The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition)
Lib Dems promise 36m trees to assist nature emergency
Liberal Democrats want a new law to tackle Scotland’s “nature emergency” which would see an additional 36 million trees planted every year.
The party insists a new Nature Recovery Law is needed, to force governments to act.
The Lib Dem manifesto for next month’s Holyrood elections will include plans for such a law, setting legally binding targets for cleaning up the air, soil, seas and rivers.
The proposed legislation, which would be the first of its kind in Scotland, would also see more money invested though plans such as planting an additional 36 million trees a year across the country.
A target for 30% of all publicly owned land should be used for rewilding would be set – with this including land owned by Forestry and Land Scotland, the Crown Estate Scotland, and Scottish Water.
In addition the Liberal Democrats also want new national parks to be created in Scotland, saying this could provide an important boost for employment in more rural areas.
Speaking about the proposals, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “The SNP are consumed with creating more divisions by pursuing independence when instead they should be focusing on the recovery and protecting Scotland’s natural environment.”
In contrast, he promised: “Scottish Liberal Democrats will put recovery first.
“If elected as government, we would declare a nature emergency on day one.”
He said this action was needed “because almost half of species in Scotland are in decline”.
Mr Rennie added: “Experts say around one million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction.
“I want future generations of Scots to enjoy our woodlands, our national parks and our beautiful landscapes. Taking action now to stop the nature crisis is our duty.
“As a sign of our ambition we are proposing plans that would see seven native trees planted for every person in Scotland, every year.”