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Summary

  1. The Environment and Climate Change Committee takes evidence on air quality in Scotland
  2. Topical questions features a question on decreasing farm incomes
  3. The Environment and Land Reform Committee leads a debate on deer management in Scotland
  4. The Rural Economy Committee leads a debate on crofting law reform
  5. Green MSP John Finnie leads this evening's member's debate on ship-to-ship oil transfers on the Cromarty and Moray Firths

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all for today folks

    That concludes Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 2 May 2017.

    Scottish Parliament

    We're back in the morning with the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee will take evidence from Fergus Ewing on the digital strategy.

    And don't forget first minister's questions is tomorrow at 1.30pm! 

    Join us for extensive coverage as ever.

    Until then have a lovely evening.

  2. Scottish government expects stakeholder views to be taken into account

    Paul Wheelhouse

    Mr Wheelhouse says he hopes the secretary of state will take on board legitimate views of local stakeholders. 

    The business minister says there are a wide range of stakeholders and the Scottish government expects their views to be taken into account. 

    Mr Wheelhouse says the Scottish government will hold the secretary of state for transport to account on decisions. 

    He says he hopes the secretary of state listens and thinks carefully about the application when it is submitted.

  3. Minister says it is remarkable UK government did not consult with Scottish government

    Protestors on Nairn Beach
    Image caption: Protestors on Nairn Beach

    Mr Wheelhouse says the decision as to give a licence is reserved to the secretary of state for transport at Westminster.

    The minister says the UK government must listen to advice from Scottish National Heritage.

    He says the Scottish government will press the UK transport minister to consult with it and take heed of the Cromarty Rising petition.

    Mr Wheelhouse says the UK government has conducted a light touch review but remarkably did not consult with the Scottish government.

    He says the UK transport minister has been made aware of the Scottish government's feelings around this.

  4. Scottish government does not have planning powers in this particular case says minister

    Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse says he takes to heart the feelings of those who live along the Firth. 

    Mr Wheelhouse says the first minister has made the government's position clear and the government remains unconvinced that the ship-to-ship oil transfers should take place at this location.

    Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse

    The business minister says the Scottish government has no power over this and that it is a matter reserved to the UK government. 

    He says the UK government failed to devolve powers to the Scottish government and it is not even recognised as a consultation body.

    Mr Finnie intervenes to say if the government is saying that it can do nothing then it is a "dereliction of duty". 

    Mr Wheelhouse says the government does not have planning powers in this particular case. 

  5. Background: Petition with more than 100,000 names opposes ship-to-ship oil transfers

    A licence is to be sought for ship-to-ship transfers of oil in the Moray Firth
    Image caption: A licence is to be sought for ship-to-ship transfers of oil in the Moray Firth

    Campaigners fighting against planned ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth have handed a petition with more than 100,000 names to Highland Council.

    Port of Cromarty Firth has proposed the transfers of oil at sea. It has said the work could be done safely and without risk to the environment.

    In January, it withdrew an application for a licence for the operations and began preparations on a resubmission.

    The petition was handed to council leader Margaret Davidson.

    Campaigners oppose the planned transfers because of concerns that the operations would harm the environment.

    Read more here.

  6. Green MSP says there is a 'fuzzy boundary' between Westminster and Holyrood on the issue

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell
    Image caption: Green MSP Mark Ruskell

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell says communities on every side of the Forth rose up against the threat of ship-to-ship oil transfers in 2006.

    Mr Ruskell asks what has changed since then and says it "seems very little".

    He says there is still a "fuzzy boundary" between Westminster and Holyrood on ship-to-ship oil transfers.

    Mr Ruskell highlights the failure of the UK government to even consult the Scottish government on its review on the issue.

    He says Cromarty Rising and their community should be applauded. 

  7. A spill 'would be devastating'

    SNP MSP Gail Ross

    SNP MSP Gail Ross says this prospective application has raised concerns across the Firth.

    Ms Ross says the difference with the operation being proposed is that oil would be transferred in an area of strong economic importance.

    The SNP MSP says people feel like they are not being listened to despite the Port saying that they are listening.

    She says a spill "would be devastating". 

  8. Tory MSP praises efforts of Cromarty Rising

    Tory MSP Liam Kerr
    Image caption: Tory MSP Liam Kerr

    Tory MSP Liam Kerr welcomes Cromarty Rising to the gallery and praises their efforts to get over 100,000 signatures to their petition to the UK transport minister.

    Mr Kerr says accidents can happen in ship-to-ship oil transfer.

    The Tory MSP says the Cromarty and Moray Firths are a beautiful and vital part of Scotland and are an extremely valuable part of the Scottish economy.

    He says if another application is submitted then the views of local must be taken into account and a full consultation must take place.

  9. All the facts should be on the table when the decisions are made

    SNP MSP Kate Forbes

    SNP MSP Kate Forbes says she supports many of her constituents from the Black Isle, some of whom are in the gallery today, who are against the proposals.

    Ms Forbes says the question at the centre of this debate is "why? Why risk it". 

    The SNP MSP says she looks forward to reading the response from the UK government to the petitioners. 

    She says the Scottish government hears the concerns of the local community and says it will do all it can. 

