Scotland's environment in 'serious trouble'

Golden eagle Image copyright PA

Environmental groups have claimed Scotland's natural environment and wildlife are in "serious trouble".

A total of 23 organisations compiled the "Responses for Nature" report and have now called on the Scottish government to take urgent action.

Among the recommendations is a call to develop programmes to recover threatened species.

The government said it would work with the groups to deliver challenging targets.

The organisations, which include RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, have also said conservation laws need to be fully implemented.

The report is a follow up to the 2013 State Of Nature UK-wide report, which warned that 60% of 3,148 species studied had declined in past 50 years, and 31% had declined strongly.

More than one in 10 of all species assessed were under threat of disappearing from the UK's shores altogether.

The organisations' 10 key recommendations include the government "setting a trajectory for nature's recovery so that, by 2040, we have a country richer in nature with more people connecting with wildlife in their local environment".

Threatened species

They also want the government to "fully implement and defend the laws that conserve nature", resisting any attempts from the EU to alter these, deliver a network of "special places" which are protected and well managed, and put in place programmes to recover threatened species.

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said: "In 2013, our State of Nature report demonstrated that nature was in serious trouble.

"As NGOs, we naturally asked ourselves 'What should be done about that?'

"This report seeks to answer that question, and is based on a year's interactive research with a wide range of experts - both in wildlife ecology and in policy development and delivery.

"The conclusion is not one of despair, but we must act with urgency to create a common course to save wildlife and the natural environment."

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "The Response For Nature report makes a valuable contribution to the debate about how best to improve biodiversity and help our natural environment to flourish.

"We have already set out in Scotland's Biodiversity - a Route Map to 2020 - which was developed in partnership with environmental bodies in Scotland - how we intend to deliver against the challenging biodiversity targets.

"We look forward to continuing to work with environmental organisations as we implement the route map."

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