19. We will implement the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, including completing the suite of protected places and improving their connectivity through a national ecological network centred on these sites

Implementation Lead(s): Scottish Government; Scottish Natural Heritage; Local Authorities

Locations: All Scotland

Further reading:
Scottish Government – 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity – A Strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland
Scottish Biodiversity Forum – 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity
Scotland’s Biodiversity – A Route Map to 2020

Environmental Mitigation: Implementation of the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity helps to mitigate potential negative effects of the National Planning Framework 3 on biodiversity and habitats identified in the National Planning Framework 3 Strategic Environmental Assessment (as updated).

The SEA of Biodiversity Strategy identified some benefits in terms of protection of some ecosystem services and scope for enhancement of the role of some types of ecosystem service.

The Environmental Report can be found on the SEA Database.

Ongoing Activity and Milestones:
Scotland’s Biodiversity – A Route Map to 2020 was published on 25 June 2015. The Route Map sets out the priority work over the next five years to help us deliver the ‘2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity’ to meet the international Aichi Targets for biodiversity.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is leading work [planned as part of the Biodiversity Route Map ‘Big Step 5’ to develop a national ecological network and has preparing a paper setting a national ecological network in the context of the commitment in the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity to complete the suite of protected areas and improve their connectivity through a national ecological network centred on those sites. This work has been informed by A Roadmap for Adopting a National Ecological Network for Scotland published by Scottish Environment LINK in May 2017, and by recent discussion with Scottish Environment LINK, Scottish Government officials and others. Further engagement with stakeholders on this is planned for autumn 2017.

Examples of project work which contributes to a national ecological network include:

  • Work to restore and improve habitats (including on protected areas), most notably through the Peatland Action Plan, the native woodland actions in the Scottish Forestry Strategy and the implementation of the two National Park Partnership Plans.
  • The identification of green networks in local authorities’ development planning, particular around towns and cities. The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) provides a national focus to this, although green network supplementary planning guidance has been produced outwith the CSGN, for example, by Highland Council.
  • The £2.3m ‘EcoCo LIFE+’ partnership project being led by SNH that involves practical action to specifically improve the quality of, and connectivity between, some of the CSGN’s key wildlife sites to improve the area’s ecological coherence.
  • A range of projects to develop integrated river catchment and land use management at a landscape scale, including the “Pearls in Peril” LIFE+ project and the SEPA led work on the South Esk, Dee, Nith, Glazert Water and Leven pilot catchments.

To help inform these projects, and to plan for further work, SNH is undertaking characterisation work on the new European Union Nature Information System habitat map to help with the identification of priority areas for action on habitat restoration, creation and protection across Scotland. The EcoCo LIFE+ project has also developed opportunity mapping of sites across Central Scotland to identify future areas of action.  This mapping has also informed an update to the Integrated Habitat Network model data for the CSGN which is used by local authorities to support green networks.

Planning Authorities to reflect ‘2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity’ within development plans.

All public bodies to continue to implement their duty to further the conservation of biodiversity.  A Scottish Government research project concluded in October 2016. The work evaluated the compliance and quality of biodiversity duty reports published in 2015 and also produced guidance for public bodies to use for the next round of statutory reporting in January 2018.

On 28 September 2016 two biodiversity monitoring reports were published by Scottish Natural Heritage. Scotland’s Biodiversity: A Route Map to 2020, First Progress Report gives an update on progress with all Route Map activities during the first full year since publication. This identified that almost 80% of the actions listed are on track to achieve or exceed their targets by 2020. A further Interim Progress Report was published in July 2017 giving an update on Route Map activities during the period July – December 2016. The report Scotland’s Biodiversity: Progress to 2020 Aichi Targets assesses Scotland’s progress towards global biodiversity goals, the 2020 Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets. Of the twenty Aichi targets, seven are on track, a further six are showing progress (but require additional action if we are to meet these targets by 2020) and seven will be reported on in 2017 when more data becomes available.

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