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07 September 2021

PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT – WWF Scotland comment

Responding to the Scottish Government’s legislative programme for the coming year [1], Fabrice Leveque, Head of Policy at WWF Scotland said:

“It’s particularly welcome to see some new commitments in today’s Programme for Government to place Scotland on a path to a just and green recovery.  If carried through, these will slash emissions, restore nature, and deliver new jobs and wider benefits to people now and for years to come. With all eyes on Scotland ahead of COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, it’s vital that these, and other policies, are implemented quickly to avoid the worst effects of climate change and further loss of nature.”

Significant commitments in the Programme for Government include:

  • Increase Active Travel spending to 10% of overall Government travel budget. 
  • A Good Food Nation Bill introduced this year
  • Beginning the process of designating Highly Protected Marine Areas
  • Commitments to ban the sale of peat for horticultural use in Scotland
  • Increased funding for low carbon heating

On transport and energy, Leveque said:

“We welcome the commitment that by 2025 at least 10% of the total transport budget is allocated to active travel, which will cut greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality and improve both physical and mental health. A small increase to funding for decarbonising heating over the next five years is also welcome, which will help householders switch to low carbon heating systems and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.”

On agriculture commitments, Leveque said:

“We welcome the commencement of the delayed Good Food National Bill. It’s also good to see a commitment to bring forward a preliminary package of measures to reduce agricultural emissions, and to support organic farming. However, there’s still a lack of detail on future rural policy, which needs significant transformation if it is to deliver against Scotland’s nature and climate ambitions.” 

On nature recovery, Leveque said:

“Building upon previous announcements of funding for peatland restoration, it’s good to see a commitment to consult on banning the sale of peat for horticultural use, alongside a welcome focus on future legislation, funding and targets for restoring and protecting biodiversity.”

On marine protection commitments, Leveque said:

“We welcome the commitment to begin designating a ‘world-leading suite of Highly Protected Marine Areas covering at least 10% of our seas.’  If managed effectively these areas will help deliver ocean recovery while supporting livelihoods and well-being.

“Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) with cameras is widely recognised as a powerful and cost-effective tool underpinning the sustainable management of fisheries and is already in wide use around the globe. It’s therefore good to see a commitment to roll-out REM to key parts of the fishing fleet. However, the pace must increase so that all vessels are equipped with the technology as quickly as possible.”

Leveque added:

“We know that this parliament needs to deliver major change across our economy to meet our ambitious climate targets. Today’s proposals are a welcome step towards achieving this transformation, and we must build on these urgently across every sector of our economy to reduce air pollution, improve health, create quality jobs and tackle emissions.

“People and nature are already feeling the terrible effects of climate change at home and abroad that’s why it’s great to see action on the climate and nature crises play an important part in government plans.”

Notes to Editors

[1] Scottish Government Programme for Government

https://www.gov.scot/news/a-fairer-greener-scotland/