Whether it was Jacques Cousteau teaching us all about marine conservation from the deck of the sailing boat Calypso, David Attenborough’s amazing documentaries or Greta Thunberg, young and brave campaigning to highlight climate change, surely we are all now aware that the clock is ticking and we must do something radical to slow, then repair the damage we have done to this vulnerable little blue planet spinning in a vast black universe that we call home.
The destructions of forests and habitat, the plastic polluting our rivers and oceans, the damage to the ozone layer, the burning of fossil fuels, the super trawlers in marine conservation areas, the pesticides killing bees, these things can’t have been missed, can they? Or do we acknowledge them and then pass responsibility on to others. Do we shrug our shoulders and think there is nothing we can do because the problem is so vast? But that plastic bottle floating amongst a million others came from somebody. All the rubbish and litter was discarded carelessly by someone. I am not asking you to single-handedly mend the hole in the ozone layer. Governments have to facilitate the opportunity, and energy companies have to develop viable and affordable technology. But you can do something, and it isn’t hard, and it won’t cost you a penny. Take responsibility for your own litter. That’s it. That may sound trivial amongst the environmental problems the planet faces but it’s something you can do. Don’t go to the beach and leave the tide to take away your trash. Don’t drop juice bottles when you are walking the cut. Don’t throw the detritus out of your pristine car into the hedgerow. Then together we can start mending the ozone layer.
I have grave concerns that while the UK government is trying to bypass the European Union, they are also trying to bypass Scotland. The outcome of which would be to make us the most insignificant part of an increasingly insignificant island. Brexit will accomplish the first part of their ill-conceived master plan as is shown by the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics which showed UK exports of goods to the EU plunged by 40.7% in January, the biggest monthly decline in British trade for more than 20 years.
The latest figures from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) show that the agriculture and food sector has been one of the hardest hit with new checks and requirements for health certificates a significant barrier to trade. This is backed up by a report from a Scottish langoustine producer bemoaning the fact that he now has to produce 38 pages of paperwork and pay additional fees in excess of over £500 per shipment to export to France. He says it is crippling his business. Overall figures now show that food and drink exports collapsed in January, plunging overall by 75.5% year on year. And the second part of this journey to oblivion is facilitated by the UK government using the powers they gave themselves in the Internal Market Bill and making decisions on a UK wide basis, the latest being the Infrastructure Review, without any engagement with the devolved powers. Scotland is being press ganged into taking part in a hazardous journey and it is time to launch the lifeboats. All aboard.
Farmers, landowners and land managers across Scotland can now access a £22 million fund to undertake peatland restoration projects.
This is the next stage of the ten year, £250 million package announced by the Scottish Government in February 2020, and underlines the essential contribution that restoring degraded peatland makes to addressing the twin crises of the global climate emergency and biodiversity loss.
Peatland restoration is a key part of the Scottish Government’s goal of achieving a net-zero Scotland by 2045 at the latest.
As well as smaller projects, the 2021 funding round has been expanded also to welcome large-scale schemes over multiple years, enabling more flexible planning of projects and providing longer-term confidence to those looking to invest in people and machinery to undertake works on the ground.