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Last chance for planning reform to tackle the nature crisis

August 18th, 2022 by

A coalition of leading environmental charities has called on the Scottish Government to ensure imminent reforms to the planning system respond to the climate and nature emergencies.

Scottish Environment LINK has said that the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) falls short of the action required to reverse the crisis of nature loss.

1 in 9 species are at risk of extinction in Scotland [1] and, in a comparison of 240 countries and territories, Scotland is ranked as one of the most nature depleted countries in the world [2].

NPF4 is the Scottish Government’s long-term plan to guide where development and infrastructure in Scotland takes place. It will play a critical role to guide all planning decisions in Scotland for the next decade and beyond. It will also play a key role in supporting economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and addressing the climate and nature emergencies.

In response to the global nature and climate crises, the Scottish Government has set out ambitious targets to protect 30% of land by 2030 [4] and achieve net-zero by 2045. However, NPF4 does not yet go far enough to respond to the nature and climate emergency and meet these targets, nor will the current draft deliver the promised transformative change needed for Scotland’s planning system.

The Scottish Government’s proposed reforms of the planning system will require local authorities create “nature networks”, creating corridors of nature-rich landscapes, to reverse a crisis in biodiversity. However, environmental charities have said that the proposals lack a clear delivery mechanism and insisted that a joined-up, national approach is necessary.

Nature networks can play an essential role in delivering nature recovery by providing corridors for wildlife and natural regeneration, can provide multiple benefits for nature, climate and people, by creating and enhancing local spaces for nature.

We are told NPF4 will deliver this, but there is no description of what nature networks should be comprised of or how they will work in practice. There is little guidance for councils available, no duty to report their progress, and no sign of extra investment to support the work.

The final version of NPF4 will be laid before the Parliament by mid-Autumn. Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, Tom Arthur MSP, has confirmed that the Scottish Parliament will have at least six weeks to provide scrutiny. This is the last chance for the Scottish Government to ensure that the new planning system will deliver for nature.

 

Clare Symonds, Founder and Chair of Planning Democracy and Convener of LINK’s Planning Group, said:

Nature recovery is key to reaching net-zero and coping with the consequences of climate change.

“Scottish Environment LINK is pleased that there is recognition of the climate and nature crises and many of the policy changes are positive. However key aspects of the document remain incremental and fall short of the transformational approach required.

“We need real leadership and national coordination, with councils supported to deliver a joined-up, Scotland-wide network to restore nature. The planning system has the potential to play a key role in delivering meaningful change, but to do this planning policies need to be stronger to ensure wildlife and habitats are properly protected. To go further and enhance nature we need far greater commitment and investment.”

 

  1. State of Nature Report 2019 https://nbn.org.uk/stateofnature2019/
  2. Biodiversity Intactness Index https://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/biodiversity-indicators/biodiversity-intactness-index-data?future-scenario=ssp2_rcp4p5_message_globiom&georegion=001&min-year=1970&max-year=2050&georegion-compare=null&future-scenario-compare=null&show-uncertainty=true&min-biigraph-y-axis=0&max-biigraph-y-axis=100&min-factorgraph-y-axis=0&max-factorgraph-y-axis=100&underlying-factor=crp
  3. Scottish biodiversity strategy post-2020: statement of intent https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-biodiversity-strategy-post-2020-statement-intent/documents/

Charities warn levelling up bill could undermine environmental protections in devolved nations

August 18th, 2022 by

Four environmental organisations representing charities across the UK have warned that the Levelling Up Bill could weaken protections for nature by handing the UK Government the power to amend the law in devolved areas.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will grant UK Ministers the power to scrap and rewrite, by secondary legislation, environmental protections set out in primary legislation.

This use of so-called “Henry VIII powers” will allow Ministers to replace the current system of environmental impact assessments with a new system of Environmental Outcome Reports – including in areas of devolved competence, without the consent of the devolved administrations.

The UK Government has said this will “introduce a clearer and simpler process where relevant plans and projects are assessed against tangible environmental outcomes set by government, rather than in Brussels”.

