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Environment

We value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations

EnvironmentWhy is this National Outcome important?

We must all live as part of nature. We must live within environmental limits, adapting our society to a greener approach. Fail to do so and future generations will consider us entirely negligent. We have their future in our hands. We must respect the planet's environment, resources and biodiversity. Only in this way can we achieve a sustainable economy which provides prosperity and opportunities for all, a society in which environmental costs fall on those who impose them and efficient use of natural resources is incentivised. Every generation must also value the best of the buildings created by previous generations and learn from what they tell us.

Scotland's built and natural environment is a major asset for us to enjoy in life and business. That's why we need to protect and enhance it. Clean air and water, and uncontaminated soil, support and protect our public health and wellbeing. Good quality built environments, parks and landscapes provide places where we can enjoy ourselves and keep fit. They are the inspiration for much of Scottish art and literature and the natural and built environment are sources of wealth and economic opportunities - especially for fishing, farming, forestry, aquaculture, renewable energy and tourism.

Nature is no respecter of national boundaries and Scotland alone cannot save the world. But by being green leaders, by managing our environmental impact and by protecting the best of our built heritage, we can serve as a good role model for other nations.

What will influence this National Outcome?

Regulation (e.g. listed building controls and the Water Framework Directive) and public spending (e.g. grants to farmers) will continue to be important. But securing broad public understanding of the importance of environmental respect is essential. That, in turn, will depend on better education and better science, both better communicated.

In education, for example, working through the school curriculum and further and higher education, developing the eco-schools programme and making use of buildings, landscapes and the natural world as teaching resources will help produce environmentally active citizens of the future. The media have a responsibility - and a big opportunity - to help raise awareness and understanding of our natural environment.

Visits to Scotland's historic, built and natural landscapes and seascapes can motivate people to be more interested and engaged in environmental protection. All public and private bodies need to become strong advocates for the environment and demonstrate good practice.

The voluntary sector, particularly the environmental Non Governmental Organisations, are especially skilled in engaging members of the public in local community improvement works and in the promotion of capacity building and local decision-making.

What is the Government's role?

To help protect and enhance our natural and built environment, the Scottish Government will ensure a proportionate level of regulatory protection and also:

  • Improve the water environment and drinking water quality through support for Scottish Water's record £2.5bn investment programme, and reduce pollution and flood risk through additional funding for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
  • Implement the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, including movement towards a wider ecosystem approach to nature conservation.
  • Enter into rural development contracts under the £1 billion plus Scotland Rural Development Programme to help farmers, crofters and others to conserve, enhance and manage the rural environment.
  • Introduce Scottish marine legislation, to ensure the sustainable management of seas and coasts and to balance the competing interests for use and protection of the sea.
  • Allocate resources from Historic Scotland's £50 million budget to undertake historic building conservation projects that will allow future generations to enjoy Scotland's historic assets.

Related Strategic Objectives

Greener

Healthier

Wealthier and Fairer

Environment