A Holyrood Committee has outlined ways to improve biodiversity activity and reporting, after more than half of Scotland’s public bodies failed to report on their biodiversity efforts.
The Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee examined the biodiversity and biodiversity reporting duties placed on public bodies by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.
As part of these duties, public bodies must further the conservation of biodiversity and report on actions they have taken. This can include steps taken to protect species-rich greenspaces, wildflower meadows, as well as providing habitats for a variety of organism such as bees and other insects.
The Committee’s key recommendations include:
- The Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage should explore how to make it clear how the actions of public bodies can directly contribute to key national and international targets and outcomes.
- The Scottish Government should write to public bodies at the start of the reporting cycle, and at regular intervals, to remind such bodies of the biodiversity and reporting duties and how the work that they undertake as part of the day-to-day running of their organisations can contribute to fulfilling the duties.
- The Committee recommends that the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage review the evidence from public bodies received by the Committee which proposed additional guidance and support to assist them in complying with the biodiversity and reporting duties.
Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee Convener, Jenny Marra MSP, said:
“Our Committee has a duty to check if laws are working well for the people of Scotland.
“Our report today outlines a number of ways public bodies could be supported to improve compliance with their legal biodiversity and reporting duties. Even a small action can help conserve and enhance Scotland’s biodiversity and work towards important international targets in the future.”