A few days ago the Scottish Greens announced that Mark Ruskell MSP was putting forward a Parliamentary motion for there to be a declaration of a ‘nature emergency’ (see here).
Here’s the proposed motion:
The cross-party debate took place in the Holyrood chamber yesterday afternoon. You can watch a video of the archived session here and the transcript is available here:
If you don’t have the time to watch the video I’d thoroughly recommend reading the transcript – it’s quite enlightening. There’s a fair bit of chat about the Werritty Review and at one point Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon explains that the Government’s delay in responding to it (one year and still waiting) is not just because of Covid19 interruptions but apparently because the review contained more than one recommendation for the Government to consider(!).
Good grief. It’s not as though any of those recommendations in the Werritty Review were new ideas or that the Scottish Government has had, literally, years to think about these issues.
The Scottish Greens have issued a press release in response to yesterday’s debate, as follows:
SNP blocks declaration of a nature emergency
The Scottish Parliament has missed the opportunity to declare a nature emergency, after the SNP blocked the vote with an amendment congratulating the Scottish Government instead.
If passed, the Scottish Green motion would have made Scotland the first country to formally recognise the rapid decline in species populations as an emergency.
However, the proposal was defeated after the Conservatives backed a Scottish Government amendment which removed the words ‘nature emergency’, and other parties refused to commit to radical action required to halt and reverse the decline.
MSPs therefore voted against calling a halt to practices which are environmentally damaging such as driven grouse shooting, large-scale peat extraction and damaging fishing practices such as dredging.
Speaking afterwards, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “While I’m proud that the Greens brought this issue to parliament, I’m extremely disappointed that Scotland has not declared a nature emergency when the evidence on species decline is so clear.
“It was truly shocking to see SNP ministers congratulating themselves on their inadequate efforts, when their own data shows an alarming decline in species and a shocking loss of biodiversity.
“It is clear that only the Scottish Greens are committed to actions such as ending the scourge of Scotland’s grouse moors, and we will put our commitment to acting on the nature emergency in our manifesto.”