Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Government’s draft budget, Jo Pike, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said:
“We are pleased to see recognition of the vital role that nature-based solutions will need to play in addressing the climate emergency and the decline in Scotland’s biodiversity, along with the first steps towards the associated investment that is required. However, there is still some way to go to address the steep declines in Scottish environment funding that we have seen in recent years.
“We believe more funding is needed to ensure we use the full range of nature-based solutions that are available, from restoring damaged peatlands and underwater seagrass meadows to making Scotland’s towns and cities greener. We hope to see greater financial commitments to these measures as the draft budget progresses through Parliament.
“More funding is needed to ensure we use the full range of nature-based solutions that are available, from restoring damaged peatlands and underwater seagrass meadows to making Scotland’s towns and cities greener.
“We hope to see greater financial commitments to these measures as the draft budget progresses through Parliament.”
“We particularly welcome today’s new funding commitment for peatland restoration, which will help to transform damaged bogs across Scotland from huge emitters of carbon into carbon stores.
“The increase in funding for forestry is only a small step in the direction needed to achieve the ambitious woodland creation targets that have been recommended by the UK Climate Change Commission. More importantly, we still need to see a recognition that the challenge is not just to deliver more trees, but to ensure a much higher proportion of native woodland, so that we are tackling the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis hand in hand.
“Disappointingly, in Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, there is no mention of the vital role of blue carbon in tackling climate change, despite the enormous potential of marine habitats including maerl beds and kelp forests to soak up carbon emissions.
“And, it is vital that the £2 billion which has been allocated to the Infrastructure Investment Plan supports its new focus on natural infrastructure, and not just built infrastructure.
“To achieve the changes needed to address our environmental crisis, every sector has to play a role, so we welcome the Government’s recognition of the importance of reducing emissions from agriculture. While additional support for the Agricultural Transformation Programme is a step in the right direction we still need to carefully re-examine support payments to ensure that public money delivers public benefits and supports farmers to deliver the environmental outcomes that are so urgently needed.”