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Rural Affairs, Environment and Climate Change - Taking Forward our National Conversation

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1 Introduction and Overview

Introduction

1.1. Choosing Scotland's Future 1 is the basis for a National Conversation on the best form of government for Scotland. The aim of the National Conversation is to allow the people of Scotland to participate in an informed and extensive debate, where all options can be considered. The Government will bring forward the Referendum Bill in 2010 to give people a say on Scotland's future.

1.2. This report is part of that conversation, focusing particularly on the case for giving Scotland a more effective voice in Europe in relation to the environment, rural and marine issues and climate change. Although policy for these issues is largely devolved to Scotland, some more fundamental responsibilities are not.

1.3. The report also considers the recommendations of the Commission on Scottish Devolution relating to these topics. The Commission recommendations are essentially that, with a few minor adjustments, responsibility for these issues should remain reserved to the UK. However, the Commission's remit was constrained and it could not consider independence or federalism. Only the National Conversation allows us the opportunity to consider and debate all the options.

Overview

1.4. The report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 2 examines the situation in Scotland now in relation to rural, marine and environmental issues and to climate change;
  • Chapter 3 considers relevant recommendations of the Commission on Scottish Devolution ;
  • Chapter 4 discusses the options for Scotland under "devolution max"; and
  • Chapter 5 considers the options in an independent Scotland.