Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Movement from Fergus Ewing MSP in the right direction - letter to constituents re S2S oil transfers in the Moray Firth

We would still like to hear that the Scottish Government are strongly opposed to this proposal though and that they will submit an objection through Marine Scotland - this didn't happen when the first application went in. Here it is though a mail this observer received from Fergus this morning:

Dear Constituent,

Ship-to Ship Oil Transfers in the Moray Firth

I am writing to update you on the work I have been pursuing regarding the Ship-to-Ship Oil Transfers in the Moray Firth.

As the constituency MSP for Inverness and Nairn,  I have raised these concerns with my Cabinet Secretary colleague Roseanna Cunningham who has responsibility for the environment, including the marine environment.  Obviously our clean marine environment is not only essential for the continued good health of our sea life but is also critical for our tourism. This is vital for the whole of the Highlands and Islands as it is for Nairn.

Many constituents therefore believe, and believe strongly, that these matters are threatened by the ship-to-ship transfer, with the possibility of leakage and pollution, and vehemently believe that the application should be rejected.  The application falls to be considered under the law, which provides that the MCA determine such applications.   

Therefore, as the constituency MSP for Nairn, I have met with Roseanna Cunningham, as Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, where I conveyed to her the strongly held views of many constituents, who oppose the ship-to-ship transfer application. At that meeting I asked that she, on behalf of the Scottish Government, relay these concerns to the UK Government and the MCA.
I reiterated my view that the powers over all these issues be passed to us in Scotland, and not made in Southampton. She is now giving careful consideration to these matters, though of course she and we lack the legal power over them. 

We as the Scottish Government have of course already previously sought to have the legal powers over these matters devolved to Scotland and the Scottish Parliament.  

These requests have, as far as I am given to understand, been refused by the UK Government. 

Therefore, because of that decision taken by Westminster, the MCA remains the body responsible for dealing with these applications.  My colleague Drew Hendry MP is of course pursuing these matters in his work as Member of Parliament.

I wrote to the Chief Executive of the MCA, Sir Allan Massey, on the 12th of December 2016 asking at which stage the consideration of this application is and if information could be provided about what rights individuals have and what regard is given to local objection in the assessment of said application. I have enclosed the response I have now received from the Chief Executive regarding this matter.

Finally, I believe that the MCA should send senior representatives to the Highlands in order to hear the views of my constituents and others on this issue, and be willing to engage with them. They should arrange a meeting locally in Nairn in order to do so, to explain their role, their decision making process, the factors they take into account, and how and when they will take a decision.
I will be discussing the matter this week with the Chief Executive of the MCA, Sir Allan Massey, and will be asking that this meeting can be arranged prior to making their decision and be held by them with the opportunity for the local community to express concerns directly to those who have the legal duty to make the decision on this application.

I shall look to update you again on the situation following the discussions held later this week with the MCA Chief Executive.

Yours sincerely,

Fergus Ewing MSP
Inverness and Nairn  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm...what does all this say exactly?
He states that members of his constituency are opposed to S2S but doesn't appear to commit himself to being against it.
This stalling and diversion is not reflecting well on Fergus.