Wear it Pink!

uprightIt’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Now is asking you to Wear it Pink!  We all know someone affected by breast cancer and the money you raise will go into researching how to prevent cancer, how to detect it earlier and how to treat it.

Breast Cancer Now aim to ensure no one dies from breast cancer by 2050.  Since Wear it Pink started it has raised a phenomenal £28.9 million.  I hope you’ll help by contributing to this amazing work.  Even the smallest amount makes a difference.


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National Deaf Children’s Society – getting it right from the start

national-deaf-childrens-society-actionRepresentatives from the National Deaf Children’s Society were in the Parliament recently to publicise and raise awareness of their report – Getting It Right from the Start.

I was asked to explain to Joanne O’Donnell, from the Society, which picture to display on blocks without speaking in order to create a sequence.  It was really difficult and a powerful example of the challenges deaf people face.  This game helps parents of deaf children to develop communication skills.

The report highlights the attainment gap between deaf children and their hearing peers. The latest Government figures show that 11.8% of deaf learners left school with no qualifications compared with 2.6% of all pupils.

Getting It Right from the Start aims to drive up the standards of early years support for deaf children and their families by identifying the work needed to help children fulfil their potential.

I have written to the Local Authorities in my Region to understand more about their strategies and services for deaf children.  I have also encouraged each of them to get in touch with the National Deaf Children’s Society to find out more about the report.


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Tearfund working for climate justice

tearfundI was pleased to meet with Tearfund last week, a Christian relief and development agency committed to eradicating poverty.  It’s development programmes focus on the poorest areas of the world, working holistically with local communities to tackle the root causes of poverty.

Tearfund also responds to humanitarian disasters, and this year 1,423,765 people have benefited from their work.

I was particularly interested to discuss their efforts towards protecting poor communities from the effects of climate change. Many development agencies are working on climate change because they see the serious impact on the poor communities with whom they work. The world’s poorest people have contributed least to our changing climate yet they are hardest hit by the devastating effects. As Spokesperson for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, I am passionate about climate justice – both here in Scotland and abroad. We must ensure the transition to a low carbon economy is just.

Climate justice is an increasingly relevant issue and it is very encouraging to hear of the important work organisations like Tearfund are doing to protect others around the world.


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Opening of Route 74 cycle network

cycling-1-webIt’s exciting time for cycling in Scotland. Last month I was at the Community Links PLUS Award, which I thought up and helped take forward. This competition promotes active travel and was won by Glasgow City Council’s South City Way project. Now today, route 74 from Glasgow to Gretna was opened by Transport Minister Humza Yousaf in Lesmahagow.

The route which goes through Douglas, Abington and Lesmahagow is another safe space for cyclists and walkers to enjoy.

The National Cycle Network has done tremendous work to develop and connect our cycle and walking pathways. Encouraging people to walk or use their bike reduces road congestion, contributes to lowering our green house gas emissions and ultimately keeps us healthy.


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First Ministers Question on UK Climate Change Committee Report

The UK Climate Change report released its fifth report on Scotland’s progress towards meeting emission reduction targets earlier this week.

It is a requirement of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which sets out the targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 80% in 2050 relative to 1990 baseline levels.

As Spokesperson for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, I was keen to ask the First Minister what her response was to this report.

I welcome the progress the report highlights in renewable electricity and community and locally-owned energy projects (meeting the target for 500 MW of capacity five years early).

I am clear, however, that if we are to meet further targets, the Scottish Government will need to be more ambitious in other sectors. I highlighted the heaviest emitting sectors – transport, energy, housing and agriculture – which pose a serious challenge as we shift to a low carbon future. The Climate Change Plan, set to be published in draft this winter, will be another opportunity to push the Scottish Government on a new approach to hitting emissions targets, that will only get more difficult.

I was keen to ask the First Minister what assessment the Scottish Government had done of the technological advancements required, and whether she could reassure Scotland that appropriate funding and support would be provided.

The First Minister stated she would have the Environment Cabinet Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, write to me with more detail on this.

You can watch my question and the First Minister’s answer below. I will continue to push the Scottish Government to be bolder and embrace the challenges and opportunities that a low carbon economy shift will bring.