In a joint letter to Ministers, environmentalists have called on the UK Government to reconsider these proposals.

The four coalition groups – Wildlife and Countryside LINK, Scottish Environment LINK, Wales Environment LINK, and Northern Ireland Environment LINK – represent environmental NGOs operating across the four nations of the UK.

The letter states:

“These proposals are of serious concern to our members because they have the potential to weaken the protection of the environment.

“Our organisations and members have no specific constitutional position; however, we note that under the current arrangements, within the UK, the environment is considered a devolved matter.

“The Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive have developed and legislated for distinctive environmental policies in their jurisdictions. In some cases, we applaud these policies, in others we have argued for different approaches – however, in all cases, they should be scrutinised, agreed and approved by their respective Parliament or Assembly with engagement of civil society at various stages.

“Yet, as it stands, Part 5 of the above Bill extends to the whole of the UK and any proposed EOR regulations containing provisions within the devolved competences must be subject only to consultation with the relevant devolved administration.

“This approach is at odds with the “Sewel Convention”, as expressed, for example, in s.28(8) of the Scotland Act 1998, as amended, that ‘the Parliament of the United Kingdom will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.’

“Given the distinctive policies and legislation for the environment, in the devolved jurisdictions, we consider that either matters of devolved competence should be excluded from this power or the approach of consent – rather than simply consult – must apply to EOR regulations.”

Call for new Cairngorms Park Plan to take action on deer numbers

June 9th, 2022 by

A coalition of environmental groups has called on the Cairngorms National Park Authority to agree an ambitious approach to tackling unsustainable deer numbers and increasing the natural diversity and resilience of the Park. 

The Park Authority will this week (Friday 10th) agree a new Park Partnership Plan, which will set out conservation and land management priorities for the next five years. This Plan puts nature recovery at the heart of the Park’s plans and takes a welcome lead in Scotland’s response to the climate and nature crises.

In an open letter, published today, a range of environmental organisations have said that urged the Park Authority to take “effective action to tackle deer numbers, increase the diversity of its moorlands and increase nature regeneration of woodland.  In doing so, they will be creating a more ecologically balanced Cairngorms”. 

The letter argues that “much of the park’s ecosystems are being damaged by excessively and unnaturally high deer numbers” and that reducing numbers “is essential if we are serious about protecting our environment while supporting the economic vitality of our rural communities.”

Commenting, Deborah Long, Chief Officer at Scottish Environment LINK said:

“The Cairngorms National Park is one of the jewels in Scotland’s natural heritage crown. 

“But we also have to accept that for too long, our approach to land management across Scotland has allowed deer numbers to become unsustainably high at huge ecological cost. 

“The Park Authority set out an ambitious approach to tackle deer numbers in their draft Plan and in committing to implementing this, the Park Board will be ensuring Scotland builds its lead as a nature rich country, restoring its nature for future generations.”

Mike Daniels, Director of Policy at the John Muir Trust and a resident of the Cairngorms Park, added:

“Deer are a vital part of the park – at the right number. Since all their natural predators were exterminated, humans must manage them to benefit habitats for all nature, including deer, and people. We have a range of highly skilled deer managers in the park who are perfectly placed, and now urgently need to deliver the action required. 

“Lower deer numbers will allow a more ecologically balanced Cairngorms, which will in turn bring benefits to the communities who live here – in line with the objectives of our National Parks.”

The open letter is available here

 

Scottish Environment LINK welcomes the Scottish Government circular economy proposals

May 30th, 2022 by

Today the Scottish Government published proposals for Scotland’s long awaited circular economy bill.  The legislation and policies that flow from these proposals have the potential to make a much needed difference to the way in which we make and use day to day products – from the food we eat to the buildings we work in and the equipment we use. This, in turn, could help us meet climate and nature targets. 

