Brexit and climate change threaten our environment - we need urgent green laws

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Scotland's internationally important seabird colonies are under threat from warming seas.

Fears sparked by Brexit as well as mounting evidence of the global ecological crisis has prompted the groups to join forces

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13th November 2018 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A coalition of leading environmental charities have launched an urgent campaign to call for call for Scotland to have its own environment act.

Fears sparked by Brexit as well as mounting evidence of the global ecological crisis has prompted the groups to join forces and urge the Scottish Government to commit to a dedicated piece of legislation for Scotland that protects and enhances our nature, now and in the future.

Scottish Environment Link – which represents 35 charities - launched the Fight for Scotland’s Nature campaign at the Scottish Parliament.

They say 80% of all Scotland’s environmental laws come from the EU and that if and when Brexit happens, Scotland will lose this unrivalled support.

Alarmingly, with only a few months to go, there is uncertainty about what will replace this.

This is why Scottish Environment Link is pushing the Scottish Government to fight for Scotland’s nature and commit to an environment act before it’s too late.

Campaigners say that ahead of global 2020 targets on halting biodiversity loss, it is important that Scotland sends a clear message to the world that our environmental protections are not up for grab.

Joined up legislation in the form of a Scottish Environment Act, that is fit for purpose and caters to Scotland’s unique environmental needs is required for this to be meaningful.

Scotland may be small but its natural environment is of world importance. It has 60% of the UK’s seas and 10% of Europe’s coastline.

It is home to a staggering one third of all of Europe’s breeding seabirds and 29% of Europe’s seals. Its coral reefs, thought to be around 4,000 years old, support an incredible array of life, including fish, sharks and invertebrates.  

As for peatlands, Scotland has 5% of the world’s share, which stores 25 times more carbon than all the vegetation of the UK.

Charles Dundas, chair of Scottish Environment LINK, said: “Our environment is important not just in terms of its natural and cultural wealth. It is our life support system and we rely on it for food, clean water and air and jobs - 14% of which exist as a result of our nature.

“But this is all under threat. Every day brings new evidence of the global ecological crisis that is underway. Even here in Scotland, with one in 11 species currently at risk of extinction, the effects of climate change and ecosystem collapse are apparent. The legal framework of protections and associated funding that we currently receive from the EU have been pivotal in holding back the tide of further biodiversity declines.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We are committed to protecting and enhancing Scotland's environment and playing our full role in addressing global environmental challenges.

"That's why we've been clear that we'll, at the very least, maintain or even exceed EU environmental standards and carry forward the four EU environmental principles post-Brexit.

"We will be consulting shortly on future environmental principles and governance, as part of our on-going work to develop our approach to environmental policy in Scotland, after the UK leaves the EU, and look forward to SE Link's contribution to that debate."