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Summary

  1. The Scottish FA gives evidence to the Sport Committee on child protection in sport
  2. Topical questions will see queries about teaching staff levels and families in emergency accommodation
  3. The Scottish government lead a debate on Article 50
  4. Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles leads this evening's member's debate entitled 'Blackhillock to Kintore Transmission Line'

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

Government will continue to liaise with National Grid on plans

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse
BBC
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse says it would be inappropriate for him to give a view on the lines.

Mr Wheelhouse says he has listened to the views expressed today.

The energy minister says there are protections to prevent unacceptable environmental damage with transmission lines.

He says it is the role of Ofgem to scrutinize planning applications for transmission lines.

Mr Wheelhouse says the government will continue to liaise with National Grid and partners to look into overhead and underground lines.

Background: From SSEN Blog

For SSEN, this year’s NOA report includes a change to the recommendation on the potential 400kV reinforcement project between Beauly, Blackhillock and Kintore that we have been developing to transport renewable energy from the north of Scotland. 

In last year’s NOA report the project was recommended to “delay” such that it could be delivered one year later than originally planned. 

However, in this year’s NOA report the project recommendation has changed to “do not proceed” which indicates that we should pause work on the project.

We note this outcome from this year’s NOA and will now begin discussions with affected parties (including generation developers and local communities) about how to take forward the recommendations.

'This is clearly a victory for people power'

Tory MSP Liam Kerr
bbc
Tory MSP Liam Kerr

Tory MSP Liam Kerr says he is delighted the National Grid Network Options Assessment means the work will not go ahead in the near future

Mr Kerr says: "This is clearly a victory for people power."

Background: Last year SSE revealed preferred 'corridor' for Beauly-Kintore line

The issue may be resolved for now, but last year Energy firm SSE selected its preferred "corridor" for an upgraded powerline between Beauly in the Highlands and Kintore in Aberdeenshire.

The existing line was to be reinforced so it can carry more electricity.

The corridor was the area of land in which the route of the upgraded line would be built. SSE made its selection from three possible corridors.

A map showing SSE's preferred corridor for the upgraded powerline
SSE
A map showing SSE's preferred corridor for the upgraded powerline

The company said it has sought to avoid historic sites and landscapes, such as Culloden Battlefield and Bennachie.

The battlefield is near Inverness, while Bennachie is a hill with a number of distinctive rocky tops in Aberdeenshire.

SSE says it has sought to protect historic sites such as Culloden Battlefield
DR JULIAN PAREN/GEOGRAPH
SSE says it has sought to protect historic sites such as Culloden Battlefield

SE said consent for the upgraded line could be sought from the Scottish government in 2019.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has previously raised concerns about the line being routed close to historic sites, such as Culloden Battlefield and the nearby Clava Cairns.

A Jacobite force led by Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated at Culloden by a government army in April 1746.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says it is good to have a wider debate on transmission lines

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
bbc
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says it is good to have a wider debate although this issue seems to have been resolved for now.

Ms Grant congratulates Mr Rumbles on the success of the campaign.

Tory MSP there could be a different answer next year on the Blackhillock to Kintore transmission reinforcement

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett
bbc
Tory MSP Alexander Burnett

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett says whilst the publication of a new National Grid options assessment is good news, there could be a different answer next year and that is simply not good enough.

SNP MSP welcomes the news that transmission reinforcement pylon plans are not going ahead

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead
BBC
SNP MSP Richard Lochhead

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead says it is not often that tabling a motion has such an immediate impact in infrastructure because plans have now been changed.

Mr Lochhead says he is not sure whether it is the 'power of his pen or coincidence" but he too welcomes the news that plans for the transmission reinforcement pylons are not going ahead. 

Lib Dem MSP hoping for a consensual debate

Scottish Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles says following a contentious debate he hope this one will be consensual.

Mr Rumbles thanks his colleagues for allowing him to bring this debate saying his party only get three member's debates per year. 

Scottish Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles
BBC
Scottish Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles

The Lib Dem MSP says there are several constituents in the gallery today who are affected by this.

He says decisions by the National Grid are visited annually and there is a possibility that it could change its mind on the transmission reinforcement.

"This is why I am bringing this debate he says". 

Blackhillock to Kintore transmission reinforcement

Mr Rumbles uses his motion to highlight concern that has been expressed by communities in proximity to Scottish and Southern Electricity Network’s proposed Blackhillock to Kintore transmission reinforcement regarding the development’s potential visual impact.

The Lib Dem MSP says the National Assembly for Wales unanimously passed a motion on 18 January 2017 endorsing the use of underground cables and alternatives to pylons where feasible, with a view to minimising the visual impact of such infrastructure.

Pylon
Thinkstock

He says there is a need for effective community consultation and the importance of incorporating feedback as a means for addressing such concerns.

Mr Rumbles highlights the outstanding natural beauty of this countryside, for example the area around Bennachie and says it must be protected

He also points to communities’ urgent calls for the existing plans to be the subject of substantial change and mitigation action in order for this to be achieved.  

