30% of Scotland’s land to be protected

THE Scottish Government has announced plans to protect at least 30% of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030.

The proposals were published in the government’s new statement of intent of biodiversity, which sets out its priorities in tackling biodiversity loss.

Currently, 37% of Scotland’s marine environment receives protection, with 22.7% of terrestrial land protected for nature. The latest proposals would see the protection of land increased to 30% by 2030 with an option to extend it even further.

The Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and land reform, Roseanna Cunningham, commented, “Dealing with the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss is one of the most important challenges of this generation. It requires global action and Scotland has played a key leadership role in international negotiations, agreeing ‘The Edinburgh Declaration’ with international partners.

“We have committed to maintaining or exceeding EU environmental standards and we are determined to continue to play our part in global efforts – cooperating with friends in Europe and around the world in the run up to the UN biodiversity COP15 in China next year.

“The recent addition of 16 new sites to our MPA network demonstrates Scotland’s commitment to lead by example on marine environmental protection too. 37% of our seas are now protected, exceeding the proposed international target to achieve 30% of global MPA coverage by 2030.

“As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, nature based solutions such as woodland creation, peatland restoration, urban green infrastructure, regeneration, and a great range of sustainable enterprises will not only help the environment but create jobs helping us build a greener, more inclusive economy.”

NatureScot chief executive, Francesca Osowska, added, “We need nature for our survival – but our nature is in crisis. We have to work quickly and at a scale not seen before.

“These plans are an excellent step to transforming how we interact with, and care for, nature in every aspect of our lives.”