In the run up to the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, leading environmental charity the Scottish Wildlife Trust is asking its members and supporters to challenge candidates about their plans for nature.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust wants all parties to commit to actions which will ensure that everyone in Scotland can access and enjoy the benefits of nature wherever they live.
Dr Maggie Keegan, Head of Policy at the Scottish Wildlife Trust said:
“More and more people are realising that everyone relies on a healthy natural environment. Nature isn’t just about the wildlife we all love – and for which Scotland is famous – nature is also the backbone of our economy and is crucial to our well-being. This is why we would like to see all parties commit to taking nature into account in all major decisions.
“As people look ahead to the election in May, we’re particularly highlighting the role of green spaces in our towns and cities. On so many levels, green spaces are vital. High quality and accessible green spaces means healthier child development, a fitter community, lower levels of depression, cleaner air, lower levels of asthma – and those are just the health benefits.
“Investing in green spaces can also help tackle inequalities, create more resilient communities and make neighbourhoods better places to live and work. And all of this is on top of the benefits for wildlife, from protecting butterflies and bees to looking after garden birds and helping our endangered hedgehogs.”
The Scottish Wildlife Trust is asking nature lovers to ask candidates from all parties the following questions:
- Scotland has a poor record on child obesity. How will your party help get our nation’s children out playing in nature?
- How will your party ensure that high quality greenspace is actively contributing to improving mental health and well-being across Scotland’s communities?
- Given the vital role that a healthy environment has to play in improving Scotland’s health record, what does your party plan to do to improve access to biodiverse greenspace?
- With large-scale house building planned in many areas, how will your party make sure that these developments include well-designed natural features so our communities are guaranteed access to nature?
- The Scottish Wildlife Trust believes that long-term economic and social prosperity is strongly tied to a healthy natural environment, and indeed a growing body of evidence supports this. What will your party do to protect and restore the environment at a national scale?
Nick Wright, People and Wildlife Manger at the Scottish Wildlife Trust said:
“An increasing body of evidence shows that investing in our natural environment and making it more accessible can do a lot to help people lead healthier lives, increase their fitness and improve their mental health.
“Through the activities we run, we see the benefits of contact with nature first hand. You just have to look at how engaged a group of young people are when they are in a natural setting to see the rewards this can deliver.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Download the Trust’s detailed Manifesto asks here: http://goo.gl/BWLWkA
- The Scottish Wildlife Trust is Scotland’s leading nature conservation charity, representing nearly 40,000 members who care for wildlife and the environment.
- The Scottish Wildlife Trust seeks to raise public awareness of threatened habitats and species and manages 120 reserves Scotland-wide.
- The Scottish Wildlife Trust receives financial assistance and support from a range of organisations, funders and individuals including Scottish Natural Heritage and players of People’s Postcode Lottery.