Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has set out ambitious plans to save Scotland’s nature for future generations with a new Nature Recovery Law.
The party say urgent action is needed to write into law a requirement for governments to tackle the crisis facing Scotland's natural environment.
The new law, which would be the first of its kind in Scotland, would see binding national recovery targets and investing more money in nature through plans like planting 36 million extra trees each year across the country.
The party also plans to establish new national parks - in what would be an important boost for rural employment.
The Liberal Democrat manifesto will propose a Nature Recovery Law to set legal targets across government to clean up our air, soils, seas and rivers. The plan will include measures to:
- Set legally binding nature recovery targets, with an action plan and financial support for delivery.
- Protect and restore carbon-rich habitats while phasing out harmful practices.
- Expand woodland using at least 50 percent native species, increasing Scotland’s forest cover by an additional 36 million trees every year.
- Develop a formal strategy for Scotland’s Wild Land Areas.
- Set a national target that 30 percent of all publicly owned land should be used for rewilding, including land owned by Forestry and Land Scotland, Crown Estate Scotland, and Scottish Water.
Willie Rennie said:
“Scottish Liberal Democrats will put recovery first. If elected as government, we would declare a Nature Emergency on day one.
"Because almost half of species in Scotland are in decline. Experts say around one million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction.
“I want future generations of Scots to enjoy our woodlands, our national parks and our beautiful landscapes. Taking action now to stop the nature crisis is our duty.
“As a sign of our ambition we are proposing plans that would see seven trees planted for every person in Scotland, every year.
"The SNP are consumed with creating more divisions by pursuing independence when instead they should be focussing on the recovery and protecting Scotland's natural environment."