Commenting on the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2017-18 our Chief Executive Jonny Hughes said: “The ‘baby box generation’ deserves to grow up in a Scotland where a healthy environment underpins a sustainable economy and a fair and equitable society.
“We therefore welcome the Scottish Government’s recognition that our natural capital is fundamental to our success as a nation and is the essence of Scotland’s global brand.
“We further welcome the commitment to safeguard this natural capital, and to take a strategic approach to environmental policy so Scotland’s environment is protected and enhanced.”
“We are very pleased to see that the Government’s programme for the coming year contains a number of proposals that have been advocated by the Scottish Wildlife Trust for some time through our policies, briefings, and publications such as 50 for the Future.
“The ‘baby box generation’ deserves to grow up in a Scotland where a healthy environment underpins a sustainable economy and a fair and equitable society.
“However, we still have questions around the specifics of some of the proposals. For example, will the proposed National Investment Bank cover investments in green as well as grey infrastructure?
“In recent weeks, lessons learned from poor greenspace planning in cities like Houston have reminded us that parks, open spaces, green roofs and walls, street trees and wetlands will be increasingly important in helping us adapt to climate change and improving people’s health and well-being in urban areas.
“The Trust will continue to constructively challenge the Scottish Government to accelerate policies that deliver a healthier natural environment. While we welcome many of the words of the First Minister today, we are eager to see these turned into a clear plan of action in the year ahead.”
Highlights from the Programme for Government
Some highlights contained in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2017/18 and welcomed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust include:
- Recognition that Scotland’s natural capital is fundamental to Scotland’s success as a nation and is the essence of Scotland’s global brand.
- Commitment to safeguard natural capital and the development of a strategic approach on environmental policy in Scotland to protect and enhance our environment
- Introduction of a deposit return scheme designed to increase recycling rates and reduce littering and plastic pollution
- Recognition that investing in a low carbon economy for Scotland is an opportunity as much as an obligation that will bring many social, economic and environmental benefits
- Expansion of the ‘sheep and trees initiative’ and a commitment to encourage more woodland creation on farms and crofts
- Improvement of the protection given to Priority Marine Features outside Marine Protected Areas
- Creation of a research programme on blue carbon and evaluation of options to create a deep sea national marine reserve
- Support for the development of partnerships involving communities, public and private sector investors to plant more trees and create more woodlands
- Establishment of an independent group to consider how to ensure that the management of grouse moors is environmentally sustainable
- Restoration of 500 hectares of ancient woodland on the Public Forest Estate
- Establishment of an independent group to advise on effective and sustainable deer management
- Support for increased planting for pollinators by local authorities across Scotland on roadside verges, public green spaces and similar areas