NEW moves are being made for fresh Scottish legislation to protect the country's wildlife and environment as a new study found more than three out of four Scots feel new laws that maintain or improve on EU rules should be passed.

The survey undertaken last month by Survation on behalf of Scottish Environment LINK, an umbrella group of Scotland’s leading charities, revealed a huge strength of feeling among Scots for the country’s world-renowned nature.

It has given fresh impetus to the group's demands for new environmental protection laws in Scotland that would safeguard vital conservation work after the UK leaves the EU.

The coalition of more than 30 leading Scottish environment charities have made a new call for an Environment Act ten months after warning that Scotland's rarest species face being obliterated in the fall-out from Brexit unless action is taken to ensure vital environmental protections are provided in Scotland.

Some three in four Scots(86%) say they are concerned about the potential threats to wildlife from climate change, habitat loss and pollution.

READ MORE: Brexit threatens to wipe out Scotland's rarest animals and put at risk iconic landscapes

And 94 per cent have has said they see Scotland’s natural environment as "very important" or "quite important" to both Scotland’s economy and its national identity, a position described as "staggering" by the umbrella group.

Some 84% of people believe the Scottish Parliament should pass laws requiring the same or higher levels of environmental protection than current EU laws if the UK leaves the EU.

LINK said that is why it has making an "unrelenting bid" under the campaign Fight for Scotland’s Nature for Scotland to have its own Environment Act.

The charities also feel that while the Scottish Government made measures to tackle the climate emergency central to last week’s Programme for Government announcement, the programme contained "little detail" on protecting Scotland’s environment and wildlife from the threats posed by Brexit.

Among the concerns was that there is no mechanism to replace the European Commission's LIFE-Nature Fund which has given £25 million over 25 years to Scotland to help with more than 25 vital conservation projects protecting the country's at-risk wildlife and landscape. Losers would include a bid to stop Scotland's red squirrels from becoming extinct.

Scottish Natural Heritage's video devoted to red squirrels.

Deborah Long, chief officer of Scottish Environment LINK, said: “The Scottish public place enormous value on Scotland’s wildlife and nature, and rightly so – our natural environment is integral to making Scotland a good place to live. People’s strength of concern about the threats facing our wildlife is clear, as is the determination that Brexit must not be allowed to weaken our environmental protections.

“It’s also clear that people believe that in the event of the UK leaving the EU, we need to make sure there are ways to hold the Scottish Government to account on environmental matters. Scottish Environment LINK is calling for a Scottish Environment Act that includes the establishment of a strong, well-resourced and independent watchdog.

READ MORE: 10 species at risk of extinction amid fears Scotland is missing wildlife targets

“With Brexit potentially a matter of weeks away, it is now beyond urgent that the government sets out detailed plans for how Scotland will look after its environment in the event of departure from the EU.”

The survey found that nearly half of Scots either fear that environmental protections will get worse post-Brexit or don't know what will happen.

It also revealed that more than half also believe that EU environmental principles should be passed into law by the Scottish Parliament and that either the Scottish Parliament or a new independent watchdog should have the power to issue instructions and enforce penalties against the Scottish Government if it fails to meet environmental standards and targets.