7.1 A range of informed stakeholders took part in the consultation. They were typically highly-engaged and knowledgeable about relevant matters, including legal issues, management of Scotland's resources, planning and delivering services, environmental matters, the development of policy and monitoring environmental change.
7.2 Participants shared suggestions, examples and reflections on future environmental principles and governance in Scotland. They identified potential impacts of exit from the EU, the challenges and opportunities this may present, and the mitigating actions that Scotland can take to protect or enhance environmental protection. These responses provide a useful evidence base for the Scottish Government to draw upon in the development of the final legislation.
7.3 Responses to key proposals put forward by the Scottish Government were largely positive.
- Clear support was evident for the introduction of a duty and a policy statement to guide the interpretation and application of a duty. In and around these endorsements was a high level of discussion and differences of opinion about whom the duty should apply to, and which principles to include within the duty.
- Most believe a new function will be required to replace the current role of the European Commission in receiving complaints, and a range of models and suggestions were put forward about how to fulfil this role.
- Almost all responses highlighted negative impacts of the loss of engagement with the EU on monitoring, measuring and reporting; many advocated for the establishment of an independent body to replicate this function.
- The majority believe that governance issues will arise as a result of the loss of EU scrutiny and assessment of performance. Over half of the respondents called for the creation of a new body to meet the requirements for effective scrutiny of environmental policy and delivery; most agreed with the scope of the policy suggestions included in the consultation, with many calling for the scrutiny to be extended to new areas.
- Most believe the loss of the EU complaints function and EU enforcement powers will have a negative impact on Scotland. Almost all shared suggestions about what could be done to address this. Many advocated for the establishment of an independent body or watchdog.
7.4 Overall the Scottish Government's proposals were endorsed by respondents. However, given the breadth of views amongst respondents about priorities, areas of focus, the scope of the legal framework, calls for more detail, and the range in appetite in terms of ambition, it may be a challenge to develop a legislative solution that satisfies all interested audiences.