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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee 11 September 2019

Agenda: Subordinate Legislation, Transport (Update)


Subordinate Legislation

Plant Health (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2019 (SSI 2019/242)

The Convener (Edward Mountain)

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the committee’s 24th meeting in 2019. I ask all people present to ensure that their mobile phones are on silent.

Agenda item 1 is consideration of one negative instrument, as detailed in the agenda. No motions to annul or representations have been received in relation to the instrument. Is the committee agreed that it does not wish to make any recommendation on the instrument, or does anyone have a comment?

Maureen Watt (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)

Is it public knowledge how many of the affected oaks were imported and where they are located?

The Convener

I do not think that it is public knowledge, but we could write to the Government to ask for further information on that, if you like.

Maureen Watt

That would be a good idea.

The Convener

Does the committee feel that that is a good idea?

Members indicated agreement.

The Convener

We will write to the Government. Do we agree that we do not wish to make any recommendations on the instrument?

Members indicated agreement.

Additional Powers Request (Scotland) Regulations 2019 [Draft]

The Convener

Item 2 is consideration of one affirmative instrument: the draft Additional Powers Request (Scotland) Regulations 2019. The committee will take evidence from Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands. The motion seeking the approval of the affirmative instrument will be considered at item 3. Members should note that there have been no representations to the committee on this instrument.

I welcome from the Scottish Government Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands; Jessica McPherson, head of local government policy and relationships; and Stuart Johnson, local government policy officer. Minister, would you like to make an opening statement?

The Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands (Paul Wheelhouse)

Good morning, convener and colleagues. For members’ benefit, I will make a brief opening statement, just to put something on the record.

The laying of the draft Additional Powers Request (Scotland) Regulations 2019 is the next step in the implementation of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018. As you may know, the Scottish Government has been working collaboratively with the six relevant local authorities to progress the regulations and the non-statutory guidance that will accompany them. The regulations will come into force in mid-November at the latest, subject to approval by the committee and Parliament.

It will be for the local authorities, in consultation with their own local communities and relevant stakeholders, to decide what additional powers they might seek to request from Government. Some areas that have been suggested in our engagement with local authorities are economic development, digital connectivity, fuel poverty, health and housing. As you might know, the regulations will sit alongside measures resulting from the local governance review that are being taken forward by Orkney Islands Council and potentially others.

I hope that that is helpful. I kept it brief.

The Convener

No one wishes to ask a question, so your statement has obviously convinced committee members.

Item 3 is formal consideration of motion S5M-18217, in the name of the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, calling on the committee to recommend that the draft Additional Powers Request (Scotland) Regulations 2019 be approved.

Motion moved,

That the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee recommends that the Additional Powers Request (Scotland) Regulations 2019 [draft] be approved.—[Paul Wheelhouse]

Motion agreed to.

The Convener

I will briefly suspend the meeting to allow a changeover of witnesses. I thank the minister and his colleagues for attending.

10:04 Meeting suspended.  

10:05 On resuming—