Environmental Watchdog Essential for a Post COVID-19 Green Recovery in Scotland

04 Jun 2020

Following the Scottish government’s recent announcement that refusal to extend the Brexit transition would have a damaging impact on Scotland’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis [1], Scottish Environment LINK (LINK), a coalition of Scotland’s leading environmental charities has warned that the accompanying loss of EU environmental protections for Scotland would also put at risk ambitions for a post COVID-19 green recovery.

Currently 1 in 9 wildlife species in Scotland is facing extinction [2]. LINK has warned of this threat and has urged for urgent measures to help prevent a further decline of Scotland’s nature and to avoid undermining a green recovery for Scotland.

Since 2018, more than 35 organisations joined forces under the coalition LINK to launch the campaign, Fight for Scotland’s Nature, to push for legally binding targets for the protection of Scotland’s nature and an action plan for delivery. This included calling for a new and independent watchdog to enforce environmental protections after Brexit.

As much as, 80% of Scotland’s environmental protection stem from EU legislation [3].The charities now fear that Scotland’s natural environment will be put at further risk if time runs out to negotiate a comprehensive deal on the EU exit by the end of the year. Both the UK and Scottish governments need to ensure that measures are established to protect Scotland’s world-renowned natural assets before we leave the EU. Together, the charities also warn that much work needs to be done to put in place strong and lasting environmental protections and to have legislation that is meaningful and adequate.

Proposals for a Scottish environmental watchdog had been due to be set out in the Scottish government’s Continuity Bill this past spring. With the legislation delayed as the government responds to the pandemic, time is now running out to ensure key protections for the environment are developed and in place by the end of 2020, when the transition period to leave the EU ends.

 Deborah Long, Chief Officer of Scottish Environment LINK said,

“The unprecedented health and economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic have posed challenges to governments at all levels. Despite this, there remains the huge and vital challenge of tackling the continued loss of nature and climate change, reversing the declines of habitats and species. We need a new environmental watchdog with the powers to independently safeguard our natural assets and enforce their protection so that they are not eroded and undermine Scotland’s green recovery. Many of us have relied on nature for our wellbeing during the lockdown; it’s now time for us to fight for Scotland’s nature.”


Media enquiries to:

Azra Wyart on 07788437819/mediaandeventsscotland@gmail.com

Notes to Editor(s)

 [1] Scottish Government, 3 June 2020, ‘COVID-19: The Case for Extending the Brexit Transition Period’ https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/research-and-analysis/2020/06/covid-19-case-extending-brexit-transition-period/documents/covid-19-case-extending-brexit-transition-period/covid-19-case-extending-brexit-transition-period/govscot%3Adocument/covid-19-case-extending-brexit-transition-period.pdf

[2] State of Nature Scotland Report 2019 https://nbn.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/State-of-nature-Report-2019-Scotland-full-report.pdf

[3] Fight for Scotland’s Nature campaign: https://www.fightforscotlandsnature.scot/what-we-stand-for/


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