A healthy, thriving natural environment is essential to our future. But Scotland’s amazing nature is declining at an unprecedented rate.
Loss of habitat, pollution, climate change and the ways we use our land and seas are putting our wildlife and habitats under increasing threat. 49 percent of Scotland’s species have decreased in number since 1970, and one in nine is at risk of extinction.
Scotland’s ambitious, world leading climate targets are vital in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving us towards the goal of ‘net zero’ emissions by 2045. We know the climate and nature emergencies are linked, and we can’t tackle one without the other. We need the same ambition for nature.
Stop the loss of nature by 2030
Recovery by 2045
The Scottish government must set legally binding targets and milestones to halt the decline of Scotland’s nature by 2030 and secure its recovery by 2045.
Nature targets must be introduced by 2022, creating a strong shared objective to meet our 2030 and 2045 goals.
We need targets to:
Increase wildlife populations and their spread across Scotland on land and sea
We need to keep common species common and recover the populations of depleted species. We also need to keep widespread species widespread, and recover the range of species whose territory has contracted or fragmented.
End the threat of species going extinct from Scotland
There must be no more extinctions in Scotland as a result of human activity.
Increase the extent and quality of Scotland’s habitats
The survival and recovery of wildlife species depends on the size and the health of Scotland’s natural habitats. Improving connections between Scotland’s habitats ensures there is more space for Scotland’s wildlife species to flourish.
How to make targets work
Scotland’s climate targets have been effective in mobilising action across society and the economy because they are legally binding and include comprehensive planning and review mechanisms. If they are to work, nature targets must also include these crucial elements.
A new legal duty must be placed on the Scottish government and public bodies to halt the loss of Scotland’s nature by 2030 and secure nature’s recovery by 2045. Legislation will be needed to establish a comprehensive plan with appropriate SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) targets, subject to regular review and reporting, with scrutiny at a high level. The Scottish government must be legally required to ensure the SMART targets are met. And action to achieve the targets must be integrated across all areas of government.
‘Putting Scotland on a Path to Recovery: The case for nature recovery targets in Scotland’, a report for Scottish Environment LINK by Stuart Housden OBE, October 2020