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by Staff reporter
14 August 2023
Scottish political leaders lack 'urgency' in tackling climate crisis, environment charities claim

Puffin on the Isle of May | Sally Anderson/Alamy

Scottish political leaders lack 'urgency' in tackling climate crisis, environment charities claim

Scotland's political leaders lack urgency in dealing with the climate crisis, environmental and conservation charities claim.

In an open letter directed at "all Scottish party leaders", the heads of 25 organisations call for legal targets for nature restoration and a biodiversity strategy to reverse nature loss, as well as reforms to marine protection and funding for agriculture and forestry.

They also warn against roll-backs on existing environmental commitments.

After a summer marked by record temperatures and wildfire, the letter raises concern that "our political leaders are not responding to" nature and climate crises "with the urgency required".

It says: "The status quo is not sustainable. Yet we have seen key environmental commitments shelved or delayed and increasing signals that differing views on environmental policy will be exploited for electoral purposes or treated as disposable.

"All parties committed to strengthening environmental protection and restoration at the last Scottish election. Scotland, as a wealthy country, as an early industrialiser and as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, has a moral obligation to show leadership.

"There are opportunities in this parliament to deliver meaningful progress. We call on you all to reaffirm your commitment to the health of our planet - our life support system - by working together to rapidly support measures to reduce emissions in line with statutory targets agreed by this parliament, and halt and reverse nature loss."

Signatories to the letter include Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland, Gracie Bradley, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, and Philip Long, chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland.

Woodland Trust Scotland, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and Scottish Wildlife Trust are also amongst the signatories.

The full list is as follows:

Alastair Seaman, director, Woodland Trust Scotland

Alison Lomax, director, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust

Alistair Whyte, head of Plantlife Scotland

Anne McCall, director, RSPB Scotland

Clare Cavers, senior project manager, Fidra

Dave Windle, chair, North East Mountain Trust

David McKay, head of policy, Soil Association Scotland

Deborah Long, chief officer, Scottish Environment LINK

Eddie Palmer, chair, Scottish Badgers

Gracie Bradley, director, Friends of the Earth Scotland

Gus Jones, convener, Badenoch & Strathspey Conservation Group

Jo Pike, CEO, Scottish Wildlife Trust

Kat Jones, director, APRS

Kate Elliot, chair, Scottish Countryside Rangers’ Association

Kathy Wormald, CEO, Froglife Trust

Kit Stoner, CEO, Bat Conservation Trust

Lang Banks, director, WWF Scotland

Logan Steele, communications secretary, Scottish Raptor Study Group

Philip Long, CEO, National Trust for Scotland

Sally Hayns, CEO, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management

Shivali Fifield, chief officer, Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland

Steve Micklewright, CEO, Trees for Life

Susan Davies, chief executive, Scottish Seabird Centre

Tim Coleshaw, chair, British Dragonfly Society

Tom Prescott, head of conservation Scotland, Butterfly Conservation

Tony Gent, CEO, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

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