A new poll released today shows that more than three quarters of the Scottish public (86 per cent) say they are concerned about the potential threats to wildlife from climate change, habitat loss and pollution. In addition to this, a staggering 94 per cent have expressed that they see Scotland’s natural environment as ‘very important’ or ‘quite important’ to both Scotland’s economy and its national identity.
The survey was undertaken last month by Survation on behalf of Scottish Environment LINK, a coalition of Scotland’s leading charities. It revealed a huge strength of feeling among Scots for the country’s world – renowned nature. It also showed that almost all (92 per cent) of those surveyed believe nature and wildlife are important in making Scotland a good place to raise a family and are important to the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland.
Furthermore, 84% of people believe the Scottish Parliament should pass laws requiring the same or higher levels of environmental protection than current EU laws if the UK leaves the EU. This comes at a time when 1 in 11 species in Scotland is at risk of extinction.
This is why LINK has launched an unrelenting bid under the campaign Fight for Scotland’s Nature for Scotland to have its own Environment Act. The charities also feel that while the Scottish Government made measures to tackle the climate emergency central to last week’s Programme for Government announcement, the programme contained little detail on protecting Scotland’s environment and wildlife from the threats posed by Brexit.
More than half of those surveyed also believe that EU environmental principles should be passed into law by the Scottish Parliament and that either the Scottish Parliament or a new independent watchdog should have the power to issue instructions and enforce penalties against the Scottish Government if it fails to meet environmental standards and targets.
Deborah Long, chief officer of Scottish Environment LINK, said today: “The Scottish public place enormous value on Scotland’s wildlife and nature, and rightly so – our natural environment is integral to making Scotland a good place to live. People’s strength of concern about the threats facing our wildlife is clear, as is the determination that Brexit must not be allowed to weaken our environmental protections.
“It’s also clear that people believe that in the event of the UK leaving the EU, we need to make sure there are ways to hold the Scottish Government to account on environmental matters. Scottish Environment LINK is calling for a Scottish Environment Act that includes the establishment of a strong, well-resourced and independent watchdog.
“With Brexit potentially a matter of weeks away, it is now beyond urgent that the government sets out detailed plans for how Scotland will look after its environment in the event of departure from the EU.”
(1) Scottish Environment LINK is the forum for Scotland’s voluntary environment community, with over 35 member bodies representing a broad spectrum of environmental interests with the common goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society.
LINK is a Scottish Charity (SC000296) and a Scottish Company Limited by guarantee (SC250899). LINK is core funded by Membership Subscriptions and by grants from Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Government and Charitable Trusts.
2) People aged 16+ and living in Scotland were interviewed via online panel. Data was weighted to the profile of all Scottish people aged 16+. Data was weighted by age, sex, region and 2016 Scottish Parliamentary constituency vote.
Targets for the weighted data were derived from Office of National Statistics data and the results of the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election.
(3) Full survey results are are available at https://www.fightforscotlandsnature.scot/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Scot-Link-final-tables-pdf.pdf
(4) More information about the Fight For Scotland’s Nature campaign can be found at www.fightforscotlandsnature.scot