Our Plan for Scotland

Scotland's natural environment

Scotland's natural environment

We will promote the natural environment in Scotland. We will:

  • Establish new national parks or landscape partnership areas, learning from the first two national parks in Scotland, bringing the benefits of improved management, conservation and tourism to other parts of the country;
  • Support community involvement in the management of Marine Protected Areas to ensure local benefits from the new designations;
  • Ensure that existing powers under the Nature Conservation Act of 2004 and Marine Act of 2010 are used by all government agencies to protect, restore and enhance biodiversity;
  • Support whole river catchment management systems to deliver flood attenuation, including increased levels of tree planting and enhanced wildlife habitats;
  • Take stronger action on wildlife crime using the recommendations on prosecution and penalties from the recent review group, together with the proposals from Scottish Environment Link in its report Natural Injustice to tackle failings in reporting and investigation of wildlife crime;
  • Expand and enhance Scotland’s forestry sector and woodland cover, including an ambitious target to double the area of native woodland by 2050, through steps including restoring degraded woodland, extending management best practice amongst landowners, better links between farming and forestry, enhanced practical protection for ancient woodland, and regular updates of the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland;
  • Develop a plan for a circular economy, using recycled materials as an economic resource and supporting a zero waste strategy, including taking forward successful pilot projects on reverse vending machines;
  • Ensure a prominent role for animal welfare organisations and a proper evidence-based approach when current regulations on snaring are reviewed in December 2016;
  • Require the current working group on pet welfare to bring its work to an early conclusion to allow for updating of the laws on pet welfare in order to regulate puppy farms and prevent other animal abuses.