Do public bodies take biodiversity responsibilities seriously? Is it seen as a ‘tick box’ exercise, or is there a lack of support in completing biodiversity reporting?
These are the type of issues that Holyrood’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee will consider as it launches its call for views today into the reporting duties placed on public bodies by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.
It is the duty passed by law of every public body to further the conservation of biodiversity and report on actions they have taken every three years. This can include any steps taken to invest in the care of green spaces, offer sustainable produce or provide suitable habitats for a variety of organism, such as bees and other insects.
According to a Scottish Government commissioned study, more than half of public bodies haven’t completed biodiversity reports. It explains “25% had not produced a report. We did not hear from the remaining 31% and could not find their report online”.
Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee Convener, Jenny Marra MSP, said:
“In our Committee, we have a duty to check that law in the Scottish Parliament is being complied with and is fit for its purpose.
“The public have brought to our attention that they have concerns that not enough public bodies are fulfilling legal requirements.
“Therefore, we will be doing a short piece of post-legislative scrutiny on biodiversity reporting and asking why some public bodies are not fulfilling this legal duty and what difficulties they are having with it.”
The Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee chose to undertake this short inquiry into biodiversity reporting after inviting submissions from the public on which Acts to examine.
How to submit written evidence
Organisations and individuals are invited to make a written submission to the Committee setting out their views on the following questions:
- How well do you believe public bodies understand the biodiversity and reporting duties placed upon them?
- Do you believe that public bodies are adequately resourced to comply with the biodiversity and reporting duties?
- Do you think the requirement to report on the biodiversity duty leads to effective actions for improving and conserving biodiversity by public bodies?
- Are there any changes that could improve the actions taken by public bodies in respect of the biodiversity and reporting duties?
The deadline is Friday 23 March 2018.
Find out more about the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee.