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Environment and Climate Change (European Union Referendum)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 27th October 2016.

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Photo of Alexander Burnett Alexander Burnett Conservative

Most people who voted in the Scottish referendum understood that there was the very strong possibility that there would be an EU referendum and made a choice in the knowledge that a referendum would happen. All of them believed in the democratic process and I hope that everyone in Scotland will continue to believe in it.

Returning to the debate, the SNP will blame its failures on the environment before Brexit for the reasons that it is failing the environment after Brexit. From missing targets to targets without end dates, the Scottish Government is failing our forestry sector. I can imagine the SNP briefing for this debate reading like a broken record: Tories bad, Brexit worse. The facts simply do not add up for the SNP in the sector. Forestry is one of our strongest areas—from timber production for paper, biomass or construction, wood is the most environmental product that we have, and we should have it in abundance in Scotland.

By leaving the European Union, Holyrood will get the powers over directives that affect our environment. Those powers cover the forestry strategy—unfortunately, it is riddled with shortcomings—and will give us an opportunity to create a bespoke Scottish model.