Our Natural Environment
- New £65m Nature Restoration Fund launched and funding projects
- Over 4,000 hectares of new native woodland created
- Land Reform Bill proposals published
Over the last year significant steps have been taken to deliver on the commitment to protect and enhance Scotland's natural environment. The £65 million multi-year Nature Restoration Fund has been established, which supports projects that restore wildlife and habitats on land and sea and address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. Minister for Biodiversity, Lorna Slater, announced support for the expansion of the beaver population, and NatureScot will publish Scotland's National Beaver Strategy this autumn. In addition, despite the main planting season being severely affected by winter storms, the native woodland creation target of 4,000 hectares was surpassed.
The Scottish Government is currently seeking views on the ambitious joint commitment on proposals for the Land Reform Bill, which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament by the end of 2023. The Bill aims to address long-standing concerns about the highly concentrated pattern of land ownership in rural areas of Scotland. Work has also been taken forward on the commitment to create at least one new National Park. An initial public consultation on our approach to this generated a range of ideas and comments on the role and functions of National Parks in Scotland. The responses are being used to inform further focused consultation with stakeholders in late summer and autumn and will be used to develop an Evaluation Framework to identify areas for National Park designation.
Everyone in Scotland deserves to have access to healthy, nutritious food. The Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 26 July and will underpin the work that is already being done across the Scottish Government to make Scotland a Good Food Nation. The Act also commits to establishing a Food Commission for making recommendations, conducting research, and providing advice to Scottish Ministers.
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