    Ms Forbes says all the facts should be on the table when the decisions are made and there should be a proper formal consultation with the Scottish government. 

  10. Labour MSP says further application for ship-to-ship oil transfer would be a risk to far

    Labour MSP Claudia Beamish says Cromarty and Moray Firths are places of environmental significance.

    Ms Beamish says the additional risk of ship-to-ship transfer needs very careful assessment indeed.

    Labour MSP Claudia Beamish
    Image caption: Labour MSP Claudia Beamish

    Ms Beamish praises Cromarty Rising wich has the support of 27 community councils.

    The Labour MSP highlights the petition to the UK transport minister and the petition to Holyrood.

    She says a further application for ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Moray Firth would be a risk to far.

  11. Background: Forth oil transfer plan ruled out

    Plans for ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth were ruled out by the area's harbour authority in 2008.

    Forth Ports announced it was not proceeding with an application which was submitted by SPT Marine Services.

    The transfer plans had sparked fierce opposition from local councils, residents and environmental groups.

    The Scottish government welcomed the decision on the proposals to pump about 7.8 million tonnes of crude oil a year between tankers in the firth.

    Read more here.

  12. Cromarty Firth Port Authority seems to have paid no attention to the petition

    SNP MSP Angus MacDonald

    SNP MSP Angus MacDonald says he previously campaigned to oppose ship-to-ship oil transfers at the Firth of Forth.

    Mr MacDonald says ship-to-ship oil transfers have negative impacts to the environment and could have catastrophic consequences. 

    The SNP MSP says the Scottish Parliament would be better placed to protect the environment in these areas if the powers were devolved. 

    He says the Cromarty Firth Port Authority seems to have paid no attention to the petition. 

    Mr MacDonald says this would bring no new jobs to the area only risk. 

  13. Background: Protestors oppose Cromarty Firth ship-to-ship oil transfers

    Last December we reported a protest against ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth, which took place in Nairn.

    Cromarty Firth Port Authority wants permission to transfer millions of tonnes of crude oil at sea.

    The protestors gathered on Nairn beach
    Image caption: The protestors gathered on Nairn beach

    Campaigners around the Moray Firth said the risk of an oil spill would be catastrophic to the marine environment.

    But the port authority has insisted procedures are in place to prevent the accidental discharge of oil and said the risk of a spill was minimal.

    The Moray Firth is home to bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, minke whales and other marine and bird life.

  14. Tory MSP questions the need for ship-to-ship oil transfers in Moray Firth

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain
    Image caption: Tory MSP Edward Mountain

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain oil transfer in the Cromarty Firth for thirty years.

    Mr Mountain says there is no current proposal for ship-to-ship oil transfer away in the Moray Firth and there will not be one before October 2017, if at all.

    The Tory MSP questions the need for ship-to-ship oil transfers away from jetties.

    He says in the last 10 years oil spills from ship-to-ship transfers are rare.

    If the Cromarty Firth Port Authority submits a new proposal, Mr Mountain asks that they consult with the local communities like Cromarty Rising.

  15. Fears for marine life in Moray Firth

    Bottle nosed dolphin
    Image caption: The Moray Firth is home to bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, minke whales and other marine and bird life.

    The Comarty Firth Port Authority already has a licence to transfer oil between vessels tied to the quayside at the Nigg oil terminal.

    However, the authority now wants a licence from the Westminster government to conduct ship-to-ship oil transfers further out in the Cromarty Firth.

    The application has prompted objections from local people and politicians all around the Moray Firth.

  16. If something went wrong it would be 'catastrophic'

    SNP MSP Maree Todd

    SNP MSP Maree Todd says this subject is of interest to her constituents in the Highlands and Islands.

    Ms Todd says the potential environmental impact presents real concerns. 

    The SNP MSP says the case against this application has been made.

    She says the chances of something going wrong are slim but if something did go wrong in this particular area it would be "catastrophic". 

    Ms Todd says only the UK government can resolve this matter because it is reserved. 

  17. Background: Comarty Firth Port Authority

    Cromarty Firth Port Authority

    From the Comarty Firth Port Authority website:

    The Invergordon Service base was constructed in the 1980's and is owned and operated by the Cromarty Firth Port Authority; major tenants include offshore fabrication, logistics support and vessel agencies. There are 350 metres of alongside quay plus a further 145 metres of wet dock quay. Facilities include 43,600m2 of storage and fabrication land, 10,000m2 of quay area and 6,300m2 of car parking.  

  18. Background: There is also a petition at Holyrood

    As well as the petition to UK Transport Minister Chris Grayling there is also a petition at Holyrood.

    PE01637 calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish government to ensure that environmental legislation in Scotland is sufficient to prevent ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil in environmentally sensitive locations, such as the Inner Moray Firth, and to enhance the accountability of trust port boards to their stakeholders.  

    From SPICE: 

    In December 2015, the Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA) submitted an application to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), to obtain a licence for ship-to-ship (STS) oil transfers at anchor in the inner Moray Firth for a maximum of 8.6 million tonnes per year. 

    However, the MCA decided that the application needed more work, therefore the CFPA withdrew it. A new application is expected to be submitted in the coming weeks.