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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:47 pm on 12th March 2020.

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John Bynorth:

Anecdotally, I hear that the Scottish Government and civil servants talk quite regularly to DEFRA and other UK organisations—it would be stupid not to.

On air quality, we have two different strategies. The UK Government have the clean air strategy and Scotland has the “Cleaner Air for Scotland” strategy, which is currently subject to a review and will be refreshed and republished later this year. Within that, you have different sources of air pollution. The Scottish Government will be talking to DEFRA and there are continuous conversations, particularly about indoor air quality. Whether you are in Scotland or England, that does not change. Having different types of properties might affect indoor air quality, but it is fundamentally a national issue.

There is concern at the moment about the rise in ammonia from agriculture, particularly in Scotland. That is an issue where they will learn from what is happening down south with DEFRA. It is not just DEFRA; even though we have now left the EU, we should not shut the door. We have to keep the door open to the EU. There is a lot of really good work going on in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe that we can learn from. We need to keep the door open, although we have now gone and cannot do anything about that. Just keep the door open and learn from it.

There is close working, but it could always be better. Hopefully, the Environment Bill will improve that, as will Scotland’s environment strategy. We need to keep those conversations going.