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Scottish biodiversity strategy shapes up

Words: Roger Milne
Birds / iStock-1055645314

Plans to protect at least 30 per cent of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030 – and to examine options to extend this further – were announced this week by Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

The proposals were published in a new Statement of Intent on Biodiversity, which sets out the Scottish Government’s priorities for tackling biodiversity loss as part of a strategy to combat climate change and ecological decline.

Currently, 37 per cent of Scotland’s marine environment is safeguarded, with 22.7 per cent of terrestrial land protected for nature.

The announcement came ahead of the publication of the government’s climate change plan update, with nature-based solutions to challenge climate issues forming a key part of the update.

Restoring peatland and woodland creation are at the heart of the proposals, which will be supported by an additional £500 million of previously committed investment in Scotland’s natural economy.

Other commitments in the biodiversity document include plans to support new, locally driven projects that aim to improve ecological connectivity and the publication of a new national strategy on biodiversity within 12 months of next year’s international climate change summit in Glasgow.

Cunningham made it clear that ministers wanted to see how ‘pocket parks’ and other green spaces could help to improve access to nature as part of the 20-minute neighbourhood approach being developed through National Planning Framework 4.

The statement stressed: “Through our work on NPF4 we will develop ambitious new proposals which will deliver positive effects for biodiversity from development without the need for overly complex metrics, and we will consider how they can support wider approaches to natural infrastructure”.

Image credit | iStock