MSPs concerned public bodies are not taking biodiversity seriously enough

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 29 January 2018 in News

Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee will launch an inquiry into whether public bodies are taking the importance of biodiversity seriously

Image credit: Radek Szuban

MSPs will launch an inquiry into whether public bodies are taking the importance of biodiversity seriously enough in decision making, the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee has announced.

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011, public bodies are required to further the conservation of biodiversity and report on actions they have taken every three years

But according to a recent study commissioned by the Scottish Government, a quarter of public bodies have not completed biodiversity reports, while a further 31 per cent did not respond, with no report available online.

The inquiry will examine whether public bodies understand the biodiversity and reporting duties placed upon them, and whether they are adequately resourced to meet requirements.

MSPs will also hear evidence on whether current requirements to report on biodiversity are leading to effective action, or whether changes should be made.

Committee convener Jenny Marra said: “In our committee, we have a duty to check that law in the Scottish Parliament is being complied with and is fit for its purpose.

“The public have brought to our attention that they have concerns that not enough public bodies are fulfilling legal requirements.

“Therefore, we will be doing a short piece of post-legislative scrutiny on biodiversity reporting and asking why some public bodies are not fulfilling this legal duty and what difficulties they are having with it.”

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 23 March 2018.

Actions taken by public bodies to protect biodiversity can include any steps taken to invest in the care of green spaces, offer sustainable produce or provide suitable habitats for a variety of organism, such as bees and other insects.

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