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Response to Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill
Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, Scotland
(Filed 10 Nov 03)
Ms Catherine Johnstone
Asst. Clerk to the Environment and Rural Development Committee
Room 3.5 Committee Chambers
EDINBURGH EH99 1SP
November 10, 2003
Dear Ms Johnstone
Environment and Rural Development
Committee: petition 246
Thank you for your letter of 2 October 2003 offering
me the opportunity to comment on the general principles embodied
in the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill.
I have carefully considered your offer, and the
accompanying request for views on specific aspects of the Bill and
am grateful to you for the courtesy of this invitation. I have,
however, decided to decline your request, for two main reason which
might be worth stating as I think a very large number of people
in all parts of rural Scotland agree with me.
First, I am sick to death of replying to "consultations"
by Scottish Executive bodies who pay little or no attention to the
views actually expressed in those replies. I have made a detailed
study of the responses to The Nature of Scotland white paper which
presaged this Bill. I personally made copies of almost all the letters
lodged at the library in Broomhouse Drive and I see almost nothing
written there which has been incorporated in this Bill. Why should
I waste my time replying when all I will really be doing is giving
a fig-leaf of respectability to a consultation which is essentially
meaningless as the mind of the Scottish Executive is already made
up? Let the parliament take responsibility for its own Acts, without
asking members of the public to help provide bureaucratic cover
for contentious legislation through insincere "consultation".
Secondly, I think SNH is such an intellectually
dishonest and morally bankrupt organisation that I see no possibility
of reforming it. It is going to be given more powers by this Bill
and that will only serve to increase its arrogance and disguise
its incompetence. Abolition followed by re-incorporation into Ministerial
government is the only democratic solution.
I should be grateful if you would circulate this
letter to the members of your Committee.
Land-Care Editorial Comment
There is indeed widespread despair that the facade
of "consultation" is but a feeble disguise for the Scottish
Executive to carry out its political agenda irrespective of what
responses it receives, no matter what problems are highlighted by
persons with expertise in the field.
Here Ian Mitchell refers to the Nature Conservation
(Scotland) Bill. Will the 1386 responses to the SNH Draft Scottish
Outdoor Access Code (upon which the Land Reform (Scotland) Act depends)
meet the same fate (1) - the same fate that became of the previous
consultation on the same subject by the then Scottish Office in
It is a short sighted policy for the Scottish
Executive to set up numerous consultations only to disregard the
outcome. There can hardly be a quicker way to loose the public's
This is not the outcome Scots wanted to witness
when many important matters were devolved from Westminster to Holyrood.
1. Editorial (2003). Draft Scottish Outdoor Access
Lack of adequate public access to the responses to consultation
See Scottish Outdoor Access Code HOMEPAGE, filed 3 Oct 03, www.land-care.org.uk,
HERE TO VIEW
Further Reading Recommended by Land-Care
James (2003). Does SNH conduct itself as an honest broker, or as
a political manipulator?
See Scottish Outdoor Access Code HOMEPAGE, filed 25 Oct 03, www.land-care.org.uk,
HERE TO VIEW