Last modified: 16 December 2015
Image: RSPB - Ben Andrew
The Scottish Government has today [Wednesday 16th December] announced its budget for 2016 which fails to allocate new resources to improving Scotland’s natural environment.
Commenting on this Lloyd Austin, Head of Conservation Policy at RSPB Scotland said: “Two weeks ago, a range of natural heritage organisations urged the Finance Secretary to be bold in his budget and to match the many world-leading environmental commitments the Government has made with the necessary resources to really deliver them. This followed the First Minister’s comments, at the World Forum on Natural Capital, where she highlighted how investing in the natural world was essential to help create a fairer society, a more sustainable economy and a healthier environment. Critically, she publicly committed the Government to be ‘looking to...make further progress...and lead by example’.
“It is disappointing therefore that this budget fails to do this. The draft budget does not propose any significant cuts to environmental spend which is some comfort. However, the budget for agri-environment-measures remains static and insufficient to halt the loss of biodiversity. In addition funding for SNH is cut by £5 million and for SEPA by £2.5 million. This continued salami slicing threatens the ability of the agencies to deliver.
“As the budget is considered by Parliament, it is vital that these issues are scrutinised and efforts made to ensure that their effects are minimised. The Government and its agencies are committed to highest environmental standards – and achieving 2020 targets for biodiversity and climate – these need to be met, both for their own sake, as well as for a more sustainable economy and healthier population.”