All change for environment portfolio at Holyrood as Lochhead stands down

scotlandThe Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food & Environment in Scotland, Richard Lochhead, has announced his resignation in advance of Nicola Sturgeon’s impending cabinet re-shuffle (see here).

This means there will be a clean sweep across the board for the Holyrood environment portfolio, following former Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod’s recent failure to secure re-election (see here).

This should be interesting, especially as some probing parliamentary questions about the Government’s stance on various wildlife issues have already been lodged as this parliamentary session gets underway (more on those questions shortly).

Are we going to see a new Cabinet Secretary with relevant experience and expertise? This is a position with wide-ranging responsibilities, not only for environmental protection, environmental justice, biodiversity, natural heritage, national parks, water quality, flooding, forestry, fisheries agriculture, but also food and drink, sustainable development, crofting, climate justice and then the small matter of land reform.  And will the new Cabinet Secretary’s junior Environment Minister be capable of actually doing something or are they going to sit on their hands and bleat out the usual fatuous platitudes for the duration of their term?

We’ll find out soon enough.

UPDATE 5pm: Roseanna Cunningham MSP is new Cabinet Secretary for Environment & Land Reform (here)


2 Responses to “All change for environment portfolio at Holyrood as Lochhead stands down”

  1. 1 Mr Greer Hart, senior
    May 18, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    This is welcome news; a purge of the ineffective and useless and those in thrall to the “establishment” magnates, who have used the land of Scotland as a battle ground in the past, and in the last two hundred years, as a vast shooting estate, cleared of indigenous people and wildlife, that may threaten the prey of their “sport”.

    A new breed of campaigner is needed, with regard to eventually making Scotland a more humane country. That type would have an ethical ability to recognise that animal welfare, the conservation of wild species of plant, insect and animal, along with a massive restoration programme of the environment, should be inextricably linked. For far too long valiant animal welfare groups such Scotland for Animals, Animal Concern Scotland and other similar organisations, have campaigned for stricter controls of what goes on in slaughter houses and fish farms, where disgusting cruelty can exist in the former, and the shooting of seals and birds in the latter. For too long has abuse of domestic and wild animals taken place, without proper penalties being imposed by our courts. We have witnessed repeated reports of our Birds of Prey, Mountain Hares and other creatures, having been killed by poison, snares and shooting. The whole Justice system has come under contempt with relation to this gross abuse of the wildlife protection laws. It has been long alleged, that locally, there has been a cosy relationship among those of the chain of Police, Fiscal Service and Judge/Sheriff wallahs, to ensure leniency for those arraigned for illegally killing wildlife. That persecution of wildlife, along with the hunting of animals with hounds, are anachronisms in a modern Scotland, with its massive public opinion of those offended by our politicians tolerating such abuse. Then we have the proposed ban on circuses using wild animals such as Elephants, Big Cats etc., with David Cameron not honouring his pledge to remove them, but kow-towing to the establishment circus families, who have been too long allowed to use animals in their entertainments. Scotland did allow one such family to winter its Big Cats on a farm here last year. Knowing public opinion on this matter, why did the authorities allow that to happen? Germany, the Netherlands and some other European countries now have Animal Welfare politicians. Even countries like Mexico and Colombia had public support to remove wild animals from their circuses.

    Our schools should have a programme of humane education to instruct young people in the ethical way of dealing with the natural world, pets, farming practice, and anywhere else where animals are being used by humans for commercial gain. Scotland has many negatives, and indeed leads the rest of the UK, and even Europe, in those relating to certain diseases, pollution, abuse of children and old people. Those who are cruel to animals have been shown to graduate to humans. Yes, Scotland’s politicians will have to pay more attention to what happens to other life forms, and not body swerve with the cliche to “people come first”. Children and old people seek the companionship of animals, and others delight in observing and finding recreation in the natural world. The SNP should not insult us with any more Dr Aileen McLeods, and appoint genuine incumbents who have a track record of being fully aware of the situation with regard to animal welfare and conservation of wildlife.

  2. 2 Tony Warburton MBE
    May 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Amen to all that Mr Greer Hart, senior.

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