A Green and Productive Land

Each year £136 million is spent removing pesticides and nitrates from UK drinking water. In one year the UK imported 240,000 tonnes of pork and 125,000 tonnes of lamb while exporting 195,000 tonnes of pork and 102,000 tonnes of lamb. 68% of people in Scotland believe there should be an increase in organic farming in Scotland

The Scottish Green Party believes firmly in a countryside which is managed to enhance the environment, not degrade it. We support all forms of agriculture that can achieve this and view organic production as a major part of sustainable land use in Scotland. We reject the technology of Genetic Modification (GM), which has created new species of organisms in isolation from millions of years of evolution. We believe GM poses incalculable risks to the environment and the sustainability of our agriculture.

We also recognise that rural poverty is a reality and that appropriate support structures must be put in place to alleviate disadvantage through community-led development and management of rural resources. Greens recognise that ecological restoration through reforestation has the potential to restore Scotland’s damaged environment and also to help revitalise the economy. Over 100 community owned and managed woodlands already exist in Scotland, helping to improve the economic, social and ecological well-being of their communities.

We believe that the inequitable power of the supermarkets in their relationship with farmers is an injustice that needs to be creatively challenged by the Scottish Executive through dialogue and the development of farmers’ collective bargaining power. Connecting consumers with healthy fresh local produce ‘from the field to the plate’ is important to the building of a food culture in Scotland that can make our diet the ‘primary health service’. Equally, the future of the environment and the rights of animals should not be prejudiced by the way we feed ourselves.

Green MSPs will work for the following:

  • We will treble the funding available to ‘agri-environment schemes’ in the next four years of the Parliament to aid the maintenance of wildlife habitats on farms. We will work for further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to move away from subsidising food production, which benefits large farms, towards paying for the environmental and social benefits small farms often deliver. We will develop a flagship Organic Farming Action Plan to increase development of organic food and farming, including ongoing subsidy payments to organic farmers that equal the highest payment rates offered in Europe.

  • We will develop a Scottish public procurement strategy to encourage the purchase of locally produced food by schools, hospitals and other institutions. We will place a total ban on Scottish farm-scale GM crop trials and a block on GM commercialisation in Scotland.

  • We will ensure that local people have a central role in creating plans for rural development and nature conservation. This will allow rural areas to develop in ways that are both environmentally sensitive and recognise the aspirations of communities.

  • We will properly fund and improve the existing system of nature conservation designation, such as sites of special scientific interest, and extend funding and safeguards for good management to the wider countryside and marine areas. National Parks must become beacons of good practice and models of community participation and sustainable land use, and in the longer term these models should be rolled out across the whole of Scotland.

  • We will introduce a new strategy in readiness for the next outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Scotland to be based on a policy of containment using vaccination with limited culling used only as a last resort.

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Scottish Green Party, PO Box 14080, Edinburgh EH10 6YG
Tel / Fax: 0131 478 7896
e-mail: info@scottishgreens.org.uk