Scottish Environment LINK welcomes these proposals.  We particularly welcome the commitment to introduce ‘consumption targets’ – targets to reduce the amount of raw and harmful materials that we use.  We would like to see such targets introduced in the near future.  We are also pleased to see a strategic framework introduced, with a requirement on Ministers to produce and update a Circular Economy Strategy every five years.  To be effective, such a strategy must set out how to meet our consumption targets, how to address problematic materials and chemicals, and obligations on different sectors.  Other welcome measures include the introduction of mandatory reporting of waste and surplus stock for businesses, and several measures to improve household recycling.  Despite these and other measures, there are also areas, such as public procurement, which are left vague and largely dependent on voluntary measures.   

A circular economy, where materials are kept in use for as long as possible so that we waste much less and use less raw material, has been shown to be fundamental to addressing both climate change and biodiversity loss.  What’s more, it offers resilience through more local supply chains and employment opportunities, for example in repair and the innovative use of byproducts and waste.

Although a popular concept with many opportunities, a transition to a more circular economy requires government intervention to bring everyone along, especially as we need to make this transition now.  LINK members have been campaigning for circular economy measures for some time. We believe such measures are essential to addressing both the pollution that waste causes in the terrestrial and aquatic environments, and the unsustainable and unfair nature of our consumption patterns. Scotland currently consumes an unsustainable quantity of raw materials, with much of the impact  falling on other countries.   Our paper, supported by a range of organisations, sets out what we hope to see in a circular economy bill.

LINK will be responding to the public consultation on these proposals for a circular economy bill, along with a parallel consultation on additional measures in the waste targets routemap.  We will publish a guide to help others to respond which will be available on our website by mid-June.

 

Circular economy proposals to be announced in May – will they be up to the job?

March 11th, 2022 by

Scottish Environment LINK welcomes the news that the Scottish Government will consult on a Circular Economy bill in May and that a ban on the destruction of unsold goods will be one of the proposals brought forward.

However, banning the destruction of unsold goods is only one part of the jigsaw puzzle if Scotland is to really address the environmental impact of the way we make, use and waste products.

Research by the International Resource Panel shows that global consumption of natural resources has tripled since the 1970s and is set to further double by 2060, and that 90% of biodiversity loss is caused by resource extraction and processing. Material flow accounts for Scotland, published in 2021, show our material footprint to be more than double sustainable levels and carbon footprint data shows that 82% of Scotland’s carbon footprint is derived from emissions embedded in goods we consume.

Our climate and nature emergencies demand systemic change across our economy to really address the impact of the way we make and use products. Such systemic change must be driven by targets to focus minds – in all areas of the economy – on reducing our use of raw materials. In the same way that our climate change targets are driving policy to decarbonise energy and heat production, a material footprint target could drive policy to ‘circularise’ our economy. Such a target should be central to the circular economy bill.

As well as banning the destruction of unsold goods, we need to make sure products stay in use for as long as possible. Legislation should introduce a repairability index, telling consumers how easy a product is to repair, and retailers should be required to take back products at the end of their life, incentivising design that keeps value in components and materials. Products that are particularly problematic in the environment, for example plastic wet-wipes, should be banned.

The bill should include an obligation to publish a plan, updated every five years, which would map out how to reduce our material footprint, how to address problematic materials and chemicals, and the requirements that will be placed on different sectors.

Scottish Environment LINK looks forward to seeing the proposals in May and hopes that they are up to the job.

For more information on legislation and policies needed to make our economy more circular, please see our briefing, ‘A Circular Scotland’.

Contact: Phoebe Cochrane, phoebe@scotlink.org

Support for Scottish Government’s Sustainable and Regenerative Farming in Scotland vision statement

March 3rd, 2022 by

On 2 March 2022, the Scottish government published its vision for sustainable and regenerative farming. This vision to be a global leader is a bold one and one that we support. Its delivery will hinge on commitment to transformational change in the way we farm and use land in Scotland and in how we support farmers and crofters to do that.

The Sustainable and regenerative farming – next steps: statement is available here.

