Holyrood Urged To Act Over Nature In Scotland

13 October 2015, 06:48 | Updated: 13 October 2015, 06:49

Environmental organisations have called on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to save the country's natural environment and wildlife, which they say are in "serious trouble''.

Their report, Responses For Nature, outlines a number of recommendations which they say are needed to save nature and improve the well-being of the population, including fully implementing conservation laws and developing programmes to recover threatened species.

It has been compiled by 23 organisations, including RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

The report is a follow up to the 2013 State Of Nature UK-wide report, which warned that 60% of 3,148 species studied had declined in past 50 years, and 31% had declined strongly.

More than one in 10 of all species assessed were under threat of disappearing from the UK's shores altogether.

The organisations' 10 key recommendations include the Government "setting a trajectory for nature's recovery so that, by 2040, we have a country richer in nature with more people connecting with wildlife in their local environment''.

They also want the Government to "fully implement and defend the laws that conserve nature'', resisting any attempts from the EU to alter these, deliver a network of "special places'' which are protected and well managed, and put in place programmes to recover threatened species.

Stuart Housden, director RSPB Scotland, said: "In 2013, our State of Nature report demonstrated that nature was in serious trouble.

"As NGOs, we naturally asked ourselves 'what should be done about that?'

"This report seeks to answer that question, and is based on a year's interactive research with a wide range of experts - both in wildlife ecology and in policy development and delivery.

"The conclusion is not one of despair, but we must act with urgency to create a common course to save wildlife and the natural environment.''

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The Response For Nature report makes a valuable contribution to the debate about how best to improve biodiversity and help our natural environment to flourish.

"We have already set out in Scotland's Biodiversity - a Route Map to 2020 - which was developed in partnership with environmental bodies in Scotland - how we intend to deliver against the challenging biodiversity targets.

"We look forward to continuing to work with environmental organisations as we implement the route map.''