Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Thursday) met with the Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham to press for a solution to the problems faced by farmers and crofters on the smaller isles as a result of restrictions on burning plastics.
At Portfolio Questions in September, Mr McArthur called for a targeted exemption under the Islands Act on the ban on burning plastics by farmers and crofters in the smaller isles. Responding, Ms Cunningham agreed to meet with Orkney’s MSP to discuss the matter further.
During the meeting, Mr McArthur again highlighted the disproportionate financial burden for farmers and crofters in the smaller isles on top of the high transport costs they already face.
In response, Ms Cunningham recognised the difficulties and agreed to hold further discussions with the Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing in order to find a workable solution.
Afterwards, Mr McArthur commented:
“The restriction on burning agricultural waste, including plastics, is a necessary step in the fight to reduce emissions and stem the plastic tide.
“Unfortunately, however, the requirement disproportionally penalises farmers and crofters in the smaller islands who don’t have ready access to the markets for plastics.
“The additional costs for storing and shipping have put many at an unfair disadvantage, compounding the problems already caused by high transport costs in and out of the islands.
“I welcome the Environment Secretary’s recognition of these challenges and her agreement to hold further discussions with the Rural Economy Secretary about potential solutions. It’s critical that we can find a way forward in the interests of protecting our environment but ensuring that farmers and crofters, who are often the lifeblood of these smaller island communities, are able to survive.”