“The challenges facing biodiversity are as important as the challenge of climate change, and I want Scotland to be leading the way in our response”.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, July 2019

We all face climate and nature emergencies, which Scotland is committed to tackling. Farmers and crofters are part of the solution to these challenges. They are also an integral part of local rural communities, and ensuring rural businesses thrive and steward and regenerate Scotland’s environment for future generations is vital.

Framing this vision around climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as nature restoration, helps focus on ensuring that the approach Scotland adopts on land use and land management will aim to deliver progress towards meeting both our 2024 climate targets and the 2030 nature restoration targets we expect to see come out of COP15. A future support framework has to be designed so that it supports farmers to reduce emissions and restore nature at the same time as producing high quality food.

For success to be achieved in reforming farming policy, support must be aligned with other key policy mechanisms: we welcome the reference to the Good Food Nation bill. Other policy alignments that would contribute to success include the National Planning Framework 4 and its delivery of connectivity for nature through nature networks, the biodiversity strategy, the Natural Environment Bill for example.

The next two years provide a window and opportunity to reshape agricultural policy. In order to seize that opportunity, this first step must be followed by a coherent plan for a support framework that puts the nature crisis and tackling climate changes as a top priority.

We must now move funding for climate and nature from the margin to the mainstream, with the majority of farm support geared to reducing emissions, locking up carbon and restoring biodiversity – not just on marginal land but on all our land and in all our waters.

The Scottish government’s vision of a transformation to sustainable and regenerative farming is ambitious and necessary. If we are to meet the global target for climate and nature, significant investment is required. We support a move towards enhanced conditionality of at least half of all funding for farming and crofting by 2025, but this is a minimum. The scale of the challenge is such that delivering outcomes to restore nature, benefit our natural capital and promote the natural economy will require more than this.

Besides funding support to enable all farmers to restore nature and reduce emissions, we need to see more investment in skilled advice services, so all farmers have access to the level of expert advice they need to identify actions to deliver those targets. This also enables them to produce high quality food and run sustainable businesses that underpin thriving local rural communities.

We are ready and willing to contribute to this work and we look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament as it moves forward with its plans for agriculture, aiming to transform how we fund and support farming with nature and climate at its heart.

This statement represents the collective view of LINK’s Food and Farming Group. Members may also respond individually in order to raise more detailed issues that are important to their particular organisation.

Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation towards a wellbeing economy is a good start

March 1st, 2022 by

Scottish Environment LINK welcomes the recognition of environmental objectives in Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation and looks forward to  more robust plans to deliver towards our nature positive, net zero targets as part of a Just Transition.

Today marks the publication of the long awaited new strategy for economic transformation, Delivering Economic Prosperity. On Friday we highlighted our hopes and expectations for the new strategy here.

Scottish Environment LINK’s Economics Group welcomes the Strategy’s  recognition that our economy is embedded in nature. We welcome the frequent references to the importance of Scotland’s natural environment, the need to engage meaningfully with communities, and the need to develop a nature-positive economy that invests in nature-based solutions. Nature and our climate are in crisis and a more sustainable economic path is vital to tackling these emergencies.  

However, to achieve this,  the Strategy must  follow through on how this will be delivered. Moving our focus from measuring GDP to other parameters much more in line with a prosperous Scotland is very welcome, although the main approaches championed in the strategy are about increasing productivity and growth.  Globally, the  incompatibility of continued growth in rich countries while remaining within environmental limits is being recognised.  The development of a circular economy, with a focus on material productivity, rather than labour productivity is crucial, to meet nature and climate goals.

With the Transform Our Economy alliance, we prepared Ten Points to judge the new strategy, endorsed by 40 academics. Applying these, this strategy starts well with its overall vision. Theapplication of many of the other tests indicates that more work is needed on, for example, having clear tests of decarbonisation and nature impacts for all investment programmes. LINK hopes that today’s launch is the start of a debate about these matters, with the Scottish Government  leading an inclusive national conversation, making the most of the environmental and social policy expertise in Scotland.

The strong high level ambition of the strategy must be carried through into its delivery and we will closely monitor the developments to ensure this happens. A representative from Scotland’s environment movement within the Scottish Government’s new Economic Leadership Group would be a key step towards maintaining the positive momentum.  

