Scottish National Party blocks declaration of ‘nature emergency’

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.”


18 thoughts on “Scottish National Party blocks declaration of ‘nature emergency’”

    1. Not really Tories. They are a nationalist & socialist party which may not be all that great a combination.

      Apart from their label we have categorically learned that they are a party hellbent on supporting a section of society that is the motivation behind the attempts to exterminate raptors and mould the land to provide targets for shooters. That is immensely worrying.

      They did not gain the support of the electorate on that ticket therefore it appears to be a hidden agenda from the outset or an agenda acquired for convenience.

  1. Sad to say but Gougeon is the wrong person for the job (as happens far too frequently). The environment deserves someone prepared to fight for it not just treat it as something I do to fill the day. Putting everything on the back burner without ever switching on the power or looking to the engineer who wants to sell you a different product is not how someone in power should operate. She’s a Minister with the power and authority to meet the aspirations of the majority who want change and should act accordingly. xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

  2. This isn’t just Gougeon, though she has an interesting political history and the location of her constituency and the nature of the dominant powers within it, might go some way to explaining her reticence to act in accoradance with the science. Every constituency east of the A9 is either Conservative or SNP … and the you couldn’t slip a midgie’s ear between them as far as the position on environment and the protection of all in it.
    Their position is against any of the public polls taken on blood sports and the public’s general attitude towards driven grouse moors but this seems to matter little due to the resources big landowners can, if motivated, contribute towards chosen projects. It matters little to the driven grouse moor ownerswhehgter it is ther SNP or the Conservative who wins the seat in these constituencies as both tow the line in regards to their interests.
    This is why I have often said that any meaningful change must come from the rank and file of the SNP and they should be supported.
    Frankly put, there is no meaningful political path forward in these constituences in regards more protection in this area unless they do not conflict with the needs of todays large landowners.

    1. I see an odd combination of policies. They look to be acting for Hunting, Shooting & Fishing interests, yet there is also the whole Gender Rights dispute ongoing. And this latter seems to me to be by those new arrivals who might previously have been pro Labour. Then there is the sorry Alex S saga, which one could wrongly assume to be driven by Westminster. It’s a Gordian knot, partly perhaps from having a very wide membership base.

  3. Ah well, there you go as far as protecting our wildlife goes the current Scottish administration just indulges in bullshite. A big fanfare about granting the beaver legal protection on May 1st 2019 then within a few months approx a fifth of Scottish population gets shot ‘legally’ under license, this had been planned for before the legal protection came in. Exactly the same thing with the new supposed protection for the mountain hare, a big hurrah then it turns out it’s business as usual once attention dies down a bit. And of course Werritty………

    If and when things start getting back to normal then well past time for another demo at the parliament, a joint one about raptor persecution, beaver and mountain hare slaughter and maybe a general comment about the nature emergency. This would make more impact than one topic at a time and be much more likely to garner media coverage. Between DGS and open hill deer stalking there’s probably no other country in the world that’s been as badly hammered ecologically as Scotland. That also means few other countries have the potential for change we do, to pioneer new ways of public involvement in rewilding and subsequent ecotourism/green business – a world leader. And as things stand the chances of this happening are sweet FA, all to indulge idiots who enjoy shooting stags with big antlers and big bags of grouse.

    1. Well said, LW sums it all up nicely, if I could use such a word about this continuing ecological disaster.Those of us who support scottish independence and have a vision of a rewilded Scotland are increasingly alarmed by the SNPs lack of vision for the future. What on earth do they think they have to gain by propping up the old feudal structures and barbaric practices of game shooting?..Votes?!…ah dinnae think sae…

      1. The only way forward as I have said before is to link the intense grouse management regime/the landowners/the wildlife massacre and the vast amounts of tax payer subsidy in the public mind.

      2. Dave, they will most certainly have something to gain. Gaining something (apparently not votes) very considerable is an attested, watertight, nailed on, copper-bottomed consequence of their conduct.

        The crucial question is – Precisely what are the SNP gaining from their current policy of failing to extinguish endless wildlife crime and land abuse.

        There has to be a reason. Therefore there must be beans there to be spilled.

      3. There’s a SNP MSP in a very industrial constituency in the central belt who when they found out that a licence for a trial reintroduction of lynx in the Kielder Forest had been turned down gave the decision a big thumbs up on their facebook page, according to him Sheep Farming 1….Lynx 0. This was irrespective of whoever was making the application. That same MSP was also very obstructive about having beavers back in Scotland. A politician for an urban constituency going out of their way to placate the most reactionary and vested rural interests, Fergus isn’t an anomaly unfortunately. The SNP is at serious odds with its own membership as well as the general public and as you say why?

  4. Its beyond time that Scotland and the SNP looked hard at the Future Generations Act that the Welsh Assembly has passed ?

    1. All Scottish policy then has to be guided by the FGA and lie within “the interests of the future”; it is world leading legislation that clearly has “Passed the Scottish “Hive Mind” by” ?

  5. This demonstrates just what hypocrites the SNP contains in its party. I agree with the previous comment that the SNP isn’t a socialist party. In fact it has its roots in fascism. Hugh MacDiarmid, one of the founders of the SNP, had an allegiance to fascism. It is interesting to note that in my local library, there are many volumes of his writing and on him, at the expense of providing other books.

    I still maintain that we need to put up candidates in the 2021 elections. Even just a few in well chosen seats would be sufficient to expose them.

    My take on the situation is that the SNP are tugging their forelocks to the feudal lairds that run Scotland. I wonder whether they will close the borders to the rich aristocrats from England and elsewhere?

    1. MacDiarmid’s dalliance with fascism was temporary and by the 1930’s he castigated Neville Chamberlain over his appeasement of Hitler’s expansionism. “He was a man of many pairts” and cannot be seen in any other way than multi-dimensional. I’d hate simply to be seen as comprising of only parts from a particular period of my life which might impart a stereotype at odds withg who I am today.
      My choice of Party to vote for at the election is the Greens because they come closest to attempting to rectify both environmental and social issues in a fair and egalitarian manner .. and have within their Party MSP’s who do say what they think and go out on a limb to promote and support environmental and ecological concerns. Our recent oast substantiates that.

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