CASH for environmental research in Scotland has declined in recent years, sparking concerns over efforts to meet emissions targets.

Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee said that while spending on combatting climate change had risen, the budget covering research had dropped.

And it said it was “gravely concerned” over how environmental costs would be met after Brexit, urging the Scottish Government to work to find ways to replace funding streams “as a matter of extreme urgency”.

Convenor Graeme Dey MSP said: “Our committee is pleased to see an increase in overall spend on combatting climate change, which has now gone up by 20 per cent.

“But, after close examination and evidence sessions with relevant agencies and stakeholders, we have outlined concerns with how this pot of money is allocated.

“One of the committee's concerns is the declining budget for environmental research and agencies. At a time where, globally, climate change and its consequences is seen as one of the greatest challenges and threats, it’s crucial that Scotland continues to take action and lead from the front, including around research, on these very real issues.

“There also seems to be room for more innovative thinking on the benefits that spending on one area may have another, and there could be a financial drawdown to reflect this. An example of this might be the impact that enjoying nature and the outdoors can have on health.”