As a part of  a robust national debate this new National Strategy for Economic Transformation can help to shift the focus away from economic growth towards a well being economy with nature and climate recovery at its heart. We look forward to seeing more detail on how this vision will be achieved and we look forward to the national conversation required to make this strategy succeed.

Contact details

Finlay Wilson, Communications Officer, Scottish Environment LINK

Tel contact: 07934033548 |   Email finlay@scotlink.org

Bruce Wilson, Deputy convenor LINK Economics Group 

Email bwilson@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk

 

Editors’ Notes

(1)  The Scottish Government’s new national strategy for economic transformation, Delivering Prosperity, can be found here

(2)  European Environment Agency paper on limits of growth within environmental limits here

(3)  For more information on why we need a circular economy see here

(2) The statement with Ten Key Points for a Transformative Economic Strategy can be read here

(3) Concerns raised by the Transform Our Economy alliance about engagement in the process of preparing the strategy can be read in this blog

(4)  Scottish Environment LINK is the forum for Scotland’s voluntary environment community, with over 35 member bodies representing a broad spectrum of environmental interests with the common goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society www.scotlink.org

 

 

Experts back call to transform Scotland’s economy, protect the planet and provide wellbeing for all

February 25th, 2022 by

Calls for radical, transformative changes to Scotland’s economy in order to ensure wellbeing for all within our environmental limits have been backed by almost 40 leading economists and environment academics.

In advance of the publication by the Scottish Government of its new economic strategy on Tuesday 1 March, these experts have endorsed Ten Points for a Transformative Economic Strategy produced by the ‘Transform Our Economy’ alliance. 

These ideas outline a new purpose at the heart of our economy: providing wellbeing for all within environmental limits. They will require the government to set the trajectory for the economy and present a credible plan for delivery using all the powers at their disposal.

The alliance, comprising Scottish Environment LINK’s Economics Group, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland, is also calling for much more extensive public debate about the direction of our economy and believes that participation from workers, affected communities and those who are in greatest need of economic transformation is badly needed to achieve the transformation required.

Matthew Crighton, Sustainable Economy Adviser at Friends of the Earth Scotland said, 

“In the midst of climate and nature emergencies, with too many people trapped in poverty and businesses still reeling from the impact of the pandemic, there is no question that economic transformation is needed.

“In the face of these challenges, the Scottish Government must plot a new direction in building a truly sustainable and just economy that can meet people’s needs.

“Recent history has shown us there is a persistent gap between high-level aspirations and the actual performance of the government in effectively intervening in the economy in Scotland. The fear is that the new economic strategy won’t redesign the economy, but will instead continue to deliver inequality and environmental destruction.

“We look forward to a transformative economic agenda that can provide sufficient investment to deliver a just transition to zero carbon, integrate the protection of nature into economic decision making and ensure social equity and participation by currently marginalised groups.”

Professor Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development, University of Surrey and acclaimed author of Prosperity Without Growth said:

With the forthcoming 10-year Strategy for Economic Transformation the Scottish Government has a unique opportunity to make Scotland a global example of an economy that is fit to address the challenges of the 21st century, delivering wellbeing for all within environmental limits.

To do that, the Strategy needs to put at its heart care for people and planet, it needs to build on meaningful participation of those at the sharp end of our economy, and it needs to put in place measures which will give priority to ensuring people’s wellbeing rather than the pursuit of GDP growth for its own sake.”

The ten points proposed by the ‘Transform our Economy’ group offer a robust framework for building such a strategy. The Scottish Government would be well advised to take note.”

Professor Jan Webb, Professor of Sociology of Organisations, University of Edinburgh, and one of the 38 signatories, said:

“Orthodox economic strategy aims to maximise GDP, and then to make some adjustments for fairness and environmental harms. A transformative strategy, fit for addressing climate emergency and major inequalities, has to direct all economic action to achieving a fair, and sustainable, society. This means all investment prioritises decent work, zero waste, biodiversity and climate protection. I hope the Scottish Government will respond promptly and constructively to the Transform Our Economy alliance.”

