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Shaping and influencing policy - February 2021

08 February 2021

Over the winter months, we have continued our efforts to help set a positive policy agenda for a green recovery from the pandemic in the years to come, both through our collaboration with close partners and our engagement with key local and national policy developments.

Strategic engagement and working collaboratively

Firstly, in December we published our new report ‘Time for a new approach to tackling litter’, shining a spotlight on recent trends regarding Scotland’s local environmental quality and setting out our proposals as to how the decline in the condition of our communities can be reversed. In launching the report, we engaged with key stakeholders including Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government to build support for our proposals and recognition of the need for action; we look forward to playing our part making these aspirations a reality in the months ahead.

In December, we also worked with key partners including City to Sea and Marine Conservation Society around the Scottish Government’s consultation on restricting on single use plastic items. In addition to publishing our own response guide to the consultation, we also contributed to the collective Scottish Environment LINK response.

Developing and engaging with policy

A busy month policy-wise, December also saw the publication of the Scottish Government’s draft Climate Change Plan update. In January, we submitted our response to four parliamentary committees’ Calls for Evidence on the update, welcoming the ambition of the Plan but also calling for a greater focus on community climate action and climate education and training. As members of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, we also endorsed and contributed to the coalition’s policy responses regarding the Plan.

Across other policy areas, December and January also saw us engage with two further Scottish Government consultations, on draft strategies for funding environmental research and improving the quality of Scotland’s air respectively. In addition to this, in January we responded to Glasgow City Council’s consultation on its new Resource and Recycling Strategy, setting out our ideas for how a transition to a circular Glasgow can best be achieved in the years ahead.

Demonstrating expertise and credibility

Accompanying the Climate Change Plan update, the Scottish Government also released its new draft Climate Change Public Engagement Strategy in December, now the subject of a public consultation. We welcomed the draft strategy, including its recognition of aspects of our own work including Eco Schools Scotland, Climate Ready Classrooms and the Climate Challenge Fund, and look forward to putting our own thoughts forward as part of the consultation.  

Finally, January saw three further developments reflecting our expertise and credibility in different areas: firstly, we joined with fellow members of the SDG Network Scotland (now Vice-Chaired by our Deputy Chief Executive Catherine Gee) to call for a Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill to be brought forward in the next term of the Scottish Parliament; and secondly, we welcomed the doubling of the single use carrier bag charge from 5p to 10p in Scotland, and called for the money raised from the charge to be put towards environmental causes. Finally, our Chief Executive Barry Fisher joined Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham and other key stakeholders for a roundtable discussion on the current situation regarding flytipping, and the need for a strategic, coordinated response to the problem.

We support the