Official Report


Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine Railway and Linked Improvements Bill Committee, 26 May 2004

Scottish Parliament
Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine Railway and Linked Improvements Bill Committee
Wednesday 26 May 2004

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: [The Deputy Convener opened the meeting at 13:15]

River Teith Candidate Special Area of Conservation

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The Deputy Convener (Rob Gibson): : I welcome members to the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine Railway and Linked Improvements Bill Committee's 10th meeting of 2004. Bill Butler has been held up elsewhere, but we have a quorum for the meeting, so that is fair enough. I remind members to switch off their mobile phones and pagers.

I invite the committee to consider the papers on the appropriate assessment for the River Teith candidate special area of conservation. Materials have been circulated and we received more news this morning, on which I ask Fiona McClean to update us.

Fiona McClean (Scottish Parliament Directorate of Legal Services): : Shortly before the meeting, we received a letter by e-mail and a separate e-mail from Alison Gorlov that said that the bill's promoter and Scottish Natural Heritage had reached agreement in principle on the mechanism by which they would ensure that mitigation measures were put in place and were legally enforceable. Obviously, we still require further details, but the promoter and SNH appear to agree about how to make progress.

The Deputy Convener: : That helps us to make a statement that will facilitate a decision about the matter before our meeting on 9 June. The committee understands that discussions have taken place between the bill's promoter and Scottish Natural Heritage about appropriate assessment for the River Teith and the mitigation measures that it will be necessary to put in place. The committee also understands that SNH has said that in principle it would be content to be party to the arrangements that have been informally agreed between the promoter and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The committee is pleased that progress is being made and it looks forward to receiving further details as soon as possible. The committee would like copies of the agreement and of the legal framework under which the agreement will be made and confirmation from the promoter on whether amendments to the bill will be required. The committee will then be able to consider the agreement and report to the Parliament on the appropriate assessment before the final stage. Does that cover what members require?

Nora Radcliffe (Gordon) (LD): : I think so. It is important for us to be assured that the mitigation measures are appropriate, effective and enforceable. It sounds as though the promoter and SNH are nearing something that will ensure that. It would be useful to have sight of the agreement before our meeting on 9 June. How far in advance of the meeting would the papers need to be received to allow them to be circulated, so that we could have a good look at them before the meeting?

Fergus Cochrane (Clerk): : We would probably ask for the material to be provided by 3 June.

David Mundell (South of Scotland) (Con): : It is important to convey that urgency, because we are operating to a tight timetable if we are to have the final stage debate in the last week before the summer recess. Any slippage could cause a significant delay. That must be restated to those who are involved.

The Deputy Convener: : I can only underline what members have said. As we agree to what has been proposed, we will proceed to try to obtain the information before 9 June, under the conditions that we have set.

Nora Radcliffe: : We want the information by 3 June so that we can consider it properly before our meeting on 9 June.

The Deputy Convener: : I am sorry; that is correct. Those are the specifics.

We have reached agreement and that is all that we have to discuss today. I thank members for their attendance.

: Meeting closed at 13:19.