The headings of the Ten Key Points are:

  1. The goal: wellbeing for all within environmental limits
  2. Setting specific economic objectives to care for people and the planet
  3. Using all the tools available to government to meet those objectives
  4. Policies must show how the objectives can be achieved
  5. Combat economic pressures which are helping cause the problems
  6. Public priorities must lead the direction of development of the economy
  7. Clear tests for all investment programmes
  8. Measure performance through metrics which matter
  9. An economic strategy for all sectors – economic transformation as a national mission
  10. An inclusive and participatory process

 

They have been endorsed by the following 38 leading academics:

Mike Danson,  Professor Emeritus of Enterprise Policy, Heriot-Watt University

James Curran,  Visiting Professor, Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Strathclyde

Victoria Chick,  Emeritus Professor of Economics, University College London

Dan O’Neill,  Associate Professor in Ecological Economics, University of Leeds

Julia Steinberger, Professor of Societal Challenges of Climate Change, University of Lausanne

Malcolm Sawyer, Emeritus Professor, Leeds University Business School

Molly Scott-Cato,  Professor of Green Economics, Roehampton University

Prof Christine Cooper,   Professor of Accounting, Edinburgh University

Laurie Macfarlane, Head of Patient Finance, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, UCL

Camilla Toulmin,  Professor in Practice at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University

Beth Stratford,  Fellow New Economics Foundation and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance

Gregor Gall,  Affiliate Research Associate at the University of Glasgow

Grace Blakeley, Author and journalist

Nancy Folbre, Professor Emerita of Economics, University of Massachusetts

Eurig Scandrett,  Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Queen Margaret University

Andrew Mearman,  Associate Professor of Economics, Leeds University

John Barry, Professor, Queen’s University Belfast

Gary Dymski,  Professor of Applied Economics, Leeds University

Yannis Dafermos, Senior Lecturer in Economics, SOAS

Mark Huxham, Professor, School of Applied Sciences, Napier University

Elizabeth Bomberg, Professor of Environmental Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dennis Mollison, Emeritus Professor of Applied Probability, Heriot-Watt 

University

Karen Bell, Senior Lecturer in Urban Sustainable Development, Glasgow University

Elena Hofferberth,  PhD student, Leeds University Business School

Tim Hayward,  Professor of Environmental Political Theory, University of Edinburgh

Miriam Brett,  Director of Research and Advocacy, Common Wealth

Andy Watterson,  Professor, Public Health Researcher, Stirling University

Danny Wight,  Professor, Institute of health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow

Claire Duncanson, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Edinburgh

Donald McKenzie,  Professor, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Josh Ryan-Collins,  Senior Research Fellow in Economics and Finance

Maria Nikolaidi,  Associate Professor in Economics, Greenwich University

 

Contact details

Contact:
Matthew Crighton,
mcrighton@foe.scot
07851 348426 

 

Editors’ Notes

(1)  The Scottish Government’s announcement of its National Strategy for Economic Transformation can be found here

(2) The statement with Ten Key Points for a Transformative Economic Strategy can be read here

(3) Concerns raised by the Transform Our Economy alliance about engagement in the process of preparing the strategy can be read in this blog

(4)  Scottish Environment LINK is the forum for Scotland’s voluntary environment community, with over 35 member bodies representing a broad spectrum of environmental interests with the common goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society www.scotlink.org

(5) The Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) Scotland is a collaboration of organisations, movements and individuals working to transform the economic system into one that delivers social justice on a healthy planet. Our Allies network includes businesses, national NGOs and grassroots movement.  https://wellbeingeconomy.org/scotland

(6) Friends of the Earth Scotland is: Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation; an independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland; part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups  foe.scot

 

National Planning Framework needs ‘teeth’ to deliver for nature, climate and communities warn charities

November 10th, 2021 by

Today’s publication of the 10-year National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) is a missed opportunity to futureproof our natural environment in the face of the climate and nature crisis, says Scottish Environment LINK. While the focus of the draft NPF4 on meeting Scotland’s net zero by 2045 target is hugely welcome, its ambition does not go far enough to set out how its policies will deliver the restoration of Scotland’s nature over the next decade. 

