Planning & Environment

Robert Seaton’s tree hugging former colleagues at Fife Council may be doing their bit for biodiversity but it would appear that the same cannot be said for the rest of Scotland – or indeed the rest of the World for that matter!!

A recent SPICe briefing published, in this the “United Nations Year of Biodiversity”, reveals that not one of the UN member states who signed up to biodiversity targets in 2002 have actually managed to meet them.

So despite the duties on public bodies to further the conservation of biodiversity under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, the support for biodiversity found in NPF2, the SPP, Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy and the valiant attempts of Fife Council it would appear that conservation of biodiversity in Scotland is not being achieved – or at least not to the required levels.

The briefing states that although some targets have been met these successes “are related more to processes rather than to biological successes on the ground”. In other words, the plans are in place but it’s not clear yet whether they actually work? (I’m sure Robert’s red squirrels would say they do!!!)

UN representatives are at this moment meeting in Nagoya, Japan to agree global post 2010 biodiversity targets. Will these targets be more achievable? Perhaps a better question to ask is will achieving these targets have the desired outcomes? We will have to wait for an answer on this one, the conference ends this Friday (29th) and current reports indicate that (shock, horror for an environmental conference!) the member states are finding it difficult to come to an agreement…

The discussions in Japan and the fact that the UN has dedicated a full year to the “celebration of life on earth and of the value of biodiversity for our lives” (Convention on Biological Diversity website, 2010) are evidence, however, of the importance being placed on conserving biodiversity. Not least due to the perceived economic costs associated with biodiversity loss. As this increasingly filters down into public policy we may see more squirrels live to fight another drey… (whether they be grey, red or black!!!)

Planning & Environment