1.1 The UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021 ("the Continuity Act") introduces new duties on Ministers and other public authorities to have due regard to five guiding principles on the environment. These principles are set out at section 13(1) of the Continuity Act, and are the principle of integration, the precautionary principle, the preventative principle, the rectification at source principle and the polluter pays principle. These duties will ensure that consideration of protection and improvement of our environment is embedded in decision-making across different policies and sectors. In effect, this will keep Scotland aligned with the environmental principles that guide policy development in the EU and will contribute to sustainable development.
1.2 Section 17 of the Continuity Act requires Scottish Ministers to publish guidance on the guiding principles and the duties introduced by sections 14 and 15, as read with section 16. The purpose of this guidance is to serve as a practical guide to support public authorities and Ministers to implement their legislative duties. As set out in section 17(3) of the Continuity Act, anyone subject to the duties must have regard to this guidance. This guidance is intended to promote a common understanding and interpretation of the guiding principles and how they should be considered and applied when developing future policy and legislation.
1.3 Everyone in Scotland has a responsibility to help realise the best possible outcomes for Scotland's environment. The Scottish Government is committed to forging the way in the attainment of this goal, recognising that we must do this collectively at all levels, across all sectors in society.