Welcome to the February 2021 edition

New Learning Resources
We are delighted to announce the launch of our exciting new Deposit Return educational resources! These include downloadable educator notes, worksheets, maps and a fun interactive online game and educational video. They are all FREE and suitable for both classroom and home use. Green Belt and National Park activities are included too. If you would like a free copy of our Countryside Protectors booklet posted to you, please contact our Education Manager Joanna McFarlane at education@aprs.scot.

Galloway National Park Debate in Parliament
On 11 February Emma Harper MSP led a Member’s Business Debate on The Potential for a Galloway National Park. Conservative, Labour and SNP MSPs all spoke in favour, but sadly the Environment Minister stuck to the tired old Scottish Government line that they have no plans to designate more National Parks. You can read our Parliamentary Briefing here, watch the debate here and read the Official Report here.

National Planning Framework 4 – Position Statement
We recently responded to the Scottish Government’s Position Statement on the forthcoming NPF4. We welcomed the links to the Land Use Strategy and the emphasis on brownfield regeneration. However we called for stronger protection for our Green Belts and Prime Agricultural Land, for more National Parks and for greater attention to our National Scenic Areas. Please read our full response here.

Housing on Green Belts
In our NPF4 response we also welcomed interim changes to Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) relating to housing land which were announced in December. These partially allay concerns over speculative development proposals on Green Belts that we had raised with the Scottish Government earlier in 2020. We are calling for further improvements to be made to housing policy in SPP as it is merged into NPF4. If you would like to know more about these changes please contact our Green Belts Alliance Manager Nikki Sinclair at nikki@aprs.scot.

30% by 2030
In December 2020 the Scottish Government announced its commitment to increase protected areas for nature to at least 30% of Scotland’s terrestrial area by 2030, to fulfil the ambitions of the international Campaign for Nature. Figures from government agency NatureScot reveal that the current figure is approximately 23%. In our view the best way to add the required 7% would be to declare a couple more National Parks. Please read our Briefing Note which explains this in more detail.

Single-Use Plastic
Scottish Ministers recently consulted over their proposals to ban several single-use plastic items from sale, which we support as it will reduce litter. Please read our response, which makes the following points:

  • Both the manufacture and sale of single-use plastic cutlery, plates, stirrers and balloon sticks and of single-use polystyrene food containers and cups should be banned
  • Some disabled people need plastic straws, so a ban isn’t the right course of action there
  • Ministers need to be more ambitious and bring in a comprehensive system under which all materials which can’t be reused or recycled are banned, and all manufacturers are required to take back all products and packaging for reuse or recycling

National Parks – Frequently Asked Questions
Jointly with our partners at the Scottish Campaign for National Parks, we’ve published a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about why Scotland should have more National Parks – please read them here.

Farewell Jenni
Our Have You Got The Bottle? Campaign Manager Jenni Hume left APRS in January, after four successful years leading the campaign for Scotland’s deposit return for drinks containers, which starts in July 2022. Thanks for all your hard work Jenni, and good luck with your new job with Reloop!

Welcome Back Nikki
Green Belts Alliance Manager Nikki Sinclair has returned to APRS, after generous funding from the Susan Guy Charitable Trust secured her post for at least the next year. Nikki will seek to influence national policy to gain stronger protection for Green Belts and will support the work of local groups across the country. You can contact her at nikki@aprs.scot. Welcome back Nikki!

AGM Thursday 20 May

Due to the continued uncertainty around the Covid-19 restrictions, we have reluctantly decided to hold our AGM via Zoom video conference for a second year. All APRS members, friends and families are most welcome to attend; please email us at info@aprs.scot or phone Nina’s mobile on 07584 492313 to book a place. Full details will be posted out in our late April mailing.

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Please look out for our next Newsletter in May and Bulletin in July

Image copyright Colin Prior

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