Tue 8 Oct, 2019

The rapid decline in wildlife requires an emergency response in the way food is produced in Scotland, the Scottish Greens have said.

In a question to ministers in the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Green environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell called for an expansion in organic farming in the wake of last week’s State of Nature report, which showed a 41% decline in of species in the UK.

Minister Mairi Gougeon admitted organic farming in Scotland has declined, and agreed to discuss this as part of the next organic action plan.

Commenting, Mark Ruskell said: “The State of Nature report was a stark wake up call to the impact climate change, unsustainable land use and pollution is having on nature.

“Scotland’s wildlife is in precipitous decline, with many species facing extinction unless decisive action is taken. Organic farming avoids chemicals and protects habitats supporting far more biodiversity than conventional farming..

“Public procurement should swing behind efforts to address this crisis. For example, in Denmark, 60 per cent of food procured by the public sector is organic. Scotland should do the same and set organic procurement targets. Ensuring our schools and hospitals provide organic food could play a leading role in shifting our food production while supporting farmers.

“We cannot look at species loss in isolation. Procurement could be part of a Scottish Green New Deal which rebuilds our public sector to address the Climate Emergency.

“This would also restore our natural environment through large-scale reforestation, the restoration of degraded peatlands, reform of agricultural subsidies and the improvement and expansion of our national park network. Only a comprehensive, Scotland-wide programme such of this will finally reverse this relentless loss of our wildlife.”

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