New legal targets proposed for nature recovery

Ariel photo of Tweed Forum Eddleston Water project Photo credit: Naturescot
Susan Thomson

Targets for nature recovery could be put into law in line with those for climate change, as part of a range of proposals to protect and restore Scotland’s natural environment.

The Scottish Government is asking for views on its plans and actions to accelerate nature restoration and regeneration. The consultation sets out the key elements of Scotland’s overall Biodiversity Framework, including:

  • Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy – published in draft form in December 2022 – setting out goals of halting biodiversity loss by 2030 and reversing declines by 2045;
  • The first 5-year Delivery Plan to implement this strategy;
  • A set of principles to guide the delivery of key commitments to conserve 30% of land for nature by 2030 and expand ‘nature networks’ across Scotland;
  • Proposals for the upcoming Natural Environment Bill, including the introduction of statutory nature recovery targets which will be binding on government in the same way that climate change targets require Ministers work towards meeting net zero targets; and
  • Changes to National Parks legislation to strengthen the leadership role of National Parks in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises.

Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said:

“We are at a tipping point for nature – it is in decline across the globe with around 1 million species already facing extinction. In Scotland alone, we have seen a 24% decline in abundance of wildlife since 1990; if we don’t take urgent action, nature in Scotland will continue to decline and important species will be lost forever.

“This week we have published our Programme for Government which recognises that the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are global challenges of unprecedented proportions. Restoring nature will reduce carbon emissions, and tackling the climate crisis is essential if we are to prevent extinctions.  We must be both Net Zero and Nature Positive.

“A nature-positive Scotland creates great opportunities that will benefit people and communities throughout the country and particularly in rural areas. We want to work with everyone – with local government, local communities, organisations and environmental experts - to protect our precious natural environment for future generations.”

“We are especially keen to hear the views of the stewards of our land and seas - farmers, gamekeepers and fishers who have the knowledge and skills to drive the transformation that is needed.”

More info here