Claudia Beamish MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Claudia Beamish

Does the cabinet secretary agree that enhancement is vital because some areas are denuded? Recovery is not enough for our marine environment, and that is highlighted in the act itself.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Claudia Beamish

It is possible that, if the marine plan had not been delayed so much—I understand the reasons for that delay—we would not be in the situation that we are now in, with the judicial review.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Claudia Beamish (South Scotland) (Lab)

Scottish Labour values the opportunity for additional scrutiny that this debate on the draft national marine plan brings.

As the cabinet secretary has highlighted, the draft NMP must provide a vision and framework for the future, underpinned by sustainable development. Leading on from the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and supported by the statutory obligation, we must ensure that Scotland’s seas are sustainable and that marine biodiversity is at the heart of the plan, through the recovery, protection and—I stress—enhancement of the health of our seas.

At the start of this Scottish environment week I held a hermit crab in my hand here in the Scottish Parliament. It came out of its shell home to check me out as I checked it out. Its delicate grace and inquisitiveness were palpable. I carefully placed it back in a small tank, and I reassure members that the Marine Conservation Society returned it to the sea on Monday night.

From the families who marvelled at the sea lice—there we go—I mean the sea life in the small tanks in the Parliament on Monday, along with many others who enjoy our coastal waters and beaches, to the surveyors who map out new offshore wind facility sites, we all have a responsibility to treat our marine environment with respect.

Our sustainable marine industries—as the cabinet secretary said, they must operate within environmental limits—are fundamental to Scotland’s future. Our seas are vital for sustainable sources of protein from what it is hoped will be an increasing range of fish. The development of marine renewables helps us to meet our climate targets. We have oil and gas, and there is carbon capture and storage, which not many people have talked about so far in the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. We also have shipping, which is supported by ports and harbours.

In that context, the committee issued quite a hard-hitting report. It

“believes that the general policies set out in the draft plan provide an important framework and reinforce sustainability as an overarching principle ... However, the Committee is concerned that the draft, as it currently stands, is in parts too detailed and prescriptive and in other places too vague, and therefore requires amendment to make it fully fit for purpose.”

I acknowledge the point that the cabinet secretary made in his response to our committee, which was that

“The varying level of prescription reflects a number of factors including the current state of the evidence base, the differing levels of maturity of marine industries and their existing regulatory frameworks and consultation feedback to date.”

However, it is essential to have as much consistency as possible across all the sectors.

In the main, the general principles are robust and set out a clear framework for the future. General planning principle 5, which is on climate change, provides an example. It says:

“Marine planners and decision makers must act in the way best calculated to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change.”

It must be acknowledged that the Scottish Government does not prioritise any one sector over another. It is essential to respect the contribution that all marine sectors make to our economy and the jobs that they provide, but a tension in GEN 5 must be recognised as we address the challenges of moving towards a low-carbon economy.

Lucy Greenhill from the Scottish Association for Marine Science said in relation to the oil and gas industry that,

“As far as climate change is concerned, we have highlighted what seems to be a poor balance between adaptation to climate change and its mitigation.”

She also referred to

“the need to look at the different temporal scales on which effects are elicited on the environment, either at the protected area or species level or at the climate change level.”—[Official Report, Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, 7 January 2015; c 15.]

I emphasise that and ask the cabinet secretary to ensure that the issue is carefully assessed as the plan develops.

It is also necessary to focus on GEN 9, which is on the natural environment. It says:

“Development and use of the marine environment must ... Protect and, where appropriate, enhance the health of the marine area.”

As we are all keenly aware, some of our marine environment is in a poor state of health and is in need of recovery, and some is even denuded. It would be helpful if the cabinet secretary would outline now or in his closing remarks whether he is considering further guidance on enhancement for developers. Scottish Labour supports Scottish Environment LINK’s proposal for a further general planning principle on the subject, which would say:

“Sustainable developments and marine activities which provide protection and enhancement of the health of the area and which further marine biodiversity are encouraged.”

I emphasise, as the committee did, that existing activity must be sustainable. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has raised concerns about that. The draft plan highlights the potential for growth in the aquaculture industry. The demand for seafood is increasing as wild-catch resources are diminishing, so the weight of food security is falling more heavily on fish-farming businesses.

Increased Scottish aquaculture would produce thousands of jobs and more Scottish exports, and it would contribute to the upkeep of community services. The Scottish Government has set a target for an increase in aquaculture production of 50 per cent by 2020; I acknowledge that the increase is a good way towards to meeting that. Targets have been included in the draft plan and the key word must be “sustainable”. Environmental limits must be adhered to rigorously or the environment will once again pay the price for industry growth. Will the cabinet secretary assure us that there will be sufficient scientific research and expertise in place to monitor the increase? If the NMP is to function as a working document, it must be aware of and reactive to environmental changes as they arise.

We finally have the first marine protected areas, which is a great relief to all people across all sectors and the environment movement. My colleague Sarah Boyack will address whether they are robust enough, in our view.

Strategically, Scottish Labour is clear that although it is important to ensure that any modifications are included, the overriding aim should now be—as the cabinet secretary has acknowledged—to publish the national marine plan without more delays. There is, of course, a tension here, but what is needed now is the plan, which can be added to and built on.

