Scotland: Nature to be given 30 per cent of country under SNP’s new plans

December 14, 2020

Scotland: Nature to be given 30 per cent of country under SNP’s new plans

PLANS to ring-fence at least 30% of Scotland’s land for nature over the next decade have been announced by the Scottish Government.

The project will also look at options to extend this even further in an effort to tackle the “twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss”.

Currently, 37% of Scotland’s marine environment receives protection with 22.7% of terrestrial land protected for nature. Scotland encloses 32% of the land area of the UK and 62% of the sea area within its borders.

NatureScot chief executive Francesca Osowska hailed the plans as “an excellent step to transforming how we interact with, and care for, nature in every aspect of our lives”.

“We need nature for our survival – but our nature is in crisis. We have to work quickly and at a scale not seen before,” she added.

The SNP’s proposals were published in a new Statement of Intent on Biodiversity.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Dealing with the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss is one of the most important challenges of this generation. It requires global action and Scotland has played a key leadership role in international negotiations, agreeing ‘The Edinburgh Declaration’ with international partners.”

Cunningham launched the Statement at a summit convened to discuss the enormous opportunities in restoring Scotland’s peatland areas and how to make this happen at the scale required.

The Environment Secretary went on: “We have committed to maintaining or exceeding EU environmental standards and we are determined to continue to play our part in global efforts – cooperating with friends in Europe and around the world in the run up to the UN Biodiversity COP15 in China next year.

“The recent addition of 16 new sites to our MPA network demonstrates Scotland’s commitment to lead by example on marine environmental protection too. 37% of our seas are now protected, exceeding the proposed international target to achieve 30% of global MPA coverage by 2030.

“As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, nature based solutions such as woodland creation, peatland restoration, urban green infrastructure, regeneration, and a great range of sustainable enterprises will not only help the environment but create jobs helping us build a greener, more inclusive economy.”

Other commitments in the document include plans to support new, locally driven projects that aim to improve ecological connectivity, endorsing the “Leaders’ Pledge for Nature” presented at this year’s United Nations General Assembly, and developing a new national strategy on biodiversity.

The announcement comes ahead of the publication of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan, with nature-based solutions to climate challenge expected to form a key part of the update.

The Government says restoring peatland and woodland creation will be at the heart of the proposals and are supported by an additional £500 million of previously committed investment in our natural economy.

Article link: The National

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