Wed 23 Dec, 2020

The new body will have the powers to hold the Scottish Government to account on any failures to tackle the climate emergency in the limited time we have left to keep global warming down Mark Ruskell

Scotland’s new environment watchdog will have the financial independence to hold government and polluters to account after Brexit, thanks to the Scottish Greens.

Scotland’s Brexit bill to keep pace with European protections has been strengthened by the Scottish Greens to ensure that new watchdog Environmental Standards Scotland is strong enough to investigate failures to meet standards and keep government to its word on promises to tackle the climate emergency.

However, the Scottish Government blocked proposals for additional targets to address Scotland’s nature emergency, which sees one in nine Scottish species facing extinction.

The UK will leave EU standards and regulations next week, with Holyrood taking responsibility for environmental and food standards and human rights.

Commenting, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “We face a Brexit cliff-edge, and when it comes to environmental protections, you won’t notice the EU Commission until its gone. That’s why Greens have been clear that the new watchdog must have the power to investigate breaches of standards. Financial independence will give it that.

“The new body will also have the powers to hold the Scottish Government to account on any failures to tackle the climate emergency in the limited time we have left to keep global warming down.

“Scotland’s nature emergency is also a pressing concern, with one in nine species under threat. It took ten years for the Scottish Government to get Marine Protected Areas in place. We need to up the pace to protect Scotland’s biodiversity, so it is disappointing that Scottish Government still won’t commit to nature targets in law.”

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