Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

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The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee looks at matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

Background work on Common Frameworks

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

The Cabinet Secretary and Convener of the Committee also communicated by letter, to address questions that arose from Committee members following the evidence sessions, and to discuss Committee-related common frameworks.

Date Action
27 November 2019 The Committee received a joint letter from the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and the Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, updating the Committee on the key points from the meetings in September and October 2019, of the Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
26 November 2019 The Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform appeared before the Committee as it discussed Budget Scrutiny 2020-21.  The Cabinet Secretary was asked about common frameworks and advised that discussions were ongoing at official level but there were no agreed common frameworks and no timescale on how far off such agreements were.
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.  The Cabinet Secretary said with particular reference to chemicals common frameworks

“There are on-going conversations about a common framework; those have not been finalised, but they are moving on. This is one of the areas where engaged conversation is taking place.”

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.

Among the questions asked, there was a

-request for an update on the progress being made by the Scottish Government on identifying areas where common frameworks covering environmental issues may be required;

-request on stakeholder participation in discussions around the creation of common frameworks on environmental issues; and a

-request for information on what challenges may arise in the development of common frameworks and what steps the Scottish Government had taken to mitigate these.

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.