After section 19

Part of Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:30 pm on 9th November 2005.

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Photo of Mr Mark Ruskell Mr Mark Ruskell Green 3:30 pm, 9th November 2005

The bill is innovative. As a result, scrutiny of its effectiveness will be needed in parliamentary session 3. I am pleased that the Executive has responded to the committee's concerns and proposed an annual reporting structure that is quite robust. However, the committee is still concerned about the core functions of a gateway—especially the co-ordination of environmental assessments and the provision of the support, advice and guidance that need to follow the bill's implementation. We have debated whether those functions should be delivered by a gateway, an independent body or another organisation, but the important point is that they should be performed and we should not be in the same situation that arose after the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003, when bodies that were established to support community planning withered away.

That is why I lodged amendment 8A. I acknowledge what the minister said about the gateway, but if the functions are to be performed and implementation of the bill is to be successful, it is important for the committee to be able in session 3 to scrutinise how the functions have been delivered, regardless of whether that happens through a gateway or another structure. I appeal again to the minister to take amendment 8A in the spirit of amendment 8. We need such a measure in order to scrutinise the effectiveness of this innovative bill. I ask the minister to accept amendment 8A, please.

I move amendment 8A.