Please respond to the call for views in the template provided further down the page.
The Scottish Government introduced the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill (referred to as ‘the Bill’) on 18 June 2020. The Scottish Government explains that the Bill will:
a. Allow Scots law to ‘keep pace’ with EU law in devolved areas, where appropriate (Part 1 and part 3)
b. to ensure that there continue to be guiding principles on the environment in Scotland, and to establish an environmental governance body, Environmental Standards Scotland (Part 2)
c. to continue the role and functions of the European institutions in ensuring the complete and effective implementation of environmental law (Part 2).
The Finance and Constitution Committee (FCC) is the lead committee for considering this Bill and will focus on the constitutional aspects of the Bill. The FCC’s call for views is available on its own web pages.
The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLRC) is a secondary committee and it is focussing on the environmental policy aspects of the Bill. The ECCLRC would welcome your views on:
Part 1: Alignment with EU Law
• The environmental implications of the keeping pace power potentially leading to substantial policy divergence with the rest of the UK
• Whether having powers to keep pace, rather than a duty to do so, is the most appropriate way forward
• How keeping pace can be achieved, including within a common frameworks approach
• The voluntary approach to maintaining regulatory alignment with EU environmental law
• The limitation on the powers, including expiry after 10 years
Part 2 Environment: Chapter 1 - Environmental principles
• Whether the four principles are the right choice correct set and whether other principles or high-level objectives should be included
• Whether and how the principles should directly align to the statutory requirements to work to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change duties
• The powers to alter and remove the principles
• The duty to have regard to the principles – the scope, extent and limitations of the duty and the exemptions
• The limit on the application of the principles to environmental policy and regulation and whether these should extend to all areas of policy and regulation
• Whether the list of statutory consultees is appropriate and whether it should be extended on the face of the Bill to include, for example, SEPA and SNH
• The interplay between principles set by UK for reserved functions, and those set in Scotland for devolved functions
• The process of development and parliamentary scrutiny of the guidance on principles and duties
Part 2 Environment: Chapter 2 - Environmental governance
• The extent to which the proposals will address the governance issues arising from EU exit
• The limit of the obligations of ‘public authorities’ and the exclusions
• How the proposed model will align with that proposed for functions in the rest of the UK, and for reserved matters in Scotland, through the UK Environment Bill and any potential for gaps in the oversight arrangements; and the ability to co-operate and share data
• The proposed definitions including: public authority, environmental law, failure to comply with environmental law, the effectiveness of environmental law, environmental protection and environmental harm
• The proposed governance arrangements, and the procedures required to establish them – including the status and independence of the new public body (the ESS), its functions, powers, duties, structure, governance, membership and strategy
• How the proposals align with existing bodies with statutory functions relating to the environment, and other such oversight bodies such as the Scottish Information Commissioner, Audit Scotland and the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
• Alternative approaches to environmental governance
• Consultation on the Bill
• The adequacy of the impact assessments and statements including on sustainable development, equalities and human rights
• The costs associated with the provisions
How to submit your views
The call for views will close on Friday 31 July 2020.
Written responses should be sent electronically, in the template format only (see below), to [email protected]. Ideally, they should be no more than two sides of A4.
Before making a submission, please read our privacy notice (section headed Parliamentary business – Committees) about submitting your views to a Committee. This tells you about how we process your personal data. If you are under 12 years of age, please read this ‘Submitting Your Views to Committee: Young People’ section.
Written evidence template-
We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. Due to the time required to process and analyse evidence, submissions received after the closing date will not be considered. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to accept hard copy submissions on this occasion
EU exit co-ordinator
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee
If you have any questions, please contact the clerk at [email protected] (to submit written evidence, please use the [email protected] email address).