Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

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The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee considers and reports on matters falling within the responsibilities of the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

Common frameworks considered by the Committee

Emissions Trading System (ETS) framework

At the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020, the UK will no longer participate in the EU Emissions Trading System . This carbon market is a key mechanism to incentivise decarbonisation from the “traded” sector (power generation, energy intensive industry and aviation within the EU, which collectively constitute around 25% of Scotland’s carbon emissions).

The UK Government and Devolved Administrations  intend to establish a UK Emissions Trading System (ETS), with Phase I running from 2021 – 2030. This could operate as either a linked or standalone system. The UK Government and Devolved Administrations have indicated that they would be open to considering a link between any future UK ETS and the EU ETS (similar to the approach taken by Switzerland), if it suited both sides’ interests.

Date Document
26 January 2021 The Committee wrote to the House of Lords Common Frameworks Committee as part of that Committee’s inquiry into post-Brexit Common Frameworks.
3 December 2020 The Cabinet Secretary provided an update on all the common frameworks in the Committee’s remit.
1 December 2020 The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee agreed to write to the UK Government and to its sister Committees in legislatures across the UK to highlight recent issues raised with regards to the above Common Framework.
18 November 2020 The Committee responded to the Finance and Constitution Committee’s letter seeking committees’ views on the impact of Brexit in the light of a number of developments, namely the Scottish Government’s proposed ‘keeping pace’ power and UK Government’s proposed internal market.
10 November 2020 The Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Committee with an update on the UK ETS subsequent to the Scottish Parliament approving the Order in Council on 9 September.
6 November 2020 The Convener wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for updates on the Emissions Trading System (ETS) and Radioactive Substances frameworks.
1 September 2020 Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform gives evidence to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee
24 August 2020 Note from Sandbag on the proposed UK ETS
4 August 2020 Letter from the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform to the Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee regarding the UK Government consultation on a Carbon Emissions Tax (CET) as an alternative carbon pricing mechanism, if the UK ETS cannot be linked to the existing EU ETS
15 July 2020 Further letter from the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform to the Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee regarding legislating for and implementing the UK Emissions Trading Scheme
2 June 2020 Letter from the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform to the Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee regarding legislating for and implementing the UK Emissions Trading Scheme

General consideration of common frameworks

The Committee held a series of evidence sessions with academics and the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform to discuss those common frameworks that may be required to protect the environment once the UK has left the European Union.

The Cabinet Secretary and Convener of the Committee also exchanged letters, to address questions arising from the evidence sessions and to further discuss potential common frameworks .

Date Action
29 January 2020 The Committee wrote to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee letting it know about the Committee’s correspondence with the Scottish Government on the Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill.
17 January 2020 The Committee received a response to its letter of 11 December 2019.  The response advised that “no UK common framework for agricultural support has been agreed, and it is not known whether there will be one.”
11 December 2019 The Committee wrote to the Scottish Government about the environmental impact of the Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill.  The letter asked to what extent would Scottish Ministers’ ability to exercise the powers proposed in the Bill be constrained by a UK common framework for agricultural support.
29 October 2019 The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform appeared before the Committee to discuss the UK’s exit from the EU and the environment.
24 October 2019 The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform wrote to the Committee on preparations within her portfolio for the UK’s exit from the EU. The correspondence included a section on common frameworks and advised that the work on the chemicals and pesticides framework was expected to shortly move into phase three.
27 September 2019 The Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and asked when the chemicals regulation and pesticides framework was expected to move into phase three.
26 June 2019 The Committee received a response to its letter of 29 May 2019, in which the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform set out

-how the Scottish Government intended to engage meaningfully with the Scottish Parliament on the proposed common frameworks

-the 5 phase approach in the Common Frameworks development; and

-ECCLR-related Common Frameworks.

29 May 2019 The Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary following her appearance at the Committee on 30 April 2019.
15 May 2019 The Committee held an evidence session with the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on the environmental implications of exiting the European Union.  The first questions put to Mr Gove were on common frameworks.
15 May 2019 The Committee sent a letter to the Convener of the Finance and Constitution Committee outlining the view of the Committee that the “principles of the devolution settlement and parliamentary democracy must be respected and maintained as part of the arrangements put in place ahead of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.”  The letter noted that:

-in some policy areas, common frameworks would be necessary;

-parliamentary influence and scrutiny would be essential at all stages of the framework – from introduction to evaluation;

-environmental principles should underpin all common frameworks;

-parliamentary scrutiny must be informed by stakeholder engagement.

30 April 2019 The Committee continued its work on common frameworks by questioning Professor Reid, professor of environmental law at the University of Dundee; the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations.
23 April 2019 The Committee held two panels on the EU exit and the environment focusing on environmental risks in two sectors – waste and chemicals.  Both sessions included discussion of common frameworks including to what extent stakeholders had been engaged in the development of common frameworks.
4 December 2018 The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, and the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy appeared before the Committee as it discussed the EU Exit and the Environment.  The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform noted that conversations on common frameworks were taking place, but at that time, there had been no agreement on how a common framework would work.
3 July 2018 The Committee wrote to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs seeking an update on progress being made in developing legislative and non-legislative frameworks that may fall within the Committee’s remit.
29 June 2018 The Committee received correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity and the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform which noted that the meeting of Defra and the Devolved Administrations in May 2018 included exploratory discussions on possible UK frameworks.
27 June 2018 The Committee considered the implications of the UK’s departure from the EU (Environment) and heard evidence via video link from Michael Gove MP, the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who updated the Committee on progress being made in the negotiations for the areas within the Committee’s remit that require a UK legislative framework.
23 April 2018 The Committee received correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity and the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform setting out the key points that had arisen from the Defra and Devolved Administrations Ministerial meetings held in February and March 2018.  Among the main items discussed were common frameworks.
20 March 2018 The Committee took evidence on the environmental implications for Scotland of the UK leaving the EU and heard from the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform on common frameworks that may be required.
12 March 2018 The Committee wrote to counterpart Committees in Westminster asking for an update on any work the Committees had undertaken on the EU Withdrawal Bill and the development of common frameworks.
22 February 2018 The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform responded to the Committee’s letter of 31 January, setting out a response to each of the questions asked in the  letter.
31 January 2018 The Committee sent correspondence to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, seeking responses to a number of questions on common frameworks that emerged from the meeting of 23 January.
23 January 2018 The Committee took evidence from two panels on the environmental implications for Scotland of the UK leaving the EU and heard from academics and stakeholders on common frameworks that may be required to cover environmental issues post Brexit.
8 December 2017 The Committee received a letter from the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity and the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform setting out the key points from the Defra and Devolved Administrations Ministerial meeting held on 6 November 2017.  At the meeting, draft proposals were presented, setting out what UK frameworks for agriculture and fisheries could look like.