BREXIT COULD LEAD TO WEAKENED ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
13 January 2017
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
12 January 2017
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.”