30% of Scotland’s land to be protected for nature by 2030

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Plans to protect at least 30% of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030 have been announced today by Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

The proposals were published in a new ‘Statement of Intent on Biodiversity’ which sets out the Scottish Government’s priorities for tackling biodiversity loss as part of a twin-crises approach to ending the contribution to climate change and ecological decline.

Currently, 37% of Scotland’s marine environment receives protection, with 22.7% of terrestrial land protected for nature.

The Statement commits to increasing protection on land to 30% by 2030 and examining options to extend this even further.

Ms Cunningham stated: “Dealing with the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss is one of the most important challenges of this generation.

“It requires global action and Scotland has played a key leadership role in international negotiations, agreeing ‘The Edinburgh Declaration’ with international partners.

“We have committed to maintaining or exceeding EU environmental standards and we are determined to continue to play our part in global efforts – cooperating with friends in Europe and around the world in the run up to the UN Biodiversity COP15 in China next year.

“The recent addition of 16 new sites to our MPA network demonstrates Scotland’s commitment to lead by example on marine environmental protection too.

“37% of our seas are now protected, exceeding the proposed international target to achieve 30% of global MPA coverage by 2030.

“As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, nature-based solutions such as woodland creation, peatland restoration, urban green infrastructure, regeneration, and a great range of sustainable enterprises will not only help the environment but create jobs helping us build a greener, more inclusive economy.”

The announcement comes ahead of the publication of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan update, with nature-based solutions to climate challenge expected to form ‘a key part’ of the update.