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Environment have your say

How can we protect our landscape and the diversity of wildlife within it? Can we 'clean up' our land, rivers and sea? Can industry, farming and fisheries grow without damaging their surroundings?

Scottish wildlife and habitats are declining. The populations of farmland and woodland birds are decreasing at an alarming rate, between 20-40% over the last 30 years. Wild birds tend to be good indicators of the health of the wider environment. We need to reverse this long-term decline. Scotland's rivers have been world famous for their salmon and trout fishing - we need to ensure this continues by improving river quality and preserving fish stocks. In 1995 nearly 9% of Scotland's rivers were assessed as moderate biological quality. Scottish rivers are important for leisure, tourism and sport. As individuals what should we do to protect our environment?

In recent years concern over environmental pollution has led to a series of detailed regulations controlling emissions of pollutants by businesses. As a result these, emissions have decreased significantly. The latest set of regulations, the EU designed Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regulations, will be implemented in Scotland over the next few years, and will bring about further improvements. In principle it would be possible to introduce even stricter controls, beyond IPPC. However, doing so could push up business costs further and affect employment in some industries. How do we feel about this balance of risk and reward?

Urban re-generation needs to be encouraged and at the same time we need to protect the countryside. What policies should the Executive put in place to ensure better re-use of previously developed land?

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