On Thursday a debate took place in Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s’ biodiversity and the progress made towards the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy a Route Map to 2020
The debate highlighted Scotland’s many success stories including progress made in protecting the marine environment and peatlands which has recently received a further £8 million from Government to deliver peatland restoration works through the Peatland Action Initiative (which will shortly open for applications) – one of the key projects helping to deliver the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP was very strong in her message on species reintroductions, reinforcing previous messages made that illegal reintroductions will not be tolerated stating swift action will be taken if illegal releases take place. Reference was made towards the proposed lynx reintroduction(s) in Scotland where it was stressed this proposal had a long way to go, particularly with regards timing and the need to use resources in supporting the conservation of existing native species such as the wildcat and red squirrel. Furthermore it was stressed that it was unrealistic to think that any reintroduction could be undertaken without significant consultation, particularly with those on the ground who are likely to be affected by any such reintroductions.
Ms Cunningham once again highlighted the need for co-operation and collaboration in the countryside and highlighted Scottish Land & Estates collaborative efforts, along with other organisations, to find a workable solution over beaver reintroduction.
The importance of urban greenspace and the development of a national ecological network were highlighted by several MSPs.
Finlay Carson MSP declared strong support for the creation of more National Parks in Scotland, particularly in Galloway. There was full agreement that the creation of any new National Park needs strong community buy-in if it is to be successful in its delivery.
Lastly Liam McArthur MSP was very supportive of the successes achieved under goose management schemes and warned that as funding for these comes to an end and a decision is taken on what happens next, it is important the good work achieved under these schemes does not come undone.
An interim progress report on the Scottish Biodiversity is due to be published shortly.
The full debate can be heard here