February 2020

Scottish Government Environment Strategy revisited

We posted an item a year ago reporting Scottish environment charities welcoming the Scottish Government's announcement of  'a vision and outcomes for an environment strategy'  on 25 February 2020, and feel that a year on it is time to redirect attention to this important and detailed document.

Here is the  link to the document  and here are two extracts 

- one from Part 4   Environment Strategy outcomes (they mean objectives): how will we get there?  which is straightforward and sensible, if not much more than a statement of the obvious

Outcome: We are responsible global citizens with a sustainable international footprint
If everyone on Earth consumed resources as we do in Scotland, we would need three planets. Our consumption relies on resources extracted or used in other parts of the world, including water, land and biological and mineral resources. We have a significant carbon footprint, including emissions produced in Scotland, and emissions in other countries making goods which we import. As a result, our environmental impact extends far beyond our own country. The nature of this impact is complex. Some of the commodities we import are associated with deforestation, water stress and other ecological pressures in different parts of the world.

- and one from Part 5  Realising the vision  In which the document relapses into meaningless officialese verbiage

To turn our vision into reality, we will develop pathways for outcomes. These will identify strategic priorities and opportunities, working with existing strategies and plans across government. We will seek to direct our collective efforts in the areas that will have the greatest impact on multiple outcomes.[36] Work will focus, in particular, on opportunities to strengthen connections between policies. We will keep these pathways under review, ensuring that implementation of our Environment Strategy is flexible and dynamic.

Read it and see what you think

Infographic relating Scotland's Environment Strategy to UN Sustainable Development goals

View and download as PDF

Read about the UN Sustainable Development Goals at  Climate Change / Sustainable development


July 2020

"Scotland's new Environment laws must be strengthened"

This is the view of environment campaign group Fight for Scotland's Nature, following the publication of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill  in June.

They complain that the ability of organisations or individuals to raise formal complaints against specific examples of environmental damage will be diminished; that the watchdog body Environment Standards Scotland to be set up under the bill will not be sufficiently independent of government; and that there is no requirement for Scottish environmental standards to keep pace with possible changes in EU regulation, and no specific provision to prevent standards being rolled back.

Read Fight for Scotland's Nature's article  'How good are Scotland’s new draft environment laws?'

Background to and details of the bill


June 2020

Committee's concern about bringing back powers from EU

From the Scottish Parliament website news page

Holyrood’s Environment Committee says a unanimous ‘no’ to consent to the UK’s Environment Bill


In a report published today, Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee calls for powers which fall within devolved competence, including environment policy, to return to the Scottish Parliament on EU exit day.

The report, which details the committee’s consideration of the legislative consent memorandum (LCM) for the UK Environment Bill*, specifically queries why environmental powers in devolved competence should be made via UK, as opposed to Scottish, primary legislation. 

The committee believes that the Bill as it stands would allow the Scottish Parliament limited scope to influence decisions on devolved policy, to scrutinise relevant legislation and its implementation and therefore, effectively hold Scottish Ministers to account. 

In advance of a debate on the motion to be held in the Scottish Parliament, the committee is writing to both the UK and Scottish Governments asking for a full explanation of the rationale for sharing powers via legislation in the UK Parliament, as opposed to the Scottish Parliament.

Read the Committee's report


April 2020

Links from 50th Earth Day

11 actions for the planet during a pandemic
11 environmental books to read right now
and  Act on Climate Change .


February 2020

Campaigners welcome new Scottish environment strategy

Statement from  Fight for Scotland's Nature   25 February 2020

New environment watchdog must have teeth, say charities

Scotland’s leading environment charities have welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement today of a vision and outcomes for an environment strategy, applauding the government’s commitment to restore nature and end Scotland’s contribution to climate change.

They have called on the government to back up this commitment with legally binding targets for nature recovery and an action plan for delivery.

The charities, members of Scottish Environment LINK, also welcomed the announcement of a new environment watchdog to oversee compliance with environmental law, but cautioned that the new body must have real independence and power to protect Scotland’s iconic nature.

Read the charities' full statement

Scottish Government  'Vision and Outcomes' document

Other Scottish Government environment publications to download


October 2019

Doubts over effectiveness of new UK environment 'watchdog'

Proposals for an environment Bill originally introduced in the UK parliament in 2018 and included in the recent Queen's speech include the creation of an Office for Environmental Protection.  This would be  "a new world leading independent regulator .  .  . to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action."

But since the Bill was introduced, fears have been voiced that environmental protection will be weakened as a result of Brexit, and doubts expressed by environmenal groups and mainstream journalists about the likely effectiveness of the proposed legislation, and the independence and powers of the new regulator.

"Green groups say proposals will mean weaker protection for nature after UK leaves EU"  -  The Guardian


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