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14 Nov 2018

Fighting for Scotland’s nature

A large group of people stand outside the Scottish Parliament building. They are holding lots of different colourful banners and placards.
We’ve joined a campaign with 35 other charities to ask for an Environment Act for Scotland to protect our nature, after Brexit​.

As the conservation charity that protects Scotland’s natural and national treasures, the Trust has signed up to be part of a new campaign to ensure nature is protected in law after the UK leaves the EU.

Scottish Environment LINK, a coalition of Scotland’s leading environmental charities, have launched an urgent campaign Fight for Scotland’s Nature, calling for Scotland to have its own environment act.

Fears sparked by Brexit as well as mounting evidence of the global ecological crisis also heavily impacting Scotland has prompted the charities to join forces and urge the Scottish Government to commit to a dedicated Environment Act for Scotland that protects and enhances Scotland’s nature, now and in the future.

A green poster with the following white and black text: Scotland needs its own Environment Act. In the bottom right corner is a logo for Fight for Scotland's Nature.
Scotland needs its own Environment Act.

80% of all Scotland’s environmental laws come from the EU. The combination of strong legislation and support for effective implementation has made these laws among the most effective on Earth. Further, Scotland’s nature has been a net beneficiary of the EU’s LIFE Nature fund, which alone has supported conservation projects worth well over €25 million to date.

If and when Brexit happens, Scotland (along with the rest of the UK) will lose the unrivalled support and enforcement roles of the European Commission, European Court of Justice and other EU bodies. Alarmingly, with only a few months to go, there is uncertainty about what will replace this.

This is why Scottish Environment LINK is pushing the Scottish Government to fight for Scotland’s nature and commit to a world-class environment act before it’s too late. Ahead of global 2020 targets on halting biodiversity loss, it’s important that Scotland sends a clear message to the world that our environmental protections are not up for grab.

Joined-up legislation in the form of a Scottish Environment Act, that is fit for purpose and caters to Scotland’s unique environmental needs, is required for this to be meaningful.

A puffin sits on the edge of a rocky ledge. It is looking directly at the camera.
Scotland’s seabirds need protection.
“The National Trust for Scotland is supporting this campaign because we want to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that our environment is protected and enhanced. Our nation’s health, wellbeing and prosperity is founded on maintaining a high quality environment and we think it imperative that this is embedded within primary legislation.”
Stuart Brooks, Head of Conservation and Policy

Scotland may be small but its natural environment is of global importance. It has 60% of the UK’s seas and 10% of Europe’s coastline. It is home to a staggering one third of all of Europe’s breeding seabirds and 29% of Europe’s seals. Its coral reefs, thought to be around 4,000 years old, support an incredible array of life, including fish, sharks and invertebrates. As for peatlands, Scotland has 5% of the world’s share, which store 25 times more carbon than all the vegetation of the UK.

Our Strategy

Our new strategy – Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone – provides a framework for the future of the National Trust for Scotland as we look towards our centenary in 2031.