Tackling the Nature Emergency: Consultation on Scotland’s Strategic Framework for Biodiversity

Closed 14 Dec 2023

Opened 7 Sep 2023


Read the consultation paper

This consultation is seeking views on a range of topics and proposals related to biodiversity and tackling the nature emergency in Scotland.

It covers three parts of the Biodiversity Strategic Framework:

  1. The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy which sets out our vision to halt and reverse biodiversity loss;
  2. The first five-year Delivery Plan which contains the actions to deliver the vision; and
  3. The proposed Natural Environment Bill which will provide a framework for establishing statutory nature targets to drive delivery and the transformational change we need.

Biodiversity Strategic Framework DiagramThis consultation document is set out in two parts. Part A is consulting on the final draft of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, the first five-year Delivery Plan, and policy frameworks for Nature Networks and protecting at least 30% of our lands and seas by 2030 (30 by 30).

Part B of this consultation seeks your views on proposals related to tackling the nature emergency that will require legislation, specifically statutory targets for nature restoration and changes to National Parks legislation.

The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy

In December 2022, the Scottish Government published its draft Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. It set out a vision, outcomes and 33 priority actions designed to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

These outcomes and actions are framed around high-level objectives to:

  • Accelerate restoration and regeneration;
  • Protect nature on land and at sea, across and beyond protected areas 
  • Embed nature positive farming, fishing and forestry
  • Protect and support the recovery of vulnerable and important species and habitats;
  • Invest in Nature; and,
  • Take action on the indirect drivers of biodiversity loss.

The Strategy was published in draft to ensure that the outcomes of COP15 could be incorporated into a final strategy. An updated version is included here for final review.

The Delivery Plan

The Strategy will be underpinned by a series of five-year Delivery Plans. The plan is comprehensive and ambitious – it contains over 100 actions which taken together represent a step change which will accelerate the pace and scale of our efforts to address the biodiversity crisis. The delivery plan encompasses actions across different sectors and policy areas on the premise that only by mainstreaming biodiversity in the same way as we do for climate will we be able to drive the step change needed to deliver our vision. 

This consultation is seeking your views on the first five-year Delivery Plan.

Nature Networks and 30 x 30 Policy Frameworks

The Biodiversity Strategy includes a commitment to protecting 30% of land and seas for nature by 2030 and ensuring that every local authority area has a nature network to improve ecological connectivity across Scotland.

Policy frameworks for delivering these commitments have been developed through a co-design process, involving over 100 organisations and individuals representing a diverse range of interests. These frameworks set out a vision and key principles which will guide the further development and delivery of policy.

This consultation is seeking your views on the policy frameworks.

The proposed Natural Environment Bill

The Bute House Agreement includes a commitment to passing a new Natural Environment Bill in the current parliament. A key element of the Bill will be the introduction of legally binding nature restoration targets (‘The Bute House Agreement’, Shared Policy Programme, “Working Together to Build a Greener, Fairer, Independent Scotland”, August 2021).  These targets will drive forward action to tackle the nature emergency and provide a clear accountability framework for ensuring we deliver on the commitments set out in the strategy. Statutory targets will nest within a wider monitoring framework, measuring progress against our domestic and international obligations and commitments, primarily the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

This consultation is seeking your views on the policy framework and the process we have identified for developing statutory targets. 

The proposed Natural Environment Bill may also be used as a vehicle for other legislation relating to biodiversity and nature restoration. This may include changes to the legislation governing Scotland’s National Parks. Last year’s public consultation on the future of National Parks in Scotland highlighted the important role of National Parks in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises, as well as welcoming visitors and supporting local communities and businesses. The current legislative framework for National Parks is the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 (‘the 2000 Act’) is over twenty years old. In order for existing and new National Parks to respond most effectively to today’s societal challenges, the underpinning legal framework needs to be updated and refreshed.

The consultation is seeking your views on a number of proposals to update National Parks legislation.

Consultations on other policy areas proposed to be included in the Bill will take place later in 2023 and may include proposals for legislation required to deliver our 30 by 30 commitment, and proposals to implement the recommendations of the Deer Working Group.

The Proposals

This consultation paper covers a number of inter-related policy areas and you do not have to answer every question. Efforts have been made to structure the document to make it accessible to the reader, acknowledging that some will have an interest in all the proposals while others will wish to focus on those of greatest interest to them.

The consultation is structured as follows:




Scottish Biodiversity Strategy


Scottish Biodiversity Delivery Plan


Nature Networks Policy Framework


30 by 30 Policy Framework


Impact Assessments for Part A


Statutory Targets for Nature Restoration


National Parks


Impact Assessments for Part B


  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Main hub