The NPF4 is a great opportunity for the Scottish Government to show leadership by working with communities of interest and place to restore nature and limit the damage from climate change. LINK members have called for the NPF4 to include policies that support a national Nature Network, connecting fragmented habitats across Scotland to allow wildlife to thrive, as well as policies to ban the sale of peat compost and ensure protections for areas of wild land and greenbelts are strengthened.[1] However, the Framework set out today does not make clear how it will deliver the transformative change required at this critical juncture.  

Clare Symonds, Convener of LINK’s Planning Group, responded:  

“At a time of nature and climate emergency, today’s draft National Planning Framework lacks crucial detail on how nature-positive and low emissions developments will be supported by Scotland’s planning system. Scotland’s environmental charities have called for the NPF4 to deliver a transformation in how we develop our towns, cities and rural areas to adapt to the impacts of climate change and contribute to nature’s restoration in the years ahead. Considering the scale of the climate and biodiversity emergencies we face, this is a disappointingly unambitious document.”  

Charles Nathan, Vice-Convener of the Planning Group, noted,  

“We’ve consistently highlighted that action on climate must also include action on nature and so welcome the fact that Scottish Government has fully recognised in this draft both the scale of the nature crisis and most importantly that planning can play a huge part in bringing nature back into our lives.  However, we have a task ahead of us now to strengthen the ‘teeth’ of the document so we don’t fall back into a ‘business as usual’ approach that is failing to protect the natural world that we are all dependent upon. We are hopeful that this can be avoided by changing the ‘shoulds’ to ‘musts’ and having an NPF4 that emboldens decision-makers to make net-zero and nature positive decisions.’ 

ENDS

Notes: 

[1] See LINK’s priorities for NPF4: https://www.scotlink.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/NPF4_TopPriorities_V3.pdf  

 

Restoration Fund is a positive step for Scotland’s nature

November 6th, 2021 by

Scottish Environment LINK welcomes today’s announcement of increased government funding to restore and protect nature.

The Nature Restoration Fund will commit to at least £13.5 million annually to restore and protect Scotland’s nature – a vital step to fund the work needed to help restore Scotland’s habitats and species. From restoring Scotland’s wetlands, marine habitats and species and iconic habitats on land, including native woodlands and mountain areas, this commitment to a 5-year Nature Restoration Fund will help drive momentum towards halting the loss and restoring Scotland’s nature by 2030. This commitment to multi-annual public funding provides the leadership for other sectors to step up and help conserve Scotland’s national treasure: its nature.

Scottish Environment LINK Chief Officer, Deborah Long, said:

“Scotland is renowned for our nature on land and at sea. But the health of our species and habitats is declining. The Nature Restoration Fund is a hugely welcome and important weapon in our fight against nature loss and climate change. With global nature targets being agreed at the Biodiversity COP15 in Spring 2022, which will guide Scotland’s new Biodiversity Strategy, this fund provides the basis for significant progress towards the level of transformative action for Scotland’s species and habitats that is needed. By investing in multi-year, multi scale projects, focussed on the species and habitats that need most help, the future for Scotland’s nature, young people and communities across Scotland looks a lot more promising.”

Alistair Whyte, Director of Plantlife Scotland and convener of LINK’s Wildlife Group, said:

“Investing in Scotland’s wildlife is a win for species, habitats, and local communities. The Nature Restoration Fund announcement is a first step in the fight against biodiversity loss, helping to give Scotland’s wildlife a fighting chance for the future.  Alongside the Nature Restoration Fund, we are eager to hear details on additional funding for significant ecosystem restoration in Scotland’s rainforest, as announced by the Scottish Government earlier this week. We then look forward to the construction of a wider programme of ecosystem restoration across the country, to help Scotland move up from its current place in the world’s lowest ranks of biodiversity intactness.”