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This Week in 60 Seconds

Lawrie Scott-McFarlane

A range of fantastic, exciting business will take place at Holyrood this week. On Tuesday, we’ll get a ministerial update on planning policy, which follows a Scottish Government’s consultation on the issue earlier his year. In other land-related news, the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill will go through Stage 2 on Wednesday at the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee.

 

Health is also up for debate this week. The Public Petitions Committee will be coming forward with a motion on mesh implants on Tuesday. The implant, which has been used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence in women, has left many patients with severe complications and disabilities. Currently, more than 400 women are taking legal action on the issue in Scotland. The campaign has received high profile backing, including from the Convener of the Health Committee, Neil Findlay, and the Scottish Government’s approach to the issue was the subject of some controversy earlier this year. Parliament will consider other health issues this week. Members’ Business debates on Sue Ryder and brain tumour awareness have been scheduled, and the Health & Sport Committee will take evidence on NHS budgets and targets.

 

Air quality is another big topic up for discussion. The Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee will hear evidence on the issue on Tuesday from Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham. The topic has been raised repeatedly by environmental and active travel campaigners, who have highlighted evidence of poor air quality in Scotland’s cities. In response, Low Emissions Zones are expected to be put into place across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Edinburgh by 2020. We can expect a formal update on how these proposals are progressing later in the week, as the Scottish Government is due to update MSPs on Thursday.

 

To mark Human Rights Day, which takes place on Thursday, Holyrood’s Equalities & Human Rights Committee is taking evidence from representatives of the Gypsy traveller community. The issue of discrimination against travellers came to the fore recently, following controversial remarks by Conservative MP, Douglas Ross, who said “tougher enforcement against Gypsy travellers” would be his number one priority as Prime Minister.

 

The Scottish Government is rounding the week off with a debate on sea fisheries. The topic has become highly charged since the EU referendum, with both sides of the debate in Scotland voicing strong criticism of the Common Fisheries Policy and claiming to be defending the best interests of the fisheries industry. It’s a particularly salient issue for the SNP and Conservatives as they continue to battle for voters across Moray and Aberdeenshire. Another hot rural topic, delivery charges, will also be debated this week thanks to a Members’ Business motion from former minister Richard Lochhead (Moray) (SNP).

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