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Ministry of Defence (Environmental Discussions)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 9th November 2016.

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Photo of John Finnie John Finnie Green

7. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the Ministry of Defence in the last year regarding the environment. (S5O-00318)

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

Scottish Government and MOD officials have had a number of meetings in the past year to discuss a range of environmental issues, including protected areas, radioactive substances and MOD plans for the marine environment.

Photo of John Finnie John Finnie Green

I thank the cabinet secretary for that reply and for her reply last week to my written question that asked the Scottish Government to consider an assessment of the impact of the unmanned warrior MOD exercise. In that reply, the cabinet secretary said:

“As the competent authority MoD have responsibility for undertaking any appropriate environmental assessments under the relevant EU Directives or UK legislation.”—[

Written Answers

, 1 November 2016; S5W-03891.]

Will the cabinet secretary advise whether those environmental assessments have been shared with the Scottish Government? If not, could she request and publish them?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

The member is correct to say that the MOD is the competent authority that is responsible for all environmental matters relating to defence under the relevant EU and UK legislation. We discuss a number of issues with the MOD. There was a recent meeting with MOD officials to discuss the proposed Inner Hebrides and Minches special area of conservation for harbour porpoise. Marine Scotland also maintains a relationship, based on regular contact, with the MOD. Obviously, we want to assist the MOD, where possible, to deliver on its environmental obligations.

I will need to double-check whether we are able to publish the environmental assessments—because we do not own them, in a sense. I will get back to the member when I have established that.