McGrigor secures debate on Western Isles SAC designations.

Jamie McGrigor, Highlands & Islands Conservative MSP, has secured a debate in the Scottish Parliament on his motion highlighting the concerns of his constituents in the Western Isles about the proposed designation of two Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in East Mingulay and the Sound of Barra.

The proposed designations by Scottish Government Ministers, advised by Scottish Natural Heritage, may mean potential restrictions on commercial activity in these areas, including fishing. Jamie’s motion will be debated in Member’s Business time on Wednesday 8th February. The debate has been secured after Jamie’s motion won the backing of Independent MSP Margo MacDonald and Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie.

Speaking today at Holyrood, Jamie, who is also the Scottish Conservative Environment Spokesman and who previously helped constituents defeat an earlier attempt to impose SACs in the Western Isles, holding a Member’s Debate on the issue in 2002, said:

“ I am pleased that I have been able to secure a slot for my motion to be debated as this means I will be able to raise in public in the Parliament the concerns that have been brought to me by constituents from the Western Isles and that the Minister for the Environment will have to respond to my debate.

“ I hope that we can have a constructive debate and that some of the specific concerns of local residents and fishermen can be addressed. Concern has focused on how SNH has handled the consultation processes and its use of scientific data to justify the proposed designations. Given the potential major impact on the ability of my constituents in the Western Isles to earn their living, it is vital that consultations are, and are seen to be, genuine, transparent and robust and that the scientific data being referred to is completely accurate.”