Raptor deaths

Following the shocking and unacceptable deaths of the raptors in Ross-shire I have written to the Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse. The raptor deaths are the latest in a long line of attacks on our iconic wildlife.

The Scottish Government are consulting on greater powers for SSPCA officers which Scottish Labour support however we believe the Government should be going further. I am calling on the Scottish Government to review wildlife crime legislation in Scotland and vicarious liability.

A copy of my letter to the Minister can be found below. Continue reading

Claire and Greener Kirkcaldy Shine on Fife for Earth Hour

On Thursday I held my members debate on local organisation Greener Kirkcaldy, following the debate we both teamed up to lend our support to WWF’s Earth Hour which takes place on Saturday 29 March.

The members’ debate followed my motion submitted following Greener Kirkcaldy’s annual gathering. The community based charity helps locals take action to ensure environmental issues are being tackled both at home and in the wider community.

It was great to get the opportunity to support and debate the hard work of Greener Kirkcaldy in the Scottish Parliament and promote their work to other MSPs and the Scottish Government.

Continue reading

Claire raises mackerel certification concerns

Yesterday in Parliament I quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment during Topical Questions on mackerel certifications.

The topical question was raised by Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands Jamie McGrigor following the breakdown of negotiations on the mackerel dispute with Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

The breakdown was extremely disappointing for both Scottish fishermen and the communities that rely on the industry. The dispute has been ongoing for far too long and all attempts at talks have failed to provide an adequate solution. Continue reading

Claire to debate Greener Kirkcaldy in Parliament

Local organisation Greener Kirkcaldy will this week be debated in the Scottish Parliament as Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker secured an opportunity to discuss the Fife based charity.

The charity helps locals take action to ensure environmental issues are being tackled both at home and in the wider community.

The organisation has ran initiatives such as Shine on Fife and Cosy Kirkcaldy with a consultation on plans for a community food hub currently running.

Continue reading

Air quality concerns raised as reports of 1,600 dying each year

This week in Parliament I raised a topical question on the recent air pollution monitoring results for 2013. The report found that more than over 20 streets throughout Scotland breach safety limits regarding air pollution. This follows a report that found that nearly 1,600 people in Scotland die each year due to particle pollution. 

In my questions to the Environment Minister I highlighted both reports and worrying statistics. With air pollution contributing to heart attacks and lung disease it is important that the Scottish Government is committed to tackling air pollution across Scotland. Continue reading

Common Agricultural Policy – Parliamentary Debate

This week I opened for Scottish Labour on the Government debate on the Common Agricultural Policy. Farming plays an important role in Scotland’s economy, society, and well-being.  Our agricultural sector not only produces food for our country and beyond, but also contributes to the vitality of our rural communities.  CAP reform is the opportunity to make sure the support, which is public money, is directed to areas where it delivers the widest public benefit.

When we consider some of the current payments – subsidy being given to land which is not actively being used, highly profitable businesses receiving significant sums of public money, while other areas receive no or little support but, it can be argued provide greater community and social benefit – this is an opportunity to deliver a fairer system that is clear about what it values.  Continue reading

Clear to see local community group at open day

It was great to be able to pop along to the open day at CLEAR Buckhaven and hear about the work that they carry out throughout the local community as they hosted an open day for the public to open their new office on 36 College Street Buckhaven.  

The Fife based community group was established by local residents interested in improving the surrounding area in Buckhaven along with the local environment with the aim to build a better Buckhaven.

Government must help low income families tackle fuel poverty

Yesterday in Parliament I called for the Scottish Government to use its Climate Change Fund to help low income households tackle fuel poverty and address climate change targets.

During General Questions I asked the Minister for the Environment what meetings had taken place between the Minister and his Housing counterpart to discuss measures to tackle fuel poverty. Continue reading

National Parks: Unfinished Business

Yesterday in Parliament I held a debate on National Parks in Scotland following a joint report by the Scottish Campaign for National Parks and the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland. The report, titled Unfinished Business: a National Parks Strategy for Scotland, rightly highlights that our landscapes in Scotland rank among the best in the world and that there should be a national strategy and a Scotland-wide debate on the way forward for national parks.

The establishment of national parks in Scotland was one of the early achievements of the Scottish Parliament and the Labour led Government with the legislation being steered through by my colleague Sarah Boyack. Our experience of existing national parks shows that they can bring a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits. Continue reading

Claire urges a Fuelgood Fife

After a visit to Parliament from Energy Safety Trust I have backed attempts to save money on fuel costs with FuelGood – an initiative to become a fuel efficient driver with the Trust and Transport Scotland. The initiative aims to teach drivers how to drive efficiently saving fuel and money at the same time. From just simple tips to a training session and even an app, FuelGood claim that if you become a fuel efficient driver you could save an average of £250 on fuel per year.

Tips include not idling if you are stationary for more than a minute, checking your tyres regularly, staying in gear and watching the revs. A FuelGood training session is a 50 minute one-to-one lesson with an approved driving instructor to put the tips into practice.