Scottish Parliament to vote on declaring a nature emergency

Press release from the Scottish Greens (15 November 2020)

Scottish Parliament to vote on a nature emergency

The Scottish Parliament must declare a nature emergency to reverse the alarming decline in species, the Scottish Greens have said.

The Scottish Greens are set to put the declaration to a vote at Holyrood which would make Scotland the first country in the world to recognise that the rapid decline of species and wildlife populations across the world constitutes an emergency.

Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history, and in Scotland one in nine species face extinction. The motion will call for a target to halt all declines by 2030, and for 30% of Scotland’s land and sea to be set aside for a nature recovery.

The call comes following multiple warnings about the rapid loss of species abundance and distribution, and habitat loss and ecosystems in decline.

A WWF report in September revealed global numbers of mammals, birds, fish and insects have fallen by two-thirds since 1970, including a drastic decline in numbers of the Arctic Skua in Orkney.

The Mammal Society placed a number of Scottish species on its ‘red list’ in August, including the Wildcat, Mountain Hare, Beaver and Red Squirrel, as well as hedgehogs and species of bats and voles.

And Scottish Government figures released in the summer reveal that the decline in nature has not slowed in Scotland in recent years.

Commenting, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said:

Everyone from the UN to David Attenborough and nature organisations here in Scotland are warning that our nature is in freefall and there’s no sign of it slowing unless we take action now.

Here in Scotland one in nine species already face extinction and instead of taking the bold action needed we’ve had years of neglect, with vested interests consistently prioritised over wildlife protection. To make matters worse, simple opportunities to improve the situation are being missed, particularly when it comes to planning laws and targeting farming subsidies.

If we are going to reverse this alarming decline in Scotland’s nature, then parliament must declare a nature emergency this week, and commit to devote 30 per cent of Scotland’s land and sea to restoring nature by 2030.”


The Scottish Greens have launched a webpage dedicated to the declaration of a Nature Emergency and they are asking members of the public to sign a petition in support, in advance of the motion in Parliament on Wednesday 18 November 2020.

You’ll notice that they’ve chosen a photograph of an intensively managed grouse moor to illustrate their case. This is no coincidence, given that they’re calling for action to ‘end those practices that are deeply environmentally damaging and fundamentally at odds with protecting nature’, including:

  • Driven grouse moor management
  • Large scale peat extraction 
  • Damaging fishing practices like dredging in sensitive, nature-rich marine environments

If you’d like to sign in support of their petition please visit the webpage here

20 thoughts on “Scottish Parliament to vote on declaring a nature emergency”

  1. I would add intensive land based agriculture and forestry – heavy pesticide and fertiliser usage on fields; monoculture forestry with clearfell practice adding to erosion and silting up of watercourses….and last but not least, silage pollution.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Dave. I’ve signed but highlighted the need to stop damaging afforestation, especially in the south.

      1. Indeed Anan. I’ve signed anyway and put ‘Ban driven grouse shooting’ as my priority in the comments box.

        1. Me, too. Good for the Scottish Greens. We’ve got to keep letting everyone know we’re not going to give up on this!

  2. Great…followed by a total ban on gamebird shooting and it’s associated horrors, ending of the horrible proliferation of conifer ‘crops’ everywhere, with it’s associated destruction of habitats, no more hideous wind turbines and generous grants for organic farming to be introduced……might just do the trick.

  3. I have signed the petition to declare the emergency but with the history of the Scottish government passing legislation and then not implementing it I am not hopeful. Sorry.

  4. Not sure that asking for a “nature emergency” to be declared is the best strategy.

    That name will be a turn off in much the same way that people shy away from the doom goblin’s predictions of climate change. No matter how true it is it will be kicked into the long heather.

    Much better, FOR NOW, to stay focused on DGS and wildlife crime. The SNP/SG are on the back foot with that and there is no easy way out for them.

    If the fight is suddenly changed from a determined pointed attack to a multi-faceted front it could leave everything in a state of flux.

    Next thing we know the dodgers and shufflers would adopt the tactic of announcing another delaying commission to study the whole thing holistically. That would go on for longer than the interminable Edinburgh trams inquiry fiasco.

    1. Strategy for what? This is not about DGS it’s about a nature emergency. This is part of a thrust to get nature (ecological) emergencies declared alongside climate emergencies at all levels of government. Many local authorities in England have already done this.

  5. Good luck with this, given how we are still waiting, and waiting, and waiting for he result of the Werrity report. They may respond when all the iconic wildlife in Scotland have been shot, trapped or poisoned.
    Yours in despair, Deb Frost

    Sent from Mail for

    Windows 10

  6. Ban driven grouse shooting
    . And prosecute those involved in killing birds of prey.even if it’s the royals. As we all no they go shooting.

    1. Well Ann, if you ‘no’ they all go shooting, then you must ‘no’ that you cannot prosecute the Queen. For anything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s