Local Government and Communities Committee
1. The Committee saw merit in considering whether a date for the Plan's publication should be set in statute. It noted that this would provide certainty for Committees and stakeholders, as well as maximise the time available for scrutiny. (14)
- In light of this recommendation, we explored issues associated with timing of future Plans as part of our consultation on the forthcoming Climate Change Bill. Issues explored included the frequency with which Plans should be produced and alignment with the Paris Stocktake Processes (occurring in 2023 and every five years thereafter). Many respondents to the public consultation specified they wish Plans to be produced at least every five years, and there was a mix of views on whether Plans should be aligned to Paris Stocktake processes and if so how. In meetings of the Technical Discussion Group (established for key stakeholders to discuss elements of the Bill in depth), a consensus emerged that the most important factor is that Plans should be developed at least every five years, but that the dates for publication should not be prescribed in statute, to allow for alignment with Paris Stocktake Processes, elections and other events to be managed flexibly.
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee
1. The Committee considers transparency of the presentation of the draft Plan to be essential to the Parliamentary scrutiny process. Apparent changes to soil testing policy and the external development of the waste carbon envelope were identified by the thorough and determined pursuit of both issues by the Committee. The Committee recommended that the Scottish Government consider how future communications could more swiftly and efficiently aid the Parliamentary scrutiny process. (522)
- The Scottish Government will consider, and would welcome further discussion with the Committee around how its communications with Parliament on the Plan processes might be improved in future.
2. The Committee welcomes the briefing materials and presentation provided by the Scottish Government on the TIMES Model in advance of parliamentary scrutiny of the draft Plan. The Committee considers such advance engagement to be essential to assisting Committees prepare. The Committee recommends the Scottish Government provides information relevant to the consideration of the document, such as methodology and structure, to the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, no later than the October recess of a preceding year. (115)
- The Scottish Government would be pleased to provide background information relevant to future Plans in advance on parliamentary scrutiny of the document.
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, Local Government and Communities Committee, Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, and the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee
1. All four committees that provided scrutiny of the draft Plan recommended that the Scottish Government should review the time available for parliamentary scrutiny and use the opportunity afforded by the forthcoming Climate Change Bill to either remove the fixed period or extend the current 60 day restriction. (LGC 13, ECCLR 550, REC 14, EJFW 17)
- In light of these recommendations from the committees, the proposals for the forthcoming Climate Change Bill consulted on in summer 2017 included a proposal to extend the period for Parliamentary consideration. The consultation also sought views on how many days the consideration period should be. Respondents generally felt that the period for parliamentary consideration should be 90 or 120 days to allow for proper scrutiny and consensus-building. This will be reflected in the Climate Change Bill when it is introduced to Parliament in the coming months.