Scotland’s natural environment should be valued not just for its own sake, but because it generates wealth and can sustain and improve our health, lifestyles and culture.
This is the ambition outlined in a new three-year corporate strategy published this week by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
The strategy’s aims include encouraging more people to experience, enjoy and value nature and landscapes, and for the natural environment to contribute more to the Scottish economy.
Priorities include helping to halt biodiversity loss in Scotland, using nature more to help adapt to the effects of climate change, and providing valuable advice for the developing renewable energy sector.
SNH will also support the Scottish Government in marine planning and identification of Marine Protected Areas to improve environmental quality and guide decision-making for marine development.
Protected places will maintain and enhance Scotland’s best nature and landscapes, and deliver wider benefits for the local economy, jobs and tourism.
Other priorities in the document include effective and balanced wildlife management and supporting Scotland’s Land Use Strategy, as well as advising on the Common Agricultural Policy reform and renewal of the Scotland Rural Development Programme.
The strategy emphasises that all of this depends on SNH working closely with others. These include national and local government, MSPs, national park authorities and other public bodies. Relationships with land managers, businesses, voluntary organisations, community groups and individuals are also crucial.
Andrew Thin, SNH chairman, said: “Scotland’s health and prosperity depend on the quality of our nature and landscapes. It is crucial that we use this resource wisely and make sure we secure maximum public benefits from it in a sustainable way. The strategy sets out how SNH, as part of a smaller public sector, will work with others to deliver the Government’s outcomes.”
The SNH corporate strategy is available from the organisation’s website at http://www.snh.gov.uk/about-snh/what-we-do/strategy-and-priorities-2012--2015/