Section 2 — Scottish Biodiversity Strategy

Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:45 pm on 5th May 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Amendment 45 moved—[Mr Mark Ruskell].

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

The question is, that amendment 45 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 1

For: Adam, Brian, Baird, Shiona, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Fox, Colin, Gibson, Rob, Grahame, Christine, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Kane, Rosie, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Margo, Mather, Jim, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, McFee, Mr Bruce, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Robison, Shona, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Sheridan, Tommy, Stevenson, Stewart, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinburne, John, White, Ms Sandra
Against: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Baker, Richard, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Fergusson, Alex, Finnie, Ross, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Mundell, David, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peattie, Cathy, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Rumbles, Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Tosh, Murray, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

The result of the division is: For 34, Against 78, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 45 disagreed to.

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

We have six minutes left to deal with group 2, which is on the Scottish biodiversity strategy. Amendment 21, in the name of the minister, is grouped with amendments 22 and 46.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

At stage 2, Nora Radcliffe lodged amendment 96, which inserted section 2(3A). That provision relates to the publication of lists of species and habitats that are of principal importance to the implementation of the biodiversity duty that we just debated. The subsection requires modification. For example, it does not provide for the revision, updating or replacement of any published list. Amendments 21 and 22 will make the necessary modifications.

Amendment 46 is intended to ensure that reports to the Parliament on the implementation of the biodiversity strategy contain details on the status of habitats and species. I reiterate what I said at stage 2 about such a provision. I remain clear that our approach to reporting must not be over-prescriptive. To augment the reporting requirements would be unnecessary and a waste of resources. It would duplicate reporting activity that takes place on the United Kingdom biodiversity action plan.

Reports on the UK biodiversity action plan, which will be delivered in Scotland through the Scottish biodiversity strategy, are already provided regularly in their own right and to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Those reports cover the status of all species and all habitats. In the past, we have distilled UK reports to draw out the Scottish elements, and work is under way to do that in the current reporting round. Given that the Scottish biodiversity strategy is our delivery mechanism for the UK BAP, it will take account of the current UK reporting processes. It will also take into account the new Scottish species list. To impose additional requirements would incur disproportionate spend, so I cannot support amendment 46.

I move amendment 21 and urge members to resist amendment 46.

Photo of Mr Mark Ruskell Mr Mark Ruskell Green

I am rapidly reaching the conclusion that statutory underpinning is viewed as a form of medieval torture in the Scottish Executive's Environment and Rural Affairs Department. Amendment 46 would introduce an even more basic requirement than that in amendment 45. All that it requests is that successive Executives should report to the Parliament on progress with the priority species and habitats. That requirement is so fundamental that I was surprised that the bill did not include it.

At stage 2, the minister said—as he said today—that several detailed reports would be produced, including a report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, so where would the massive costly waste and extra reporting that the minister talked about come from? A requirement for the Executive to report back to the Parliament on the progress of its own statutory strategies and its priorities represents, in the words of Nora Radcliffe,

"an irreducible minimum level of reporting".—[Official Report, Environment and Rural Development Committee, 28 January 2004; c 659.]

I will move amendment 46 in the name of sheer common sense.

Photo of Nora Radcliffe Nora Radcliffe Liberal Democrat

I welcome amendments 21 and 22. Amendment 46 mirrors an amendment that I lodged at stage 2, the provisions of which I decided not bring forward again at stage 3.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

I am reminded that the last person to rely on common sense was William Hague—and look what happened to him.

On behalf of the majority of members who applied their common sense to a critical analysis of what has been proposed, I resist the temptation to support Mark Ruskell's entreaties and refer members again to the fact that there will be not one or two, but three separate reporting mechanisms for detailing our record on preserving and conserving species and habitats. That will wholly fulfil our commitment under the proposed legislation. I urge members not to agree to Mr Ruskell's amendment.

Amendment 21 agreed to.

Amendment 22 moved—[Allan Wilson]—and agreed to.

Amendment 46 moved—[Mr Mark Ruskell].

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

The question is, that amendment 46 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 2

For: Adam, Brian, Baird, Shiona, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Byrne, Ms Rosemary, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Fox, Colin, Gibson, Rob, Grahame, Christine, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Kane, Rosie, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Mather, Jim, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, McFee, Mr Bruce, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Robison, Shona, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Sheridan, Tommy, Stevenson, Stewart, Swinburne, John, White, Ms Sandra
Against: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Baker, Richard, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Fergusson, Alex, Finnie, Ross, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Godman, Trish, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, MacDonald, Margo, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McConnell, Mr Jack, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Mundell, David, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peattie, Cathy, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Rumbles, Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Tosh, Murray, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan

Photo of George Reid George Reid None

The result of the division is: For 32, Against 78, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 46 disagreed to.