The Scottish Government opened its consultation on the Biodiversity Framework and Natural Environment Bill last month. Following the COP15 Biodiversity Conference in Montreal last December, the UK is subject to a new set of international targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): the Global Biodiversity Framework. To support the delivery of these, each UK country has committed to developing and implementing national biodiversity strategies. This consultation focuses on a range of nature-related policy, aimed at halting the loss of – and then restoring – biodiversity, and in light of the recent State of Nature Report 2023 comes at a crucial time for nature. The following includes Information from RSPB Scottish Nature Notes website and links to respond to the consultation.
What the consultation is about
The consultation will run for 12 weeks (closing on 14th December) and asks for views on a proposed Biodiversity Framework for Scotland, which will be a set of policies and eventually a new law – a Natural Environment Bill that will set binding targets for nature’s recovery. The consultation includes a new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy to 2045 and its first five-year delivery plan; principles for expanding the area of land protected for nature to 30% of Scotland and delivering nature networks across the country; and plans for legally binding targets for nature restoration in Scotland and strengthening National Parks.
There are five priorities that must be delivered by this process. To achieve its aim of halting and beginning to reverse the loss of nature by 2030 and to restore and renew nature across Scotland by 2045, the Scottish Government must ensure the framework:
1. Includes a Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and Delivery Plan that includes a national programme of ecosystem restoration and species recovery, and clear actions for different sectors and parts of government to take on recovering nature. This is covered by sections one and 2 of the consultation.
2. Creates a plan for effectively protecting 30% of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030 and delivering nature networks, to ensure that our best places for nature are not just lines on a map but are thriving and healthy and joined up across Scotland. This relates to section three of the consultation
3. Sets ambitious, legally-binding nature targets in a Natural Environment Bill that will drive cross-sector and cross-government action to tackle the nature crisis, with specific targets for increasing species abundance and distribution, reducing species extinction risk and improving the extent and health of priority habitats and protected nature sites. This is covered by section six of the consultation.
4. Supports and empowers National Parks to lead action on nature and climate and demonstrate the benefits of this at a local level, by strengthening National Parks legislation. This is covered by section seven of the consultation.
5. Has a clear focus on delivery and funding. All of the policies in the consultation are welcome, but to deliver the change for nature at the scale and pace needed, then on the ground action must quickly follow.
How you can respond to the consultation
You can read the main consultation here. The best way to have your say is to respond directly to the consultation. Anyone can do this through the consultation hub, which will guide you through. You don’t have to respond to every question, you can focus on the sections and questions that interest you the most.
Alternatively, you can send a short, written response by email to the Scottish Government’s consultation inbox, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify in your email whether or not you are happy for the Scottish Government to publish your response as part of their analysis of the consultation. Even if you do not want your response to be made public, it will be counted towards the consultation.
Featured image of Harebell Campanula rotundifolia. Credit: Cath Shellswell