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Jim Hume (Liberal Democrat)
We are happy to speed up the whole process and look forward to prompt delivery.
As Mike Rumbles stated, several key issues should be addressed in bringing forward a Scottish marine bill. The Scottish Government must seek Westminster's agreement to the Scottish Parliament having exclusive jurisdiction over marine conservation out to the 200 nautical mile limit, and, as many members have said, there needs to be an integrated system of marine spatial planning. Those will build on our current powers over sea fisheries and offshore renewable energy. A bill that included a limit of only 12 nautical miles would not be a marine bill; it would be more of a beach bill. I am glad that the SNP supports our amendment.
It is vital that the Westminster and Holyrood bills complement each other. The Scottish Government needs to work constructively with the UK Government. The cabinet secretary was a little quick to name and blame Westminster, and I assure him that the people of Scotland are fed up with the SNP line of blaming Westminster for all that is wrong. I look to him to give us details of and assurances about discussions. Perhaps the Minister for the Environment will refer to the issue when he winds up, but is the cabinet secretary making progress on obtaining the essential control over our seas out to 200 nautical miles?
I would like licensing arrangements to be aligned with proposals to protect the marine environment under the proposed bills. There are concerns that gas and oil have already been removed from the remit of the marine management organisation that will be set up under the UK marine bill, and there is no guarantee that its remit will include carbon capture and storage.
We want MMOs—as they may be called—to be fully involved stakeholders. Ensuring that that will happen will involve many different Administrations. Sarah Boyack mentioned Wales, and Rob Gibson
Licensing for offshore storage of natural gas and carbon dioxide needs to take full account of the environmental risks and should integrate with future provisions for managing and protecting the marine environment.
Liberal Democrats welcome a better, more streamlined approach to marine conservation and management. We welcome the introduction of a Scottish marine bill, and we look to the cabinet secretary for assurances that that will happen sooner rather than later. The Scottish Government should not delay the delivery of better marine management, and I sincerely hope that, in co-operation with Westminster, the cabinet secretary will make every effort to secure more devolved power for the Scottish Parliament. I look for support from throughout the chamber for the Liberal Democrat amendment.