Almost a third of Scottish land and sea is to be brought under Scottish Government protection within four years under ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions and safeguard nature 

Environmental targets lasting until 2026 have been set out by government agency NatureScot, which has said that “nature is in crisis”. 

As well as bringing areas of land and sea under protection, there are also plans to cull deer herds and restore a quarter of a million hectares of peat bog land.  

The plans outlined in NatureScot’s new strategy will guide its work until 2030, and influence activity in the years beyond.  

It is hoped that increasing protection of vulnerable land and restoring valuable peat bogs will help bolster biodiversity and also fight climate change as Scotland moves towards net zero carbon emissions. 

Protection will be extended across Scotland

Peat bogs are eing restored 

Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said: “The Scottish Government has been working closely with NatureScot to develop this plan, which presents a sharp focus on restoring and protecting Scotland’s natural environment to deliver ‘a nature rich future for all’. 

“This autumn we will publish a new biodiversity strategy with ambitious targets to protect at least 30% of Scotland's land and sea for nature, and highly protect 10%. I look forward to working with NatureScot to achieve our goals both at home and abroad. 

“2022 will be a crucial year for nature - at COP15 a new global framework for halting biodiversity loss will be agreed. Scotland has been leading the Edinburgh process, mobilising other sub-national governments, cities, states and regions around the world to agree shared goals for nature.” 

The road map for the next three years is focused on three priorities - protecting, restoring and valuing nature. 

This will be achieved by expanding protected areas while regulating species management and delivering effective planning advice within them.  

Alongside ongoing efforts to restore peatlands, a new biodiversity strategy will be launched and efforts will be made to help areas recover from farming.  

Moves will also be made to attract public, private and social enterprise financing for both protection and restoration of Scotland’s natural areas.  

Protection will be extended across Scotland

Deer will be culled 

NatureScot Chair Dr Mike Cantlay said: “Nature is in crisis and we face a climate emergency. Much has been achieved but we know that greater urgency is needed to meet these colossal challenges. 

“This plan sets out the bold action NatureScot will lead to protect, restore and value nature. 

“By doing so, nature can contribute more than 40% of Scotland’s drive for net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. 

He added: “Success will require a radical change in how we use and value the land and sea. It’s vital that this transition is just and fair, with investment in nature delivering for people as well as planet through green jobs and investment. 

“We know that we cannot deliver this vision on our own. As Scotland’s nature agency, we will continue to work closely with partners, communities and businesses towards our shared goal of a nature-rich, net zero Scotland.”