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November 4, 2003 7:11 PM

Ross Finnie MSPThe Executive's programme for the environment and sustainable development for the next four years has been outlined at an event in Edinburgh.

Minister for Environment and Rural Development Ross Finnie gave the keynote address at the Centre for Scottish Public Policy conference "Working Together for a Sustainable Scotland".

Mr Finnie said:

"Our Partnership Agreement makes the Executive's commitment clear - we want a Scotland that delivers sustainable development; that puts environmental concerns at the heart of public policy and secures environmental justice for all of Scotland's communities.

"Safeguarding the environment is a priority for every Minister in the Executive and every department. I will shortly be meeting each Cabinet Minister to examine how their programmes meet that overarching commitment.

"Concern for the environment must not be reserved to government alone. I want to ensure that the whole of the public sector acts as responsible custodian. Our commitment to strategic environmental assessment, which I announced recently, is a vital component of this.

"Massive investment in Scotland's drinking water and waste water infrastructure and in the National Waste Plan provide tangible examples of our commitment.

"Under the National Waste Plan we have set out ambitious targets to transform the way we manage resources. Using resources more sustainably is about changing the ways in which we deal with waste and about changing public attitudes.

"I am determined, in partnership with my Ministerial colleagues and a wide range of stakeholders, to work together for a sustainable Scotland."

The Partnership Agreement made a commitment that "We will legislate to introduce Strategic Environmental Assessment to ensure that the full environmental impacts of all new strategies, programmes and plans developed by the public sector are properly considered". This will be implemented by a two-stage process, as announced by Mr Finnie on 23 October.

The National Waste Plan was launched by the Minister for Environment on February 24, 2003. This plan establishes the direction of the Executive's policies for sustainable waste management to 2020.

Implementing the National Waste Plan will:

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