RSPB Scotland welcomes new strategy to restore nature

Allie McGregor

Tuesday 25 February 2020

RSPB Forsinard Flows; view from visitor trail, including snow-capped Ben Griam, Highland, Scotland

RSPB Scotland welcomes new Environment Strategy published by Scottish Government today.

The Scottish Government have today published a new Environment Strategy which aims to restore nature and end Scotland’s contribution to climate change by 2045. RSPB Scotland welcomes the new document, particularly the recognition that nature is fundamental to Scotland’s wellbeing, and must be restored.

This publication is a positive first step to protect and restore Scotland’s environment for future generations. However, in order to ensure that the strategy delivers on its progressive ambitions, the Scottish Government must now develop a robust, well-resourced action plan for achieving each of the outcomes. Embedding the strategy in law, with targets for nature’s recovery, is also necessary to provide a shared goal across all sectors of society to achieve a better future for Scotland’s nature, climate and people.

The Scottish Government also announced that the Environment Strategy will form part of a post-Brexit framework to safeguard environmental protections in Scotland, stating that the Scottish Government will establish “a new independent public body to oversee compliance with environmental law” and embed crucial EU Environmental Principles like the “polluter pays” principle in law.

This is also welcome. RSPB Scotland, along with other environmental charities in Scotland, has been calling for a new Environment Watchdog which is truly independent from government, well-resourced, able to receive and investigate complaints about environmental protections and take enforcement action where necessary. These are critical tests that must be met in the Scottish Government’s proposals.

Aedán Smith, RSPB Scotland's Head of Policy and Advocacy, said: “We welcome the ambition to restore nature in the Scottish Government’s new Environment Strategy, released today. This is a positive step towards reversing the ongoing loss of nature and achieving net zero emissions in Scotland. However, delivering real change is now critical. This can’t therefore just be a strategy for Scotland’s environment, if we are to achieve its vision it needs to be a strategy for all Scotland. The next steps must include a clear plan of action for delivery, significantly increased funding for nature’s recovery and an environment watchdog with the teeth, resources, powers and independence to hold government and other stakeholders to account and protect Scotland’s amazing natural environment.”

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