Richard Lochhead MSP

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Richard Lochhead MSP

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  • Member for: Moray
  • Region: Highlands and Islands
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Richard is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment (Richard Lochhead)

Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Richard Lochhead

I make the obvious point that responsible dog ownership means that people get their own bags and look after their own dogs’ fouling on our streets and in our communities. I find it appalling that nowadays, when we go out into the countryside, we find little doggy bags on fence posts. They should be taken home and disposed of appropriately by dog owners. I hope that that message gets across in the future.

Another point that we agree on is that the total cost of littering is unacceptable to society. As members said, it is £78 million a year. At least £53 million of that is the direct clear-up costs and the other £25 million relates to its effect on a range of other issues such as crime, health and reduced property values. Over and above that, there is a further cost to the marine environment of £16.8 million each and every year, and that in turn impacts on our environment, wildlife, industry and tourism.

As Jamie McGrigor said, marine litter is not just about the impact on marine wildlife. It is also a significant issue for the fishing industry. Vessels participating in the fishing for litter initiative landed more than 374 tonnes of litter between 2011 and 2014, and it is estimated that the problem costs every vessel in the Scottish fleet as much as £17,000 a year. That is a considerable sum. All that cash could be better spent on other things.

We should also consider that the discarded plastic bottles, aluminium cans and other materials that we see would have been worth an estimated £1.2 million if they were recycled. If we reuse the resources that are dumped on our pavements, in our communities or at sea, we could get millions of pounds back, given the value of the materials.

In addressing the litter problem, the national litter strategy and the marine litter counterpart strategy, which were launched last summer, also seek to boost our economy. The priority, of course, remains prevention: there is a focused strategy for which all of us should take responsibility over the next four years, supported by our delivery partner, Zero Waste Scotland, which has already made £500,000 available to Keep Scotland Beautiful’s clean up Scotland campaign. Keep Scotland Beautiful has many challenges to deal with, not the least of which is cleaning up the mess that is left by litter louts. Quite rightly, it relies on local action being taken by individuals, groups, business and councils.

I am particularly pleased that clean up Scotland is celebrating local champions such as young Bronagh Dallas from Elgin in my constituency, who picks up litter every day on her way to and from school. The Northern Scot reported that

“the first thing she does when she gets home, before she does her homework, is go on a litter pick of the streets around her home”.

The article goes on to say that she

“even drags her mum and other family members out on litter picks after school and at weekends.”

Bronagh is an inspiration to her generation and to the rest of us, and is a worthy local champion, as are the many people who have been mentioned by other members.

I should also mention Pete Miners from my constituency. He patrols the River Lossie, and has done for many years, picking up marine litter. He posts on Facebook the pictures of what he finds; it is absolutely phenomenal to see the piles of marine and other litter that he collects on his daily walks along the banks of the Lossie.

With about half a million volunteer clean-ups taking place across Scotland, tens of thousands of tonnes of litter have been removed, so we owe a huge debt to the many hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country. That is a great achievement, but we still have a situation in which one in five adults admits to littering, so the problem persists.

We must remember that Keep Scotland Beautiful and our local authorities are not the only organisations with interests and responsibilities in the area. It is something that we all have to be part of—organisations, individuals and the private sector. I recently visited a McDonald’s restaurant in Elgin which undertakes activities around the restaurant and in neighbouring streets to collect litter. It is really important that the private sector continues to play its part as well.

In summary, the strategy that the Government has launched has three routes for dealing with the problem of litter. First, there is communication—highlighting what to do and explaining that litter is unacceptable. Secondly, we must ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is available for people to deposit their litter. Thirdly, there is enforcement as a deterrent to make people stop and think. We have already introduced higher fixed penalties—£80 for littering and £200 for fly tipping—to strengthen the deterrent, and we now have the carrier bag charge, which we hope will keep bags from being discarded in our streets, because people will be using bags for life and there will be fewer bags circulating. We also had a national marketing campaign in 2014, and there are on-going communications to keep the issue in the public eye. Finally, we are rolling out recycle-on-the-go points across some of Scotland’s busiest places.

I welcome this debate on a really important issue for Scotland. I hope that we can continue to work and collaborate across society to make littering socially unacceptable. As many members have said, it is socially unacceptable and it is a vandalism of Scotland’s environment and communities, so we have to deal with it. Let us keep working together, as Bruce Crawford says, to keep Scotland beautiful.

Meeting closed at 17:48.  

Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Richard Lochhead

I was referring to dog fouling in general, but I take the point that we should perhaps explore whether there is more that we can do in relation to farm land. I will have a look at that.

I hope that local authorities will use the existing fines that are available. A responsible dog ownership consultation took place recently and we are currently considering the responses. Dog fouling was part of that, and one of the clear messages that came across was that more needs to be done at local level with existing legislation.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment (Richard Lochhead)

I congratulate Bruce Crawford and thank him for raising this important issue in Parliament, and I thank all members who have spoken in the debate.

We heard that many members have been angered by the scale of littering in Scotland: woe betide any litter lout who comes across Christine Grahame, in particular. She is understandably angered by what we sometimes see in our communities and across Scotland’s beautiful landscapes.

I look forward to welcoming many people from across Scotland who are involved in the issue at the reception that will be hosted after the debate.

We all agree that litter is a disgusting blight on our communities and our coasts. It tarnishes our beautiful landscapes and, as members have said, it harms public health and our wildlife. Extreme examples of littering can drag down the morale of Scotland’s communities, as well. We all agree that the problem must be addressed.

