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UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021

Chapter 3 – Environmental policy strategy
Section 47 - Environmental policy strategy

170.Section 47 requires Scottish Ministers to prepare and publish an environmental policy strategy. Subsection (2) sets out the matters which must be included within the strategy. These are objectives for protecting and improving the environment, policies and proposals for achieving the objectives (or a summary or indication of such policies and proposals) and the arrangements for monitoring progress towards achieving the objectives.

171.Subsection (3) requires that, when preparing the strategy, Scottish Ministers must have regard to the desirability of securing environmental policy which aims at a high level of environmental protection, contributes to sustainable development, contributes to improving the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s people, contributes to objectives in policy areas other than environmental policy, integrates environmental policy objectives into the development of policies in other areas, and responds to global crises in relation to climate change and biodiversity.

172.Subsections (4) and (5) specify that the strategy may consist of one or more documents, which can include designated documents prepared before this provision was enacted or came into force. Scottish Ministers are permitted to designate one or more documents as forming the whole, or part of, the strategy. This approach will permit Scottish Ministers to bring together existing and planned strategies and plans covering topics such as climate change, the circular economy, waste, air and water quality to produce the strategy.

173.Subsection (6) requires that Scottish Ministers, when preparing the strategy, or any document which forms part of the strategy (and before designating any documents as forming all, or part of, the strategy) to consult such persons as Scottish Ministers consider likely to be affected by the proposals in the strategy or document, any persons which they consider have appropriate expertise or experience in relation to the matters covered by the strategy or document and any other such persons as Scottish Ministers consider appropriate. Subsection (7) allows for consultation carried out prior to this provision coming into effect to satisfy the requirement at subsection (6).Subsection (8) provides that before publication, the Scottish Ministers must lay a copy of the strategy, or any document forming part of it, before the Parliament, together with a statement setting out the details of the consultation on the strategy or document carried out under subsection (6), a summary of the views expressed in response to the consultation, and either details of how regard has been had to the views expressed, if any, in the preparation of the final strategy or document or a statement that no representations were received or that no account has been taken of the views expressed.

174.Subsection (9) places an obligation on Scottish Ministers to review the strategy from time to time, and enables them to revise the strategy, or any document forming part of it. Subsection (10) specifies that the requirements set out in subsections (3), (6) and (8) apply to the preparation and publication of any revised strategy, or document forming part of it.

175.Subsection (11) places an obligation on Scottish Ministers to have due regard to the strategy when making policies (including proposals for legislation).

176.Subsections (12) requires Scottish Ministers to lay a report before the Parliament containing an explanation of progress towards preparation of the strategy. The report requires to be laid before the end of each of the reporting periods specified in subsection (13) (which are one year after the coming into force of this section, and every year thereafter).

177.Subsection (14) specifies that the duty placed on Scottish Ministers under subsection (12) ceases to apply once a copy of the strategy (or any document forming part of it) has been laid before the Scottish Parliament in accordance with subsection (8), so long as consultation on the strategy (or any document forming part of it) has been carried out in accordance with subsection (6) after this section comes into force. This means that the annual reporting obligation will cease once a new strategy document has been prepared and presented to the Parliament under the provisions of this section.

178.Subsection (15) provides definitions of “the environment”, “environmental protection” and “making policies” for the purposes of this provision.

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