Archive for December, 2007

Harper Says – Use Our New Powers To Save Moray Firth Dolphins

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has today confirmed that oil and gas exploration may be given the go-ahead in the Moray Firth, which is home to a population of bottlenose dolphins. Scottish Ministers have the power to call in projects of this sort under regulations agreed with the Green MSPs following May’s election.

Robin Harper MSP, Scottish Green Party Co-convener, said:

“As part of our limited post-election negotiations with the SNP, we pressed them to change the law to give Scottish Ministers the power to call in commercial developments in the marine environment under the European Habitats Directive. The same powers will allow them to control this scandalous decision by Westminster to allow oil and gas exploration in the Moray Firth, which is a sensitive habitat not least because of the vulnerable dolphin population. This is a key test of SNP Ministers – will they defend Scotland’s marine environment or side with UK Labour?”

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Green MSP and Councillor Support Green Christmas Tree Scheme

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Green Lothians MSP, Robin Harper and Green Council Convenor, Alison Johnstone will be at the Bethany Christmas Tree at Morningside Clock, Morningside Road at 9.30am on Friday 30th November.   

For the third year running Scottish charity Bethany Christian Trust are running their excellent “Caring Christmas Trees” scheme where all money made by the Charity through sale of their trees, goes straight to helping homeless people in the cold winter period.  As well as the City of Edinburgh Council, churches, schools and businesses across the Lothians have ordered Caring Christmas Trees to help homeless people this winter.   Proceeds from the Caring Christmas Tree sales help fund Bethany‘s life-saving Winter Care Shelter service which is hosted in Edinburgh City Centre churches, and provides around 750 rough sleepers with overnight accommodation, hot meals and advice every night for 5 months during the winter.

Robin Harper said

Bethany offers a life-line to many people, providing essential services like shelter, heat and food.  If you’re going to buy a Christmas tree, please buy one that helps people out this winter.  The cost of funding the Care Shelter is around £100,000 so Bethany need to aim high, with sales of at least 4000 Christmas trees in Edinburgh needed.”

Councillor Johnstone said

“To keep costs down, Bethany needs about 400 volunteers to promote and distribute trees.  Using volunteers lets Bethany plough maximum profit into providing vital services for homeless people.  Do volunteer if you can and tell friends about the project.”

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Harper Hosts Childline Scotland Event

Tonight, Tuesday 11th December, Robin Harper MSP will host a special event for ChildLine Scotland.  Harper, a dedicated supporter and fundraiser for ChildLine Scotland will hand over a large cheque for £1000.00 to ChildLine at the meeting, to be held in the Scottish Parliament.

Robin Harper will lead the guests in a well-known and much loved Scottish song.  Mr Harper said

“ChildLine provides a unique and invaluable service for vulnerable young people.  It’s vital that this is funded sufficiently as it can make such a difference to these young lives.  It may be their sole source of hope.  I cannot thank those who volunteer for ChildLine enough.  They give so much of their time and compassion to help young people through difficult times in their lives.”

Robin Harper’s Festival Fringe Event has become an annual occurrence.  His show includes Robin and friends singing and playing guitar.   Robin donates all money raised from the show to ChildLine Scotland.

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Harper Warns SNP Cod Plan Could Reduce Stocks To Danger Levels Unless Action Is Taken To Reduce Discarding

Green MSP Robin Harper, speaking in advance of tomorrows annual fisheries debate, warned that SNP plans to support an increase in the total allowable catch of cod by up to 15% will result in cod stocks being reduced to danger levels, unless effective action is taken to reduce the dumping of out-of-quota fish.

Robin Harper said:

“Due to years of over-fishing Scotland’s cod stocks are still way below what they should be. We are now seeing small signs of recovery, but this must not be undermined if we are to have sustainable stocks for the future. Too many cod are being caught by boats fishing for other things, such as prawns, and then thrown over the side because there is no quota to land them. If there are any increases in cod quota, they must be accompanied by real action to ensure fisherman use gear that reduces the accidental catching of cod, and the introduction of an effective quota system for prawn fishermen and the like for any cod they do catch”

Harper added

“For many years I have been campaigning for an effective system of preserving young cod so they can reach maturity and help to rebuild a viable population. We need a system of closed areas, both at specific times and in specific places to protect the young fish. With these measures in place we can build a sustainable future for Scotland’s fishing communities as well as Scotland’s fish. Without fish there will be no fishing, without fishing no fishing communities”

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Harper Urges Support For Hate Crimes Legislation As Parliament Celebrates Equality And Diversity Week

Green MSP Robin Harper, speaking in advance of today’s debate in the Scottish Parliament on equality and diversity, urged MSPs from all parties to support Green proposals for new legislation on hate crimes. Green MSP Patrick Harvie’s bill will strengthen the law to tackle hate crimes against people based on their disability or sexual orientation. The move will introduce ‘statutory aggravation’ power to ensure that abuse and violence towards these groups is treated the same as racist attacks, and provide courts with clear and consistent sentencing powers.

Robin Harper said

“it is good news for equality and diversity that Patrick’s bill has already passed the minimum threshold of signatures from MSPs to allow it to proceed to the next stage. However, I will be asking MSPs to continue to sign up and indicate their support for Patrick’s proposals.”

Harper continued

“I first proposed action on this issue in 2003 (3). I think we are winning the argument for this legislation. I hope we can progress this as speedily as possible.”

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