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Opening of the Clyde Walk Way Community Links Routes

img_2235On Friday I attended the launch of the Clyde Walk Way Community Links Route in the Popinjay at Rosebank. It was great to hear about the amount of work that has been put into this project by Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership who is made up of 10 local, regional and national organisations.

The main aim of this project was to link the communities on the shoulders of the Clyde into the walkway itself. This in turn will help the local communities understand and conserve their local landscape for years to come and also become more active! The five walkways which have been improved will link the settlements of Ashgill, Dalserf, Larkhall, Law and Crossford to the Clyde and can be used for cycling, walking and horse riding.img_2231

If you want more information on the paths you can download the PDF’s here.

I personally am looking forward to getting out and trying them myself- if the weather picks up!

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State of Nature 2016 report – concerning look at the nature of Scotland

Early morning view lying in the tent

This week the RSPB launched the State of Nature 2016 report, compiled by a coalition of 53 wildlife organisations. It provides the most accurate look at the status of native species across land and sea in Scotland.
The report highlights the damaging impact human activity and climate change have had on our native species and habitats. The report reveals some deeply concerning figures. Almost one in ten Scottish species are at risk of extinction, and 27% of the 218 species of bird in Scotland are red listed as a highest conservation concern.
Biodiversity Intactness Index ranks Scotland’s value in the lowest 5th of all countries analysed. Scotland is famous for its natural beauty, but this report shows that unless collective efforts are made, this is a reputation we risk losing.
For nature to flourish, it requires larger habitats, connected across the landscape. I commend the collaboration already underway towards a national ecological network. Linking our habitats is a vital step towards enhancing our native species, and improving the resilience of nature for the future. This applies equally to the further development of our Marine Protected Areas, which need to be joined up just as much as those on land.

Scotland’s nature is a right everyone should enjoy.

Read the report here – https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/whatwedo/stateofnature2016


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TAKE PART – NHS Centre for Integrated Care closure

HAVE YOUR SAYA consultation on the potential closure of the inpatient ward of the NHS Centre for Integrated Care in Glasgow is currently taking place. If the proposals are successful services will be provided on an outpatient basis only with no long stay facilities.

The Centre is Scotland’s only homeopathic hospital and specialises in individualised holistic care. Although located in Glasgow and entrusted to the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde the hospital accepts referrals from around Scotland.

I tried 3 times to raise this issue with Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport on behalf of constituents in a members’ debate, Save our Services, held by Jackie Baillie MSP, but my interventions were declined http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=10514

I would encourage anyone who will be affected by this change or with an interest to submit their views.

More information can be found here.

You can email your views or questions to lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

or call 0141 201 0375.



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Symington Station

In response to the Lanark Gazette’s recent article about re-opening Symington Station, I have submitted the following:

Dear Editor

Symington Station

For many years Councillor Ralph Barker has been working alongside the relevant communities to campaign for the re-opening of Symington station. I have been supportive of this work. Thus, I was delighted to see that South Lanarkshire Council have confirmed they will be exploring this possibility before the end of the financial year through a STAG report. Ralph has worked tirelessly to make sure the station was put back into the Council’s transport strategy, so what a great step forward!

I look forward to working with the Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, the Scottish Government, Network Rail and the communities to make this a reality. This would enable many local residents to access a range of train services more easily, including those from Biggar and the small villages, easing the stress of travel while also helping with our climate change targets.

Yours Etc,

Claudia Beamish MSP

Member of the Scottish Parliament for South Scotland.

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TAKE PART – wild salmon conservation consultation

HAVE YOUR SAYWe are six months on from the implementation of the marine conservation measures put in place by the Scottish Government to improve Wild Salmon fish stocks in Scotland’s waters. The Scottish Government has recently launched its proposed assessment for 2017, and they are looking for your views.

Representations should include any concerns about financial implications and the loss of income for clubs and associations.

The consultation will be open until 29 September 2016 and I would encourage anyone with an interest to make a submission.

When the Conservation of Wild Salmon proposals were initially put forward I supported a motion to annul these measures as I felt that there was scope for further negotiation with the EU on meeting our targets. This avenue should have been explored, especially given the concerns many have with the accuracy of the data used to assess the salmon stocks.  There is no doubt that this information needs to be more robust and more specific.

However, there is a desire with the conservation assessments to move to a river-by-river instead of grouped fishing districts which will give more detailed information and I will continue to monitor how quickly this progresses.



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