Lorna Slater is new Biodiversity Minister in Scotland

Scotland has a new Biodiversity Minister following the historic power share agreement between the SNP and the Greens.

As part of the agreement, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has appointed two new Ministers from the Greens – Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater.

Here’s the formal announcement from the Scottish Government, dated 30 Aug 2021:

New Ministers to be appointed

Scottish Greens to enter Government

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced her intention to appoint two new Ministers following the approval of the historic Bute House agreement.

For the first time anywhere in the UK members of the Green Party will enter government and for the first time since devolution a formal cooperation agreement will be in place in Scotland.

Patrick Harvie will be Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, working with the Housing Secretary and Net Zero Secretary.

Mr Harvie’s responsibilities will include driving policy changes that shift Scotland away from reliance on high carbon modes of transport and heating and towards greener alternatives – essential as part of the push towards a net zero economy by 2045.

Ensuring fairness during that transformation will also be key, and Mr Harvie will lead on delivering a new deal for tenants, and ensuring building standards are fit for purpose.

Lorna Slater will take on the role of Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, working with the Finance and Economy Secretary and Net Zero Secretary.

Ms Slater will drive a Green Industrial Strategy, helping people access training and opportunities as part of a net zero Scotland, and ensuring our economy is supported through a just transition to net zero.

Supporting biodiversity and protecting our national parks and natural heritage will also form part of Ms Slater’s role, working closely with NatureScot and Zero Waste Scotland and supporting the development of a circular economy that minimises the impact on our natural environment.

The First Minister said:

This historic cooperation agreement is founded in a shared drive to work together in the Scottish Government to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.

We have massive challenges to overcome: a global pandemic and its lasting effects, the climate emergency and the assault by the UK government on the powers of our Parliament. Patrick and Lorna’s roles in Government are rightly at the heart of facing up to them, and the expertise and passion they bring with them will contribute greatly to defining Scotland’s path forward in doing so.

Although our parties do not agree on everything we have been able to compromise on both sides, find common ground and agree on areas where we can work together to build a better country.

The world has had to adapt quickly to respond to the fast-paced and changing nature of the pandemic but what it has shown us is that we can put politics aside to tackle the challenges in front of us decisively and in a way that delivers. I look forward to working with my new Green Party colleagues in this new and ambitious way.”

Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie said:

We are at a crucial tipping point in terms of our relationship with the planet. I am thrilled at the opportunity to drive forward policies that enhance peoples’ lives while supporting the urgent goal of tackling the climate emergency as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater said:

Any transition to net zero must be just, and my focus will be on delivering policies that support our workforce and wider economy through that change as well as ensuring our greener future is also a prosperous and fair one that benefits our natural environment.”

ENDS

The Scottish Government also publicised the responsibilities of the two new ministerial posts and their placement within the Scottish Cabinet, as follows:

Background
Ministerial Appointments are subject to formal confirmation and acceptance by Parliament and Her Majesty the Queen.

Responsibilities of new Ministers
Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie.

  • active travel
  • Future Transport Fund
  • energy efficiency
  • heat networks
  • heating and domestic energy transformation
  • building standards
  • new deal for tenants
  • Future Generations Commissioner
  • and serving as a member of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Legislation

Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater.

  • Green Industrial Strategy
  • green skills
  • circular economy
  • Zero Waste Scotland
  • nature recovery targets
  • NatureScot
  • biodiversity
  • national parks and natural heritage
  • plant health
  • and serving as a member of Cabinet Sub-Committee on Climate Emergency

Ministerial team

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
Minister for Drugs Policy, Angela Constance

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, John Swinney
Minister for Parliamentary Business, George Adam

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes
Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work (who will also work alongside the Net Zero Secretary), Richard Lochhead
Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee
Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, Tom Arthur
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity (who will also work alongside the Net Zero Secretary), Lorna Slater

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf
Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, Maree Todd
Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, Kevin Stewart

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville
Minister for Children and Young People, Clare Haughey
Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, Jamie Hepburn

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson
Minister for Environment and Land Reform (who will also work alongside the Rural Affairs Secretary), Mairi McAllan
Minister for Transport, Graeme Dey

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Keith Brown
Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison
Minister for Equalities and Older People, Christina McKelvie
Minister for Social Security and Local Government, Ben Macpherson
Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel, & Tenants’ Rights (who will also work alongside the Net Zero Secretary), Patrick Harvie

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon

Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Angus Robertson
Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Jenny Gilruth

10 thoughts on “Lorna Slater is new Biodiversity Minister in Scotland”

  1. Put bluntly, the Scottish Green Party did themselves no favours by dealing with the Andy Wightman incident in the manner it did. Some might even see that this indicates the rigidity demanded of neo-liberal Administrations…. and illustrates a willingness to let the tawil wag the dog, so to speak.
    They haven’t filled me with enthusiasm anyways, but time will tell.

  2. Thanks for that. As far as I am concerned the only thing that matters is that Lorna Slater bans muirburn asap and quickly sorts out an effective and enforceable licensing of Grouse shooting. She can ban lead ammunition while she’s at it, too. These are no-brainers, a mere starting point, but a test of the Green’s environmental credentials.

    Anything less, or dragged out, would be a cop-out. We still remember that Tony Juniper was once a Green Party Parliamentary candidate…

    1. I’m sure she’s set against wolves in women’s clothing being allowed into women’s spaces during the proposed GRA changes. And I would add protection of mountain hares and ending uncontrolled medication to the list.

  3. I’m looking forward to helping her sort out the priorities in her portfolio…..
    She needs an easy win early on.
    Given that she is now in charge of NaturistScot she can encourage them to fix the grouse moors problem properly.

    1. Well – let’s see where we are in 6 months. But I have to say I don’t have much confidence that countryside matters will take precedence over other items on the green agenda.

      1. Yes, I am inclined to the view that the only reason there are two Green Party ministers in the government is that it suits the First Minister’s agenda (i.e. appear to be making changes, but actually carrying on as before) to have control by any means available.

  4. I see the comments have been silently censored. Including mine, which were devoted to environmental matters. Tut tut.

    [Ed: Yes, Keith, comments that included any reference to transgender issues have been deleted because that topic was attracting other commentators who were intent on kicking off about a subject that is simply not relevant here]

    1. Thanks for the explanation, and I accept your point, but my comment(s) were specifically restricted to what I wanted Lorna Slater to achieve asap, with similar followups from others… although the context was associated with an off-topic comment.

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