Welcome to the July 2019 edition
All welcome at APRS Member’s Day in Dirleton
The Dirleton Village Association has kindly agreed to host a visit for APRS Members on Saturday 21 September to their picturesque Conservation Area village in East Lothian. Local experts will give a presentation and lead us around Dirleton to explain its historic character and current pressures, and to visit recent development sites. All APRS members, friends and family are most welcome – please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign win – Deposit Return System design announced
On 8 May the Scottish Government finally announced the detailed design of Scotland’s forthcoming deposit return system (DRS), for which APRS has campaigned since 2015. Lots of good news from our point of view: the system will cover glass, metal and plastic drinks containers, the deposit will be 20p, bottles and cans can be returned to any shop which sells them, and the system will be operated by a non-profit body run by drinks companies and retailers. Lots more information on the Zero Waste Scotland website.
Strong local support for Borders National Park
Scottish Borders Council (SBC) recently consulted local residents on the main issues for its next Local Development Plan, including whether people supported the proposals by the Campaign for a Scottish Borders National Park. When the results were announced in June we were delighted to see that nearly 80% of those who expressed an opinion supported the proposed National Park. You can read all the responses in the Consultation Response Summaries report – see page 292.
Planning Bill passed at last
The Planning Bill finally completed its passage through the Scottish Parliament in June after three days of the final Stage 3 debate, becoming the most amended Bill in the Parliament’s 20-year history. We sent this Parliamentary Briefing to all MSPs, but from a landscape viewpoint the Bill is a massive disappointment and a huge wasted opportunity. There are no equal rights of appeal for communities, no improved protection for Green Belts and no further controls over hill tracks. The only shred of comfort is that special attention must now be paid to safeguarding or enhancing the character or appearance of National Scenic Areas.
Have You Got The Bottle? campaign partner videos
We have recently launched a series of 25 short video clips from a wide range of our campaign partners across Scotland. In each video one of our partners explains why they are keen on a DRS from their perspective and what they hope it will achieve. The videos are short and engaging to watch and we’re sure you’ll enjoy them, so do watch them on our website or our YouTube channel then please share them with all your friends and family.
Galloway National Park Association submission to Environment Minister
At the end of April the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA) presented a detailed submission entitled “It’s Our Time” to Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon MSP. This marked the culmination of several years of research, advocacy and local consultation, formally calling on the Scottish Government to commence official procedures towards proposing a Galloway National Park. The Herald published this article highlighting the socio-economic and environmental benefits this would bring to the area.
AGM at Swanston
On 30 May we held a successful AGM in the salubrious surroundings of Swanston Golf Club in the Edinburgh Green Belt. Our newly-appointed Treasurer Kenny Graham reported on the satisfactory state of our finances and Aberdeen lawyer Victoria Presly was appointed as a Trustee. We gave enthusiastic thanks and a book of Colin Prior’s landscape photographs to outgoing Chairman Charles Millar and welcomed our new Chairman John Thomson and Vice-Chair Rebecca Hughes.
Calls for more National Parks as landmark anniversary marked
In April, England and Wales celebrated 70 years of National Parks; this prompted The Herald to publish this article reporting our calls for more National Parks in Scotland.
Environmental Principles and Governance
The Scottish Government carried out a consultation on the principles and governance mechanisms by which Scotland should look after its environment if the UK leaves the EU – this may sound dull, but it is very important! APRS submitted this response, calling for a new Environment Act to enshrine the existing EU principles in Scottish legislation.