Question reference: S6W-23295
- Asked by: Maurice Golden, MSP for North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
- Date lodged: 28 November 2023
Current status: Answered by Mairi McAllan on 11 December 2023
To ask the Scottish Government when the decision that was taken for the Water Environment Fund not to support the eradication of non-native species will next be reviewed.
Scotland’s water environment is one of our most important national assets. The Scottish Government sets out it’s objectives and action programmes for protecting and improving Scotland's water environment in the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP), which the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) produces on our behalf every six years (currently covering 2021-2027). Each year the Scottish Government provides SEPA with a grant from the Water Environment Fund (WEF) to support their work to deliver the RBMP. WEF is targeted on projects which will derive the greatest benefit to Scotland’s rivers and neighbouring communities and is currently focussed on projects which restore rivers and improve fish migration.
Some projects to remove Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) were previously funded under WEF. However, in recent years funding for INNS projects has been provided through other funding streams such as The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) (total £3.24 million); The Tweed Invasives Project (£100,000); NatureScot’s Biodiversity Challenge Fund; The Scottish Rural Development Programme’s (SRDP) Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) (2020-2022 £20,392) and the Forestry Grant Scheme (£730,000 to date). Prioritising funding in this way enables more effective use of resources and greater benefits for biodiversity.