The USA has the bald eagle, New Zealand has the kiwi and now the 1500th petition submitted to the Scottish Parliament is calling for the golden eagle to be declared as the national bird for Scotland.
The petition, submitted by the RSPB Scotland, marks a milestone for the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee which has considered a wide range of petitions since it was established in 1999.
On Tuesday 28 January 2014, the Committee will hear evidence on this landmark petition from Duncan Orr-Ewing of RSPB Scotland and wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan.
Since it was created, the Committee has successfully championed a range of issues which has led to changes to the law and new Scottish Government guidance.
Committee Convener David Stewart MSP said:
“Over the past 14 years, the Public Petitions Committee has considered petitions on a huge range of subjects and I am very proud that we have been the platform for ordinary people to be able to try and make change happen.
“The petition by the RSPB shows the diversity of the Scottish Parliament’s petitions system. This is truly the Committee where the people of Scotland have their say. People from all walks of life and from all across Scotland can raise the issues which matter to them. Our Committee shows that one person or one group really can make a difference.”
Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland said: “The majestic sight of a golden eagle soaring effortlessly above the treetops, or along a dramatic cliff edge never fails to impress, so much so that this spectacular species was recently named Scotland’s favourite animal following a public vote.
“What better legacy can we provide for this initiative than to officially designate the eagle as Scotland’s national bird and join together for its future conservation? It would formally recognise the place this species has unofficially occupied in our culture for many centuries, and show our commitment and desire to protect and conserve it, and our wider national heritage, for generations to come.”
The petitions system at the Scottish Parliament was established by the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Since then, the Committee has dealt with a wide range of petitions on subjects ranging from access to cancer treatment drugs to supermarket expansion.
Petitions which have seen changes to the law include thermostat bath valves, sewage spreading, mobile phone masts and even the colour of the saltire flag.
Other petitions which have been influential include a petition on access to cancer medication, a petition calling for a free phone NHS 24 number and access to vitamin D, all of which have led to revised guidance from the Scottish Government.
Unlike the UK Government’s e-petitions site, it only takes one signature for a petition to be considered by the Committee.
More details on the Scottish Parliament’s petitions system can be found on the Petitions Webpages.