Fresh fears HPMAs could re-emerge

A Highlands and Islands MSP has raised his concerns the Scottish government might resurrect controversial highly protected marine area (HPMAs) proposals.

HPMAs were shelved by the Scottish government in June after a backlash from coastal communities and from members of all parties in Holyrood.

Conservative representative Jamie Halcro Johnston said the government had already made a U-turn on the policy and believed it could make another. 

“We saw Green members of the nationalist coalition push back, claiming proposals were just delayed rather than dropped entirely,” Mr Halcro Johnston

Fellow Scottish Conservative MSPs Liam Kerr and Douglas Lumsden asked the government minister for environment if there was a possibility that the proposals could be reintroduced.

However, environment minister Gillian Martin failed to rule out the possibility.

Mr Halcro Johnston said any U-turn on policy would be a “green sting” in the tail of the nationalist coalition.

“It is crucial that any decisions regarding the management and protection of our marine areas are made in a fair and balanced manner,” he said. “With coastal and fishing stakeholders at the heart of any consultation and consideration.”

If it were false to say they would be introduced again, then the minister could have denied it, he added.


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