MSPs hear about the importance of conserving Scotland’s biodiversity


Invasive species, the importance of pollinators to our environment and how we raise awareness about the dangers of not looking after Scotland’s nature and wildlife were among the issues that MSPs on the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee considered today.

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee today heard from a number of organisations on the actions Scotland needs to take to ensure its nature and wildlife thrives.

The Scottish Government is expected to publish a revised biodiversity strategy later in the spring. The Committee will report to the Scottish Government on measures they think should be included within this strategy.

Convener of the Committee Rob Gibson MSP said:

“Globally, biodiversity targets have failed to be met, which makes it even more critical that we get the strategy for how we will meet 2020 targets right.

“The Committee heard a number of issues which are critical to ensuring that we conserve Scotland’s biodiversity in the future, from the importance of bees to how we educate the public about the importance of our wildlife and nature.

“But what was clear is that there is a willingness amongst organisations in Scotland to work together for the benefit of Scotland’s outstanding range of species which add hugely to the value of nature to Scotland, so it’s critical that this enthusiasm is harnessed in the Scottish Government’s revised strategy.”

A number of areas were raised with the Committee during this meeting including:

  • How we engage the wider public to understand the importance of biodiversity;
  • The role of neonicotinoids and their relationship to the bee population;
  • The importance of engaging land managers in biodiversity;
  • Ensuring biodiversity is a key part of the school curriculum;
  • The danger of invasive species and how these are controlled through import measures;
  • The importance of early warning when it comes to controlling threats to biodiversity.


The Committee heard from the following organisations:

  • Andrew Midgley, Senior Policy Officer, Scottish Land and Estates;
  • Dr Maggie Keegan, Head of Policy, Scottish Wildlife Trust;
  • Dr Paul Walton, Head of Conservation Policy, RSPB Scotland;
  • Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive, Buglife;
  • Dr Adam Smith, Director Scotland, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust;
  • Professor Alison Hestor, Head of Theme, Safeguarding Natural Capital, James Hutton Institute;
  • Deborah Long, Conservation Manager, Plantlife;
  • Jonathan Hall, Director of Policy and Regions, NFU Scotland;
  • Dr Davy McCracken, Team Leader, Sustainable Ecosystems, SRUC;
  • David Jamieson, Parks and Greenspace Manager, City of Edinburgh Council;
  • Professor Des Thompson, Principal Adviser on Biodiversity, Scottish Natural Heritage.

The Committee will take evidence from the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change on 20 February.

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