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30 June 2011

(S4O-00086) Scottish Water (Coastal Pollution)

Roderick Campbell (North East Fife) (SNP): 5. To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions it has had with Scottish Water in connection with coastal pollution in Fife. (S4O-00086)

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson): The Scottish Government has regular discussions with Scottish Water regarding its operations and the delivery of its capital investment programme.

Roderick Campbell: The minister should be aware that there is a Scottish Water waste pumping station adjacent to the shore in Pittenweem, which is designed to transport waste to the treatment works at Pathhead. Overflow pipes from that facility are designed to carry material into the sea during those periods when the pumping system is over capacity. Given the worsening problems with effluent leakage from those overflow pipes—

The Presiding Officer: Can you get to a question, please, Mr Campbell?

Roderick Campbell: —directly on to the beach, will the minister undertake urgent discussions with Scottish Water?

Stewart Stevenson: We are looking at including waste sewage in the programme for Scottish Water from 2015. The previous programme focused on internal sewage flooding, but it is increasingly important that we regard external flooding as important. Ministers are already in discussion with Scottish Water on that subject.

23 June 2011

(S4O-00080) Flood Risk Management (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley)

Willie Coffey (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP): 9. To ask the Scottish Government how it will improve flood risk management in Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley. (S4O-00080)

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson): We are helping to protect communities throughout Scotland from flooding by working with our partners to implement the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 and by providing funding through the local government settlement for local authorities to continue to invest in flood protection schemes.

Willie Coffey: I thank the minister for that answer and also welcome the Scottish Environment Protection Agency consultation that will take place in potentially vulnerable areas. It highlights two areas in my constituency where the average losses are estimated at £16 million a year. Will the minister ensure that residents and businesses in my constituency are encouraged to participate fully in the consultation and that their concerns are fully considered as part of any decision-making process?

Stewart Stevenson: The SEPA consultation to which the member refers is very important and I encourage people across Scotland to respond to it. Through the identification of potentially vulnerable areas, we can see that perhaps as many as one in 20 homes and one in 14 businesses may be exposed to flooding risk. Individual members in constituencies can play their part in encouraging people to respond to the SEPA consultation. We will similarly play our part.

(S4O-00074) Animals (Abandonment)

Neil Bibby (West Scotland) (Lab): 3. To ask the Scottish Government what action it has taken to prevent the abandonment of animals in Scotland. (S4O-00074)

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson): The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 contains a specific offence of abandonment. A person who is responsible for an animal and who abandons it in circumstances that are likely to cause unnecessary suffering, or who leaves it unattended without making adequate provision for its welfare, is subject to a penalty of up to six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Neil Bibby: In these tough financial times, bills are getting harder to pay, and vets’ bills can be a shock to families’ monthly budgets. The minister might well recall the successful campaign with the slogan, “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.” Will he reassure me that he will work with animal charities and others to raise awareness of abandonment throughout the rest of the year?

Stewart Stevenson: I very much support the campaign for dogs for life—and cats and a wide range of domesticated and pet animals. It is important that we make adequate provision for those that we take into our homes. We take over responsibility for such animals, as we do for everyone in our houses.

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