Environment committee calls for views on future of green funding
In January MSPs warned that year-on-year cuts to environmental spending have led to green indicators “declining or at best flat-lining”
Forest - Image credit: psynovec
MSPs on the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee have called for views on future of environmental funding in Scotland.
In January MSPs warned that year-on-year cuts to environmental spending have led to green indicators “declining or at best flat-lining”, with the committee’s pre-budget scrutiny now set to focus on ‘preventative spend’.
Responding to Scottish Government’s 2018/19 draft budget plans, the environment committee welcomed a rise in spending on climate change, up from £463.7m to £558.1m, but suggested the effect of cuts to the budget for Scotland’s environment, and for relevant agencies and research, are beginning to be felt.
Writing to the Finance and Constitution Committee, MSPs also said they were “gravely concerned” over the impact of losing support from the EU for environmental objectives after Brexit, while recommending ministers explore options for replacement funding streams as a matter of “extreme urgency”.
The committee has now called for evidence on how effectively environment budgets contribute to healthy communities and a globally-sustainable economy.
MSPs will also explore the impact of the capital budget to support the delivery of public infrastructure in Scotland, including spend on buildings, roads, rail and digital, on carbon emissions.
Deputy convener, John Scott said: “Our Committee wants to hear a wide range of views on Scotland’s budget for the environment, climate change and land reform, and whether this pot of money will help to deliver a globally-sustainable economy and support improvements to health and wellbeing.
“All of the evidence we receive will help inform and shape our Committee’s work in examining the budget and if there should be a change in spending priorities to achieve our wider goals.”
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Nicola Sturgeon has stated her intention to follow the CCC’s recommendations, saying: “If that advice says we can go further or go faster, we will do so.”
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will also appear in front of the committee ahead of a stage one debate on the climate change bill