Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004), all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act (WANE Act) (2011) introduced a further requirement for all public bodies in Scotland to provide a publicly available report every three years, on the actions which they have taken to meet this biodiversity duty.
Nature provides us with water, clean air and food; our crops rely on insect pollination and the biological processes that create soil; and conserving wildlife, parks and landscapes can improve our health and wellbeing. Protecting our natural environment is a priority and one that requires all of us to look carefully at how we carry out many of our activities.
The Scottish Government is committed to tackling the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. We recognise that urgent action is needed, and have committed to delivering the transformative change required to protect our natural environment.
Policy on biodiversity is led by a dedicated unit within the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate. However, in keeping with the purpose of the biodiversity duty legislation, and an increasing focus on 'mainstreaming' of biodiversity policy, all areas of the Scottish Government are expected to take the conservation of biodiversity into account when carrying out their functions, from policy development to estate management. This report sets out how various key areas of the Scottish Government have furthered the conservation of biodiversity during the period 2018 to 2020, noting that due to the Covid19 pandemic, the majority of Scottish Government functions delivered from March 2020 onwards, were undertaken through remote, online working.
The material contained in this report was drafted in late 2020, at the end of the 2018-2020 reporting period, but not published at the time due to staff resource issues caused by the pandemic. As a result, it contains some references to 'future' events, activities or pieces of work which have already taken place at the time of publication.
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