Skip to main content

19 April 2021

SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO - WWF Scotland comment

We will be responding to political party manifestos in the run up to the Holyrood 2021 elections on the 6th May. You can read the WWF Scotland Manifesto here

During the past year WWF Scotland has been calling for the next Scottish Government to protect and restore Scotland’s nature, and to slash climate emissions in heat, transport and farming as part of a just transition and green recovery.  

Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Conservative Party  manifesto today (Mon) Fabrice Leveque, Head of Policy said: 

“It’s welcome to see the pledge for a Nature Bill with the roll out of a nature network across Scotland and an end to the extraction of peat for compost. The commitment to an Agriculture Bill is also welcome but this must lay the framework for transformative rural policy. Elsewhere it’s disappointing to see gaps in the approach to climate change, particularly on clean heating and transport – the plans fall short of getting us to net-zero emissions.” 

On food and farming, Leveque said:

“We welcome the commitment to an Agriculture Bill but the proposals fall short of laying the framework for transformative rural policy. This is a missed opportunity to enable and support farmers to both respond to the challenges that a changing climate will bring and reduce agriculture's contribution to climate change and nature loss. The pledge to take an integrated approach to food policy is positive – better aligning production, consumption and Scotland’s 2030 ambition – but we’d like to see this underpinned by a Good Food Nation Bill.” 

On cutting emissions from heat, Leveque said:

“The pledge to make all fuel poor homes energy efficient, by bringing them up to EPC C standard by 2030 is a positive step, as is the £2.5bn of funding to deliver it. However, to meet our climate targets we need to start replacing fossil fuel heating systems at the same time as we insulate homes, so it’s disappointing not to see commitments to do this.” 

On nature Leveque said: 

“We’re pleased to see a pledge for a new Nature Bill, which we believe must include legally binding nature recovery targets. We also welcome the roll-out of a Nature Network across Scotland, phasing out of peat extraction for compost, and more native woodlands expansion and restoration. To properly tackle nature loss across Scotland, ambitious new planning reforms are also needed to ensure that all new developments are overall positive for nature.”  

On transport Leveque said: 

“We welcome the pledge to increase spending on walking and cycling to 10% of the transport budget as well as long-term support for electric transport. However, there's a disappointing focus on road capacity expansion rather than a coordinated approach to reducing our reliance on cars.” 

Fabrice Leveque added: 

“Action on climate change in the next parliament will require new efforts across the whole Scottish economy. It's only with ambition across all these areas will reaching our world leading targets be possible. We call on all parties to include ambitious new policies in line with WWF Scotland’s manifesto.” 

“As we look to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, governments and parliaments have a central role to play in leading the way in tackling these crises, as fairly and quickly as possible. With COP26 taking place in Glasgow in November, will be an opportunity for the next Scottish Government to walk the talk on climate change by accelerating action, putting in place new investments and policies, and ending activities that work against our climate and nature responsibilities.” 

Notes to Editors 

[1] WWF Scotland  Holyrood 2021 Manifesto for People and Naturecalls for  policies to place nature and climate at the heart of decision making, towards a future with sustainable cities and communities, climate-friendly transport for all, a fair, healthy, nature-friendly and high quality food system, and homes without fossil fuels.  https://manifesto.wwf.org.uk/scotland 

[2] Scottish Conservative Party Manifesto https://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Digital-Manifesto-Final.pdf