The geographic information system, national marine plan interactive, must enable the plan to become a living document to which stakeholders can contribute and decision makers will refer. For instance, RSPB Scotland has new data on seabird foraging trips that could be added in order to inform marine planning. All the sectors have a responsibility to contribute to the process. Science has an essential role to play, and evidence can come from a wide range of sources. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation makes a strong contribution and citizen science will have an increasingly vital role to play. The Scottish marine science strategy will be key in drawing it all together. Will the cabinet secretary reassure Parliament that there will be adequate funding? I note his comment today that there is on-going funding for this area of science.

I turn to regional marine plans and marine planning partnerships. Voluntary groups and inshore fisheries have a strong part to play, for example in the Solway partnership in my region, and so do local authorities.

In his letter to the committee, the cabinet secretary explained that

“a phased approach will be taken”

—as he highlighted today—which in part will help to

“ensure that appropriate support is not spread too thin.”

It is reassuring that local authorities will continue to be represented on the marine strategy forum. However, training for assessment and monitoring of developments and conflict resolution when the marine planning partnerships come into being will still be a significant challenge. Assessment of cumulative effect will also be vital. Will some form of prioritisation by the Scottish Government become necessary as the years go on? In his closing remarks, will the cabinet secretary say more about support for training in local authorities?

Clarity is needed from the Scottish Government about when the review will be and what the processes are for public and stakeholder engagement. Scottish Labour looks forward to the time when the marine plan will be laid before Parliament and acknowledges the cabinet secretary’s commitment to make a statement to Parliament and to provide an opportunity for final questioning.

Scottish Labour and I, as a member of the RACCE Committee, wish everybody well, as we move forward to adoption of the national marine plan. It is indeed a delicate balance—in the words of the cabinet secretary—and one that so many people will want to ensure will work for the future of Scotland.

I move amendment S4M-12343.2, to insert at end:

“and hopes that the Scottish Government will respond favourably to the recent Rural, Climate Change and Environment Committee report to the Parliament; notes the importance of enhancing, in addition to recovering and protecting, the health of Scotland’s seas; notes the concerns expressed by the Don’t take the P out of MPAs (marine protected areas) campaign; recognises the significant challenges posed by taking forward the delivery of the plan and the importance of ensuring that there is capacity at regional level to assess and monitor developments and their possible cumulative effects, and recognises the value of the National Marine Plan Interactive in ensuring that the national plan and regional marine plans are living documents”.

14:23  

Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 18 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Claudia Beamish

The witnesses will know this, but for the record I point out that at present a crofting community body must be a company limited by guarantee. The amendment to section 71 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 will broaden the base of legal organisations to include Scottish charitable incorporated organisations and community benefit companies, or bencoms, and any other body “as may be prescribed”, subject to certain requirements.

The explanatory note on the amendments states that part 3 of the 2003 act will be brought

“into alignment with proposed amendments to Part 2 (community right-to-buy)”

and with proposed new part 3A, which is on the right to buy abandoned or neglected land without a willing seller. We are certainly getting into the detail here, but it is important to do so.

Do the amendments to the crofting community bodies section in the 2003 act—section 71—provide enough protection against personal liability for the trustees of such bodies? Will they provide reassurance for those who enter contracts with those bodies? More broadly, will the amendments provide flexibility for the situations that a crofting community body might experience?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 18 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Claudia Beamish

I am an MSP for South Scotland and shadow minister for environment and climate change.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 18 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Claudia Beamish (South Scotland) (Lab)

Good morning. I will turn our focus to sporting and business rates. You will be aware that the Scottish Government’s consultation on land reform proposes the reintroduction of sporting rates for stalking and shooting businesses. The consultation also said that the business rate exemptions for fisheries would be considered separately by ministers in response to the recommendations of the wild fisheries review, which you have been leading. Could you comment on whether you think that fisheries should continue to be exempt from sporting and business rates, and, if so, why?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
Claudia Beamish

You say that it is about delivering for your customers. Where do your responsibilities lie further down the supply chain? Can you highlight that for us, from your perspective?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
Claudia Beamish

I would like to ask about possible Government intervention at a whole range of levels. In written and oral evidence, a range of actions have been suggested at Scottish, UK and EU level, such as addressing the planning problems facing investment in processing, promoting export and possibly home market opportunities, and reducing or altering the EU intervention price for milk. Would any of the witnesses want to see particular actions taken by the Scottish or UK Governments to address current issues in the dairy sector? If so, what would those be?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
Claudia Beamish

Thank you. Could your remit be extended in any way in relation to the whole supply chain to give a hearing to suppliers and producers in the dairy industry, which we are looking at in our investigation?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
Claudia Beamish

I was not previously aware that you can make such recommendations, which is interesting. At first sight, that seems quite a strong power. In view of the difficulties that are being experienced through the supply chain, could you consider making a recommendation that you should be able to look at fair pricing?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12395.2 Patrick Harvie: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in t
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12382.3 Mary Fee: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion S4
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12382.1 Gavin Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12382.2 Willie Rennie: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to moti
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12382 Keith Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—That the Parliament recogni
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

Amendment 1 moved by Gavin Brown on motion S4M-12344 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland)
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Claudia Beamish
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12343.2: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11029.4: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10860: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10750: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09836.1: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09603: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09551: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09280.1: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09223: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08993: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Claudia Beamish
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-04069: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24505: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24506: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24504: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24333: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03992: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24024: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23721: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23723: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23722: Claudia Beamish, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/12/2014 Show Full Question >>

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