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Shaping and influencing policy - April 2020

Despite the understandable recent shift in national and global policy emphasis towards public health and responding to Covid-19, the first few months of 2020 presented us with several exciting opportunities to shape various aspects of environmental legislation, policy and practice, an aspect of our work which is increasingly important as a result of the climate and nature crises. Here are some highlights:

Strategic engagement and working collaboratively

In February, we attended two Scottish Government-hosted engagement events, on the 2020 Climate Change Plan update in Glasgow and on the fourth National Planning Framework in Stirling. These events gave us the chance to engage with other stakeholders and directly influence policy development with regards to these two crucial policy areas.

We have also spent the past few months engaging with fellow members of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, in the development of the coalition’s policy asks for the Climate Change Plan update. While the publication of the updated Plan has now been delayed past the original deadline of April 31st, we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that when the Plan is published it can play as positive a role as possible in bringing about a truly green recovery from the current crisis.

Developing and engaging with policy

At the end of February, we submitted our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its draft vision for housing to 2040. In our response, we drew on the expertise we have gained in this area through our work with the Place Standard, the National Award for Environmental Excellence® and Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood groups across the country, and highlighted the important role housing has to play if Scotland is to fulfil its obligations in tackling the climate and nature emergencies.

In January, meanwhile, we responded to the Fife Coast & Countryside Trust’s consultation on issues arising from rising motorhome use in Fife, offering our perspective on how these issues could be more effectively managed.

Demonstrating expertise and credibility

Finally, February and March saw two exciting developments come to fruition which we engaged with closely during their respective consultation periods in 2019. Firstly, on February 25th the Scottish Government published its new Environment Strategy. We welcomed the new strategy and its ambitious outcomes with regards to the climate crisis, biodiversity and circular economy, while also highlighting the key role that people and positive behaviour change will have to play in achieving the outcomes.

Secondly, March 16th saw the Regulations for the Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland laid in the Scottish Parliament, with the Scheme now set to “go live” in July 2022. We welcome the inclusion in the Scheme of drinks containers made of PET plastic, steel, aluminium and glass, and look forward to engaging further on this with our partners as we move towards the Scheme’s implementation.

15 April 2020

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