Many members will identify with what I am going to say, and I will do my best to reflect on some of the points that members made in the debate. First and foremost is the fact that many different people are responsible for dealing with the issue. Our local authorities must, of course, be at the forefront of the fight against litter. Many local authorities in Scotland are doing a grand job; others could perhaps do more, as some members mentioned. I hope that they will do that.

There are other issues—this is not just about bottles, cans and fag packets. Members including Jackie Baillie mentioned dog fouling, which is a blight on some of our communities. Again, local authorities have powers to deal with that, so I urge those that are not using the existing legislation to explore whether they can do more to address the problem using the fines that are available.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Richard Lochhead

I would be happy to meet representatives from Unite to discuss their concerns. I give that pledge today.

Albeit that there is still some way to go in the negotiations, we have had repeated assurances that there will be no lowering of standards in relation to any shared agreements, but of course the issue remains a concern. The trade agreement, according to the European authorities, is all about coherence of standards and getting rid of duplication, but we must be absolutely certain that it does not lead to a lowering of the very high standards that are maintained by the Scottish agricultural sector and by the wider food industry sectors.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Richard Lochhead

As a big fan of Stornoway black pudding, I will ensure that the trade negotiation does not harm its fantastic status. However, until we see the black and white of the trade agreement, we have to make every effort to make representations to Europe and the UK Government about the need to heed the views of Scotland’s farmers.

I should say that the European Commission has repeatedly stated that consumer, health and safety and environmental standards will not be lowered and that, for example, there is no prospect of GM crops or hormone-treated beef being allowed into the European Union or the UK. However, until we see the black and white of the agreement, we will keep up the pressure on the authorities to ensure that that is the case. I will make a point of once again raising the issue with UK ministers following Christina McKelvie’s raising it in Parliament.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment (Richard Lochhead)

As Christina McKelvie knows, NFU Scotland gave written and verbal evidence to the European and External Relations Committee on 27 November. In that evidence, it outlined its concerns about the possible implications for food standards and geographical indication labelling, among other things. The Government has agreed to maintain a dialogue with the NFUS as the proposals develop and will ensure that its views are fed into the negotiations.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Richard Lochhead

As Alex Johnstone will be aware, one of the Government’s key objectives, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched a few weeks ago, is that of tackling inequality. I am sure that the member will welcome the fact that digital broadband is part of our discussions in that regard and that we want to ensure that tackling inequality in rural areas is very much part of the agenda.

I hope that what I laid out in my first response persuades the member that we are taking this issue seriously. There are years of neglect with regard to rolling out broadband across Scotland, but we are now addressing that, and it will make a difference.

With regard to the forms that farmers have to fill in, which they are being urged to do online these days, alternative methods are being made available for those who cannot get online. Facilities will be made available at local agricultural offices that farmers can visit if they do not have broadband facilities in their homes or farms, and they can submit paper copies if they have to.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment (Richard Lochhead)

The Scottish Government is working hard to ensure that everyone in rural Scotland has the same access to opportunities and services as is available to those in urban areas. Our new Scotland rural development programme will provide more than £1.3 billion for a range of initiatives across our rural communities and help to boost our rural economy and all the development that comes with that.

We are also investing more than £410 million in our digital Scotland superfast broadband programme, which will deliver fibre broadband access to 95 per cent of premises by 2018. Of course, that is being done in parallel with community broadband Scotland, which supports schemes in more rural and remote areas in Scotland.

Those initiatives will complement everything else that is happening across Government, which we do not have time to go into just now.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Richard Lochhead

I do not have figures for the benefits directly to Glasgow, but the benefits to Scotland, including all our communities, are evidenced by the growing economic contribution of food and drink overall to Scotland over the past few years. The sector is now worth £14 billion in turnover to the Scottish economy, and we believe that we are still scratching the surface. The year of food and drink is all about promoting and showcasing Scotland as a land of food and drink not only to people visiting Scotland but to people who live here, including people who live in Glasgow.

Sourcing more produce locally will have a huge economic benefit. It is good for local producers, businesses and suppliers. Given that I launched this morning a local food campaign called in season, which will run for the next few weeks, I should point out that we can enjoy healthy and nutritious food when it is in season, because we grow it on our doorstep. There are many benefits for Glasgow and the whole of Scotland from the year of food and drink.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment (Richard Lochhead)

Scotland’s natural larder will be showcased over the next 12 months at events the length and breadth of the country, including special events that are supported through a dedicated £265,000 fund, in order to raise awareness of the role of food and drink in our cultural identity and in shaping our country’s economic success.

There will be a range of events in Glasgow throughout the year, including a food and drink showcase event at the Drygate craft brewery, where around 100 local businesses will hear about the opportunities that are available throughout the year and about our quality assurance scheme, taste our best, which recognises businesses that are committed to sourcing local produce.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12423.1 Alex Rowley: Commission on Local Tax Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-12423 in the n
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12423 Marco Biagi: Commission on Local Tax Reform—That the Parliament supports the establishment
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.2 Patrick Harvie: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in t
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
>> Show more
YesCarried

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Richard Lochhead
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12343: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12096: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11825: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11642: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11598: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10284: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10052: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09836: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09333: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08857: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/01/2014 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 S2W-32678: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32679: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32685: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32692: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32680: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32683: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32684: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32681: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32682: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32693: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>

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