues on the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee.

Are there any comments on the electricity works regulations?

Mark Ruskell

It might be useful to write back to the Scottish Government to get some clarity on multistage consent processes. I would find that useful. The regulations relate to consent processes under sections 36 and 37 of the Electricity Act 1989, but it would be useful to know what multistage consent processes are used across the planning and consent system. It is a complicated area, and it would be good to get some clarity on that.

The Convener

We can write to the Scottish Government to get clarity on that point.

Do members agree that we do not want to make any recommendations in relation to the instruments?

Members indicated agreement.

The Convener

At our next meeting, on 4 February 2020, the committee will hear from Scottish Government officials on the proposed draft Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 (Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land) Regulations 2021. That concludes the committee’s business in public today.

10:18 Meeting continued in private until 11:15.