Sarah Boyack MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

There still appears to be a challenge when it comes to the minister’s general aspirations and support for our magnificent museums service and the reality of the staff’s day-to-day experience. I raised the increase in part-time working in the museum with the minister last year, when she said that she could not take a prescriptive interest in the conditions of staff.

Having well-trained and committed staff is an issue given the cost of living in Edinburgh. PCS members have major concerns that their terms and conditions have been limited and that that is causing major hardship for many of the staff.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack

The review said that it is important to have protection orders but that the system needs an overhaul, and it has put together a package of reforms. Should we keep the protection order system? Do you support the recommendations and modifications that are recommended by the review? Additionally, do you agree that protection orders are necessary to protect fish populations, or might there be instances of their being used to prevent access to fishing?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack

I will take us on to what we know about mixed-stock fisheries. The review recommended that

“any licence application should take full account of current knowledge regarding the conservation status of fish populations in all destination rivers ... and where appropriate a precautionary approach should be adopted. The review recommended that where such an approach would result in catches being significantly below current levels, reductions should be phased in, to allow those affected to adjust.”

I am interested in the lack of scientific knowledge and in how we would address it. Has the review come up with suggestions on how we might fill the gaps in our knowledge? Is it right to take a precautionary approach in the meantime? I am particularly thinking about enabling us in Scotland to comply with our international obligations.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack

I was looking for the panel’s views.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack

I have a question on the provision of information, for local people or for those who come from the rest of the United Kingdom or abroad. To what extent would well-maintained websites help? People could research in advance, or would be encouraged to go to certain areas. To what extent would the new system that has been suggested help with that and to what extent are local organisations already doing that? People do not just go abroad and then bowl along to somewhere; rather they tend to check it out in advance. Are we doing that properly? Can it be improved?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack

I should say for the record, convener, that if my colleague Claudia Beamish were here, she would disagree with you, because she is quite keen on angling. I wonder whether it is important to bring this activity into schools and ensure that people can access it at an early stage before they think that it is only for men or for women. Is this partly about education and changing attitudes?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack

I am a Labour MSP for Lothian.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack

If you were to be able to define the terms “neglected” and “abandoned” in the bill, would that not go some way to reassuring the communities that are worried that the test of whether land is neglected or abandoned might cut across what the Government hopes to do in giving land a use that supports sustainable development?



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack

Thank you very much. That was very helpful.

Quite a few stakeholders have raised an issue about the term “sustainable development”. I note what you said about legal force and legal understanding, but the term “sustainable development” regularly appears in Scottish Government bills. If the terms “neglected” and “abandoned” are used and the objective of ensuring sustainable development is seen in the use of the land, what could the legal objection be? “Sustainable development” is a term that is understood and is being used in the courts.

I very much welcome the fact that what is proposed is a step on the way to ensuring that land is used in a way that supports sustainable development and I support the Scottish Government’s intentions, but the worry is that, if clear definitions are not provided and the term “sustainable development” is not included in the bill, that might cut across the ambition that you have in the policy memorandum to make a difference in many of our communities.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

Thank you for sending us the draft regulations for this part of the bill, minister. That has been incredibly helpful. I am sure that I will not be the last member to ask questions on this part, because the committee spent quite a lot of time discussing the issue before our stage 1 report. That was partly because of the weight of the evidence that we received from key stakeholders, but it was also because of the policy intent of the bill.

The policy memorandum is clear about the Government’s objective. It states:

“Land that is neglected or abandoned can be a barrier to the sustainable development of land”

and that the bill’s objective is to enable communities to have the opportunity to buy that land when other routes to getting access to its better use have failed. We have concerns that the phrase “neglected and abandoned” is mentioned in the bill, but sustainable development is not.

I want to kick off on the definition of “neglected and abandoned”. In her response to us, the minister said that “neglected” and “abandoned” take “their ordinary meaning” and are not to be defined in the bill. To paraphrase, she basically said that it is obvious to everybody what the terms “neglected” and “abandoned” mean.

My worry is that the matter is not that straightforward, whether the area is urban or rural. Everybody says that it is obvious in an urban area but not so obvious in a rural area. I have represented an urban area for quite a while. Even in that context, illustrating whether land has been neglected or abandoned is not necessarily straightforward.

You have said that circumstances will be set out in the regulations, but if a community wanted to establish that something is neglected, for example, what would happen if minor works had taken place on the land? What about works just to make a building safe and secure but not necessarily used? What about the question of whether planning applications are regularly submitted? There are questions about the issues of abandonment and neglect and how bad something has to be before ministers would consider it.

It is a concern that “neglected” and “abandoned” are not defined in the bill and that the policy ambition is to achieve sustainable development but that does not appear in the bill. What do you think about the representations that we made in our committee report? Why have you not felt able to date to take them on board and to agree to putting a statutory definition in the bill and using the words “sustainable development”, as you did in the policy memorandum?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

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

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

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

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

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
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NoCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
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NoCarried

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Sarah Boyack
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12445: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12435: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12422: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11655: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11592: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11357: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11302: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11033: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10989: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10903: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/09/2014 R Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Sarah Boyack
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24642: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24639: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24638: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24641: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24640: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-04078: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24614: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24617: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24616: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24613: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>

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