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A manifesto for people and planet

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​Scotland's leading environmental groups set out their stall ahead of the 7 May poll

The country's leading green groups have laid down a challenge to the parties in the general election, imploring them to put the planet at the heart of their policies.

Scottish Environment LINK has issued a seven point manifesto which outlines the aspirations and the specific policies it would like to see addressed.

The LINK is a forum consisting of 37 of the country’s biggest and most influential green groups, representing half a million individual members and including the RSPB, WWF Scotland and Friends of the Earth.

Different sections of the manifesto raise a general aim, which is then underpinned and fleshed out by a series of policy points.

The LINK wants to see success in society “measured intelligently”, with economic, social and environmental successes equally valued and “measured in terms of their long-term sustainability.”

Taking this further, the manifesto says there must be a move from a position where economic growth is given primacy.

Our attitudes and behaviours must be set in full awareness of the global ecological impact of our lives and activities

Specifically, Westminster should adopt a "national performance framework" which would replace gross domestic product as the main tool for measuring growth.

It also calls on a future UK government to take measures to “ensure the re-use and recycling of materials are built into product design.”

The manifesto says the starting point for approaching one of the most burning of all environmental issues – climate change – should be the adoption of a “precautionary approach to all economic, social and environmental development” so that the consequences of these are weighed with great care.

Specifically, LINK members want clear commitment to meeting climate change targets, and “managed divestment” from fossil fuel industries while beginning the transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy.

The place of human beings in the environmental framework is addressed in a section which says policies must be adopted that bring about an “unpolluted, accessible, high-quality natural and built environment” which will, in turn, promote activity and well-being among people.

Landscapes must be further protected, the manifesto states, demanding the UK and Scottish governments create cross-border national parks in the Cheviots and on the Solway Firth.

There should be integration in how we use land, sea and air resources, with sustainability providing the underpinning, the LINK states.

The protection and stewardship of natural resources should be enshrined in a written form and the UK government must work with devolved administrations to construct an “ecologically coherent” network of protected marine sites by 2016.

Biodiversity and a “proper appreciation of all the organisms that share our land, sea and air” must be given due importance: there must be steps taken to end species extinction and the degradation of ecosystems.

Specifically, the manifesto says the UK government must introduce a ban on peat extraction.

On democracy, the LINK want to see what it calls “subsidiarity” where decisions are taken at the “nearest appropriate and practical level” to citizens.

Local communities, the manifesto states, are better able to assess the long-term economic, social and environmental impact of decisions.

One measure proposed to this end is the devolution of marine environmental protection out to 200 nautical miles to the Scottish Parliament.

The manifesto ends with a call for internationalism and a readiness to learn from the mistakes and the successes of other nations.

It states: "We want the UK to implement international obligations properly, and our attitudes and behaviours to be set in full awareness of the global ecological impact of our lives and activities.”

Read the Scottish Environment LINK manifesto here.



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