Responding to today’s publication of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2019-20, our Chief Executive Jo Pike said: “Urgent action is needed to tackle the closely intertwined climate and ecological emergencies. We believe that greater investment in nature, alongside concerted action to decarbonise our economy, is needed to ensure that Scotland lives up to the ambition to cut emissions to net-zero by 2045 and reverse the loss of biodiversity.
“We welcome the announcement that Regional Land Use plans will be developed across Scotland, alongside support to encourage farmers to adopt more sustainable practices. These measures should help ensure that everyone involved in managing Scotland’s land plays their part in addressing the environmental challenges that affect us all. Hopefully the new approach to the Central Scotland Green Network in identifying the best opportunities to deliver the biggest climate change and biodiversity benefits to communities is something that can be applied at the national level in the near future.
“Scotland’s wildlife is under greater pressure than ever before, so it is encouraging to see the government talk about a step change in its efforts to address biodiversity loss. However, funding to help restore damaged peatlands and accelerate tree planting across the country is only a first step in delivering the natural solutions that are vital to addressing the twin emergencies.
“While the First Minister has previously acknowledged that challenges facing biodiversity are as important as the challenge of climate change, we believe much greater investment in our natural environment will be required over the coming years to reverse the declines that are already affecting many of our species and habitats. We would like to see greater commitments to the development of natural solutions to climate change, which offer a huge range of benefits to wildlife as well as people.
“Our marine environment has a major part to play in combating climate change. We look forward to the publication of research into the role that our marine environment can play by acting as a store of blue carbon. We also welcome the repeated commitment to bring forward a national deep sea marine reserve, as well as a number of measures to improve the management of inshore fisheries.
“We hope that the Scottish Government’s commitments on both the Scottish National Investment Bank and the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland are the first step towards achieving a more strategic approach to planning investment in both green and blue infrastructure that we have highlighted is fundamental to addressing the climate emergency.”