MSPs raise concerns over cuts to environment budget
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee writes to ministers ahead of draft budget
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Cuts in spending on the environment will have a long-term impact, a Holyrood committee has warned.
In a letter to ministers, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee highlighted 40 per cent cuts to the budget of Sottish Natural Heritage over eight years, which may be exacerbated by a loss of EU funding after Brexit.
The group of MSPs recommended more government departments and agencies make carbon-neutral budget decisions and more “innovative thinking on preventative spend”.
Convener Gillian Martin MSP said: “Our Committee is concerned that the budget for the environment, climate change, land reform, research and relevant agencies has been declining in real terms for a number of years now.
“These cuts to the environment budget become particularly apparent when looking at Scotland’s environmental performance and goals. If we are to reach our ambitions we need the funding to match.
“We’re all becoming more aware of the very real damage caused by climate change, carbon emissions and the staggering amount of plastics floating in our seas.
“Now is not the time to drawback from vital investment in these areas – particularly when there is still such uncertainty on Brexit and what will replace the substantial amount of EU funding Scotland currently gets.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Reductions in Scotland's budget are a direct result of the UK government's austerity programme.
"Clearly, a Brexit which Scotland did not vote for will remove vital European environment funding and the UK Government must now give clarity on how it intends to replace this money."
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