SCOTLAND: Environment Minister assures EU that compliance will improve

The European Commission was given assurances by Sarah Boyack, Scotland's environment minister, that compliance with EU legislation will be given greater priority under devolution.

“Sarah Boyack came over to participate in Scotland Week,” John Edward of Scotland’s office in Brussels told edie. Under Scotland’s devolution agreement with the UK, environmental legislation and compliance with EU environmental regulations are a Scottish responsibility. The UK will remain the defendant if Scotland is taken to the European Court for infringement of EU law, but Scotland runs the risk of having to pay any Court-imposed fines itself.

Boyack met with EC officials to discuss specific areas of EU environmental legislation. The water, nature protection and waste management sectors have been cited in particular by Scotland Europa staff. “There are separate agencies in Scotland to deal with those sectors and Sarah Boyack has direct responsibility for those agencies,” said Edward.

Scotland’s office in Brussels opened earlier this year and Scotland Week took place between 11 and 15 October. One day during the week was dedicated to environment and sustainable development issues, with representatives from the Scottish Executive, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, East of Scotland Water and several Scottish local authorities present.

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