BREXIT COULD LEAD TO WEAKENED ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

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ANGUS MACDONALD MSP & JOHN MCNALLY MP WARN BREXIT COULD SEE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION EROSION

SNP MSP for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald and his Westminster colleague for Falkirk, John McNally MP, have issued a stark warning about the protection of Scotland’s environment in light of Brexit.

The majority of the UK’s environmental protection laws were derived in Brussels and have ensured that the UK’s environment has improved dramatically from once being known as the “dirty man of Europe.”

These warnings come after the publication of a report by the Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe (SULNE) which has pointed to a complex series of challenges for Scotland’s environment post Brexit and in the worst case could lead to the loss of the EU’s enforcement protection of environmental law.

Angus MacDonald, MSP for Falkirk East, who sits on the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee, was keen to highlight these issues ahead of the Scottish Government outlining their Climate Change Plan on Thursday 19th January.

Mr. MacDonald said:

“Brexit clearly presents us with many different, complex challenges. However the importance of Scotland’s clean air, land and habitats for our wildlife and marine life cannot be understated. Indeed, they are some of our most important and valuable assets and these should be protected at all costs.

“It would be utterly regrettable if the UK Government, appearing to lean towards the hardest of hard Brexits, fails to realise this importance and chooses, instead, to continue down a pathway towards the environmental protection of the 1970’s. And there was little to nothing protecting Scotland’s environment then.

“The UK Government should be telling us exactly how they plan to strengthen the protection our natural environment after Brexit. However it would not surprise me in the slightest to find that, like the majority of Brexit planning so far, they are still staring at blank pages in Whitehall.”

John McNally, MP for Falkirk commented:

“A recent Environmental Audit Committee report suggests that protections for wildlife and habitats could be weaker after the UK leaves the EU if the Government doesn't take action before, or in the early stages of the Article 50. The findings show the need for the Government to allow full parliamentary scrutiny of its plans for the future of environmental legislation.

“It’s disturbing enough to hear economists predicting that a hard Brexit on Scotland could cost 80,000 jobs and cut wages by £2,000 a year. Now on top of that there is the threat to our environment. Scotland depends on the worldwide reputation it has for clean air and pure water. It is vital to the future of our homegrown produce that Scotland should be banking these environmental laws. They must not be diluted.”

FALKIRK COUNCIL GIVEN NEW POWERS BY HOLYROOD OVER PROBLEM GAMBLING

Falkirk Council logo on side of council building - Copy

Falkirk Council will be given powers to tackle problem gambling after a Holyrood committee backed changes to planning rules.

Under new rules councils will be able to block any change in premises to a betting shop, allowing Falkirk Council to tackle the clustering of betting shops.

SNP MSP for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald, has welcomed this devolution of powers, and has supported the campaign against the clustering of betting shops and fixed-odds betting terminals, which are connected to problem gambling and personal debt.

Commenting, Angus MacDonald MSP said:

“It is great news that Falkirk Council will have the power to stop the clustering of betting shops in our communities, a practice which has disproportionately affected many of our most deprived communities.

“While plenty of people enjoy a casual flutter, the proliferation of betting offices – often concentrated together – has led to serious cases of problem gambling and debt.

“Falkirk Council will now have the power to set limits that work and prevent reckless clustering – a big step forward for local communities across the Falkirk District. I hope Council officials and Councillors will make full use of these new powers.”

PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR WINTRY WEATHER CONDITIONS DUE THIS WEEK

Traffic Scotland Winter

SNP MSP ANGUS MACDONALD ENCOURAGES TRAVELLERS TO TAKE CARE AND FOLLOW WEATHER WARNINGS

Preparations for the wintry weather expected in Scotland this week are underway and the Scottish Government’s Resilience Team has coordinated a response.

The Met Office has issued several Yellow (Be Aware) warnings for snow and strong winds from Wednesday through to Friday. Deputy First Minister, John Swinney and Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, covered planning for all major modes of transport and the utilities at the Government’s meeting. The flood risk for Scotland remains low for the next few days.

Commenting, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald (Falkirk East) said:

“We will be seeing cold and windy conditions over the next few days and I would recommend that people in Falkirk district keep the weather conditions in mind when they are making their travel plans and leave plenty of time.

“The Scottish Government is making as much information available as possible to allow the public to make informed decisions, and has met with relevant stakeholders to ensure that all of the necessary planning has been done to mitigate the impact of the snow and gale force winds.

“The conditions will lead to some difficult driving conditions and strong winds may lead to road bridge restrictions on Wednesday, especially for high-sided vehicles. When combined with the sleet and snow showers there is also a risk of snow drifts on higher routes on Thursday and Friday.

“Traffic Scotland has a webpage that will link to all of the relevant websites for updates on ferries, rail and air travel - https://trafficscotland.org/links/index.aspx?cat=3

“Take care out there.”

Met Office Yellow (Be Aware) warnings are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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