Aileen McLeod MSP

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Aileen McLeod MSP

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  • Member for: South Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Aileen is a member of the following Committees:

Aileen is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Aileen McLeod)

Meeting of the Parliament 08 January 2015 : Thursday, January 08, 2015
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Aileen McLeod)

I thank Christine Grahame for securing the debate and allowing me to clarify the Scottish Government’s position on the use of electronic training aids on dogs in Scotland.

I thank also all of those members who have spoken in the debate for their thoughtful and passionate contributions, to which I have listened carefully, and the various animal welfare organisations, such as the Scottish Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and OneKind, for their helpful and comprehensive briefings.

As members are aware, in 2007 the Scottish Government conducted a public consultation on the use, sale, distribution and possession of electronic training aids. The results of that consultation showed that this is a sensitive and controversial issue, with some animal welfare organisations being strongly opposed to the use of those aids and other organisations being strongly in favour of them.

The arguments against the use of electronic training aids are based on the fact that the devices can cause pain and distress; that, as we have heard, the devices fail to address underlying behavioural problems and leave the root cause of some problems, such as barking, suppressed; and that the devices can malfunction or can be used irresponsibly or in an abusive way.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 January 2015 : Thursday, January 08, 2015
Aileen McLeod

I will come on to discuss the arguments in favour of electronic training aids and the arguments against them. I know that a number of organisations are very much against their use.

Arguments in favour of the use of those aids are that much of the research has used a type of collar that is no longer in production; that modern devices use a lower voltage and can produce a mild tingle or a warning noise; that collars can be fitted with an automatic “time-out” so that the shock or pulse does not continue; and that, in some cases, training aids have been used to stop dogs worrying sheep, saving those dogs from having to be put down.

The responses to our consultation indicated that arguments for and against the use of the training aids were finely balanced with anecdotal evidence on both sides.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 January 2015 : Thursday, January 08, 2015
Aileen McLeod

My colleague makes a very good point, which I accept.

As Christine Grahame points out, the Welsh Assembly banned the use of electronic training aids in Wales under the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (Wales) Regulations 2010. The legislation, which came into force in March 2010, followed a review of the existing science on the topic conducted by the University of Bristol in 2006, three consultations and discussions with the European Commission. The legislation was unsuccessfully challenged by the electronic collar industry in a judicial review.

As members have highlighted, DEFRA commissioned further research from the universities of Lincoln and Bristol in the form of project AW1402 “Studies to assess the effect of pet training aids, specifically remote static pulse systems, on the welfare of domestic dogs” and the add-on project, AW1402a, which was a “field study of dogs in training”.

The welfare experts have been advising the Scottish Government and DEFRA, which have considered the research in full detail and context. They confirm that, although the research project AW1402a found some behavioural signs associated with stress during the training of dogs with electronic collars, the full range of other behavioural and physiological monitoring that was done did not at that point show significant differences compared with dogs trained without electronic collars. That part of the project also did not provide evidence of long-term adverse effects in dogs trained with electronic collars in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 January 2015 : Thursday, January 08, 2015
Aileen McLeod

I thank Christine Grahame for that point, which I will take on board.

I am conscious of time, so I will move on. A report from the Companion Animal Welfare Council entitled “The Use of Electric Pulse Training Aids (EPTAs) in Companion Animals” was prepared and published in June 2012. That consisted of a systematic review of peer reviewed scientific publications. The report made some useful recommendations on the design and use of electronic aids that can be considered. The Scottish Government supports DEFRA’s work to take forward some of the recommendations.

The Scottish Government and DEFRA concluded that a ban on electronic training aids cannot be justified on welfare grounds at this time but that improved guidance for owners and trainers is the appropriate way forward.

We fully support DEFRA’s work with the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association to draw up guidance for dog owners and trainers advising how to use e-collars properly. We also support DEFRA’s work with the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop a manufacturers’ charter to ensure that any e-collars on sale are made to high standards. I have listened carefully to the issues raised, and I emphasise that we will be keeping a close eye on the uptake and the effectiveness of the guidance once it is published. We are also watching what is happening in other countries.

Having listened carefully, I want to give some reassurance to members that the Government takes animal welfare seriously. As a new minister, I am sympathetic and open to us having further discussions on the issue. Today, I have asked my officials to arrange a meeting for Christine Grahame, animal welfare organisations and ministers to discuss what further action we can take on this important issue.

13:14 Meeting suspended.  14:30 On resuming—  

Meeting of the Parliament 07 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Aileen McLeod)

That is a matter for planning authorities. Local development plans should identify appropriate locations for new infrastructure and decisions on planning applications should protect residential amenity.



Meeting of the Parliament 07 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Aileen McLeod

The member will appreciate that I am not the minister for planning. Under the Scottish planning policy on the location of waste facilities, local development plans

“should safeguard existing waste management installations and ensure that”

new development

“does not compromise waste handling operations, which may operate 24 hours a day and partly outside buildings.”

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency regulates waste facilities either through a licence under the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011 or through a permit that is issued under the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012. Under section 36(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, SEPA cannot issue a waste management licence for land that does not have planning permission for that use. The licence and PPC permit conditions relate to the management and control systems for the activities that are carried out and the precautions to be taken—for example, the type of waste that is accepted and the storage and treatment processes. Those conditions must be complied with or SEPA will have to take the appropriate enforcement action.



Meeting of the Parliament 07 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Aileen McLeod)

Local authorities have the lead responsibility in assessing and promoting air quality. The Scottish Government has supported a number of councils across Central Scotland by providing them with practical and financial assistance in implementing their action plans, continuing to operate a comprehensive network of around 90 air quality monitoring stations and utilising the data to develop and inform policy initiatives.



Meeting of the Parliament 07 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Aileen McLeod

I agree that clear information needs to be available to the public to inform people about local air quality. For that reason, in 2007 we established the Scottish air quality website and database. The website allows members of the public to obtain alerts when high pollution episodes are forecast. Through the forthcoming low emissions strategy consultation, we will seek views on potential improvements that can be made to the consistency and clarity of communications regarding air quality, reflecting the potential number of pollutants that might be involved.



Meeting of the Parliament 07 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Aileen McLeod

The Government is committed to improving air quality across the country. We have seen significant reductions in pollution emissions over recent decades through tighter industrial regulation, improved fuel quality, cleaner vehicles and an increased focus on sustainable transport. We are meeting domestic and European air quality targets across most of Scotland, although there are still localised hotspots of poorer air quality in a number of urban areas. Scotland’s national transport strategy includes among its three strategic outcomes a commitment to improving air quality. Initiatives such as the green bus fund and the plug-in vehicles road map are making a major contribution to improving air quality.



Meeting of the Parliament 07 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Aileen McLeod)

As expected, early reports from some major retailers indicate reductions in bag use of up to 90 per cent since the introduction of the charge. It is encouraging to see that so many shoppers are now in the habit of reusing bags. We expect that those positive early indications will lead to a visible reduction in bag litter on our streets and beaches.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12182.1 Alex Fergusson: The Chilcot Inquiry—As an amendment to motion S4M-12182 in the name of N
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NoDefeated

S4M-12182 Nicola Sturgeon: The Chilcot Inquiry—That the Parliament calls for Sir John Chilcot’s offi
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12176 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the gene
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Aileen McLeod
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11703: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11529: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11479: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11207: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11091: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10677: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10663: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10639: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10521: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10520: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03710: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23008: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03660: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03573: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03550: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03504: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02243: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22137: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22136: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22139: Aileen McLeod, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/07/2014 Show Full Question >>

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