I beg to move,
That the draft Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (Consequential Modifications) Order 2019, which was laid before this House on
Thank you very much for the opportunity to debate this order this afternoon, Madam Deputy Speaker. The order is made in consequence of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, which I shall refer to as the 2014 Act and which received Royal Assent on
The order is made under section 104 of the Scotland Act 1998, which allows for necessary or expedient legislative provision in consequence of an Act of the Scottish Parliament. In this case, a provision is required in consequence of the aforementioned 2014 Act. I have talked about what has driven the requirement for better regulation. We have seen in all four nations a desire for better and more proportionate regulation. I think we all agree that that is required and it creates a more benign business environment for investors. In this case, which pertains to energy installations, it can deliver benefits for the environment.
The 2014 Act accelerated the procedure by which certain appeals are determined: first, appeals in respect of decisions taken on applications for consent for energy-generating station development; and, secondly, appeals against a decision to hold a public inquiry with respect to such applications for consent. If there is a challenge on those particular issues, the order will ensure that the same appeal mechanism applies whether there is a challenge against a decision of the Scottish Ministers on either an application for a marine licence or on an application for a section 36 consent for energy developments within Scottish internal waters, territorial sea and the Scottish part of the renewable energy zone—REZ. The order ensures that by making two amendments to the Electricity Act 1989 to extend a statutory appeals procedure to the Scottish part of the REZ. It does so by substituting a new definition of “relevant waters” to include those waters in the Scottish part of the REZ.
I note that a change to the definition of “relevant waters” was inserted into the 1989 Act by an earlier order in 2015, with the intention of providing for the statutory appeal. However, the change related only to renewable energy installations to be sited in Scottish internal waters and the territorial sea adjacent to Scotland, not the REZ.