Here is the motion for the Blackhillock to Kintore Transmission Line debate

Motion for the debate
Scottish Parliament

The Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill – UK Legislation is agreed unanimously.

The Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill – UK Legislation is agreed unanimously. 

Motion
Scottish Parliament

The appointment of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman is agreed unanimously

The appointment of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman is agreed unanimously

Motion
Scottish Parliament

BreakingThe Scottish government motion on Article 50, as amended, is agreed to

The Scottish government motion, as amended by the Greens, is agreed to with 90 MSPs voting for it and with 34 against.

Motion
Scottish Parliament
Greens amendment
Scottish Parliament
Chamber
BBC

The Scottish Lib Dem amendment is not agreed to

The Scottish Lib Dem amendment is not agreed to, with five MSPs voting for it and with 119 against.

Scottish Lib Dem amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Greens amendment is agreed to

The Scottish Greens amendment is agreed to with 72 MSPs voting for and 33 against and with 18 abstentions. 

Scottish Greens amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Labour amendment is rejected

The Scottish Labour amendment is rejected with 20 for and 102 against and with 2 abstentions.

Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Conservative amendment is rejected

The Scottish Conservative amendment is rejected with 31 MSPs for and 92 against and with one abstention.

Tory amendment
Scottish Parliament

Decision time

We now move to the all important decision time. 

Appointment of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

SNP MSP Bob Doris speaks to the appointment of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. 

Motion
Scottish Parliament

The way EU nationals living in the UK have been treated is 'shameful'

Mr Russell says the reality is that the government's suggestions on Brexit are "on the table" but it is the UK government that are refusing to compromise.

The Brexit minister says the Tories have a "closed view" of the process. 

He says the way EU nationals living in the UK have been treated is "shameful".

Brexit minister says JMC on Brexit is a 'profoundly dispiriting process'

Ministers from across the UK gathered for a meeting in Cardiff
Reuters
Ministers from across the UK gathered for a meeting in Cardiff

Brexit Minister Mike Russell says the Tories and some in Labour say the Brexit vote was a UK vote despite the devastation it will cause in Scotland.

Mr Russell says he recognises Scottish democracy saying "this is a Scottish Parliament, the people who voted for us are Scottish voters and they expect us to stand up for Scotland".

The minister says JMC is a "profoundly dispiriting process" but "we are trying to make it work, if only the UK government would do the same".

Tories 'a strange collection of people' says Brexit minister

Brexit Minister Mike Russell
BBC
Brexit Minister Mike Russell

Brexit Minister Mike Russell says the Scottish Tories are "a strange collection of people".

Mr Russell says they have no ambition and spend their time talking down Scotland.

The Brexit minister says "they don't want to be here" but there are no opportunities at Westminster. 

As both the SNP and the Tory benches bait one another Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame asks then to "calm down".

Tory MSP accuses SNP of grievance over Brexit

Brexit Minister Mike Russell asks why only one Tory MP voted against Article 50 which shows they were bludgeoned into the lobbies at Westminster.

Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw moves on and says when the prime minister gave clarification she was met with SNP cries of that is a disgrace, which is the definition of grievance.

Holyrood and Westminster
bbc
Debates on Article 50 carry on at Holyrood and Westminster

Mr Carlaw says amendments can be made at Westminster to the Article 50 legislation  but the SNP were unable to persuade MPs to select any of theirs.

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson says the UK government had to be dragged to Westminster to have a debate on Article 50.

Mr Carlaw again carries on with his argument.

He concludes saying this is a critical point and Article 50 will be triggered and it is now important to influence the actual debate that is taking place.

First minister not respecting the voice of Scots that voted to leave

Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw
BBC
Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw

Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw says we were told it was going to be a historic debate but the party that had the most members in the chamber throughout is the Scottish Conservatives.

Mr Carlaw says the Scottish government has not faced up to the fact that 38% of the people of Scotland voted to leave the EU.

The Tory MSP says, while the first minister talks about the voice of Scotland not being heard, it is impossible to see where she respected the views of those Scots who did vote to leave. 

'Labour will not support any SNP plan to impose another independence referendum'

Labour will not support any SNP plan to impose another independence referendum
bbc
Labour will not support any SNP plan to impose another independence referendum

Ms Dugdale says leave voters did not back Brexit to make themselves poorer.

She says: "Labour will not support any SNP plan to impose another independence referendum on the peope of Scotland."

The Scottish Labour leader says Brexit was designed to appease the very worst right wing of the Tories.

Ms Dugdale says it has been the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party which has time and again put Scotland's place at risk.

She says Ruth Davidson sits there without a word of regret over Brexit and says people are looking for the £350m promised for the NHS apon leaving the EU.

Labour leader not happy with result and fears what will happen

Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale
BBC
Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale

Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale says it is important that the chamber makes its voice heard but the ultimate decision is for the UK government and the Scottish government must respect this.

Ms Dugdale says she is not happy about the result and fears what will happen.

The Labour leader says to EU nationals living in Scotland "this is your home and you are welcome here." 

She says Article 50 should not be triggered right now.