A coalition of environmental organisations have welcomed today’s advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on how Scotland can build a resilient, green economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of Scottish Environment LINK also urge the Scottish Government to seek complementary advice from independent biodiversity experts as it is imperative that action taken for a green recovery tackles both the climate emergency and nature crisis.
As the Scottish Government’s statutory advisers on the policies required to achieve net-zero climate targets, the CCC has urged that Scotland must take steps to increase resilience in the face of future threats by making ‘evidence-led preparations’ and avoid steps that would ‘lock-in’ high levels greenhouse has emissions for future generations. LINK members strongly support the CCC’s recommendations that specific policies to deliver ‘transformational land reform’ through tree planting, peatland restoration and creation of new urban greenspaces are stepped up rapidly as part of the economic recovery following the pandemic.
On those specific steps, LINK members believe while tree planting is important, woodland regeneration is even more so and more likely to deliver for the nature crisis as well as the climate emergency. Enabling tree regeneration across Scotland would restore habitats, including for example in the uplands and along riverbanks with riverine woodland. Planting the wrong tree in the wrong place, while meeting climate targets runs the risk of taking us backwards through inappropriate planting in key habitats.
Secondly, the increased investment the Scottish Government has already pledged for peatland restoration must be able to be used as flexibly as possible in order to enable that investment to be effective.
And thirdly, the pandemic has clearly shown to us all how important urban greenspaces are to people across Scotland. LINK members fully support the creation of more greenspaces and enhancement of existing brownfield sites with high biodiversity levels where nature and people can thrive across Scotland’s urban areas.
Deborah Long, Chief Officer of Scottish Environment LINK, said: “We welcome today’s timely advice and the proactive steps being taken by the Scottish Government to seek the best measures required for a green recovery. Tree planting in appropriate places and woodland regeneration, peatland restoration and increasing accessible greenspace in our urban areas are essential to meeting our climate targets while delivering a range of co-benefits to boost people’s wellbeing and restoring nature.
“In recent weeks we have become acutely aware that the nature on our very doorsteps has an invaluable role to play in sustaining us through this crisis – from garden birdwatching to growing local, sustainable food. In addition to meeting net-zero goals, a resilient, green recovery for Scotland must also embed action to recover biodiversity and tackle the nature crisis as acknowledged by the First Minister last year. Scottish Environment LINK urges Ministers to seek complementary advice from independent biodiversity experts to ensure that plans for a green recovery will include measures to aid nature’s recovery while meeting net-zero targets.”
– ENDS –
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
- Scottish Environment LINK is the forum for Scotland’s voluntary environment community, with 39 member bodies representing a broad spectrum of environmental interests with the common goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society.
- The UK Committee on Climate Change’s advice to the Scottish Government can be found here.
- In May 2019, following an announcement at First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Government confirmed in a letter to Scottish Environment LINK that the biodiversity crisis is a key priority for the Scottish Government.