Efforts to counter Tory attacks on nature are to receive a new £2.9m package of funding measures, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater has revealed.
Ms Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, told day two of the party’s annual conference in Dundee that the new funding would be used to accelerate the government’s response to the ongoing emergency.
She revealed £1.3m would go towards ambitious plans for restoring Scotland’s under threat Atlantic Rainforests.
It will also see the new ‘Species on the Edge’ project go forward to help protect and recover 37 of Scotland’s most vulnerable species – such as the great yellow bumblebee and the Scottish primrose.
A further £200,000 will go to the Green Action Trust to help expand nature networks – supporting their work with local communities across Scotland to create and restore woodlands and wetlands.
This will benefit restoration projects all over the country including the Clyde Climate Forest in greater Glasgow, new native woodland for East Ayrshire, restoring woodlands in Falkirk, habitat connectivity projects in Fife, and new wetlands in North Lanarkshire.
Addressing today’s conference, Lorna Slater MSP said:
“We are in the midst of a nature crisis that represents an existential threat to humanity.
“Just this week the WWF’s Living Planet Report revealed that global wildlife populations have shrunk by 70% in the last 50 years.
“Scotland has, I’m afraid, led that decline. We have one of the most degraded natural environments in the world.
“That decline continues, with Scottish wildlife populations falling by 24% since 1994.”
“Greens in Government are working on the solutions. We are committed to the transformational change that is needed to restore our natural environment. To working with communities, farmers and fishers to redefine our relationship with the natural world.
“As the Minister for Biodiversity, I am over-seeing the most ambitious programme to tackle the nature crisis we have ever seen.
“We have established a £60 million Nature Restoration Fund, which is already creating green change across Scotland. From restoring oyster beds in Loch Craignish to supporting rewilding and nature-friendly farming in the Affric Highlands.
“We are creating a brand new network of highly protected marine areas, which will see 10% of our seas dedicated to nature and completely protected from commercial activities. We are designating a third National Park for Scotland and working closely with the Parks to make them leaders in restoring our natural environment.
“Through the Land Reform Bill, we will require large landowners to manage their land responsibly. And I am working on bringing forward an ambitious Natural Environment Bill to underpin these efforts with the laws we need to truly protect nature.
“But I know that’s not enough. This is an emergency that requires urgent and far-reaching action.
“That’s why today I am announcing an immediate £2.9m package of measures that will accelerate our response to the nature emergency.”
The reveal comes just 24-hours after she revealed that the Scottish Government was also adopting a preferred position of no support for coal. It already holds a similar position with regards to fracking.