Rivers, Lochs and Seas

Nearly 1 in 12 homes in Scotland are at risk from flooding. Many homeowners may find it impossible to insure their property against the damage caused by storms and floods.

Government research shows that the North Sea, west of Scotland and Irish Sea cod stocks are at their lowest ever recorded level and are in danger of complete collapse.

Water is one of Scotland’s most important natural resources. But the state of Scotland’s water is often ignored, despite its role in both our history and current economy. While fishing has become a major political issue, the debate has all too often been at a superficial level, focusing on short-term problems rather than ensuring the long-term health of our waters.

It is vital that we recognise the role played by our marine environment in Scotland’s economy, tourism and quality of life. It provides one of the most obvious examples of our duty to maintain our environment for future generations. Through long-term planning, the Scottish Green Party is committed to a sustainable future for all Scotland’s waters. Greens also acknowledge the increasing impact that climate change will have in Scotland, with increases of up to 40% predicted for levels of rainfall in winter. We are committed to addressing the issue of increased risk of flooding brought about by climate change, while at the same time working to prevent climate change.

One of the Greens’ priorities is to have a pure, clean water supply, to safeguard both human health and the diversity of marine life in Scotland. We therefore oppose any privatisation of our water industry. Greens reject plans to add fluoride to the water supply. Rather than mass unavoidable medication for all, the best way to promote good dental health in children is to increase the availability of free toothbrushes and toothpaste, together with effective education and a better diet.

Green MSPs will work for the following:

  • We will create a Deputy Minister for the Marine Environment, rather than a Deputy Fisheries Minister, to develop a long-term and sustainable policy for Scotland’s marine environment. Biodiversity conservation in wetlands and sustainable flood management will be a key objective of river basic management plans. We will ensure there is a nationwide flood action plan, which ensures that potential increased risk of flooding is taken into account when planning decisions are taken.

  • We will oversee the upgrading or replacement of water treatment plants throughout Scotland to ensure a healthy and reliable system. This must go together with promotion of the financial benefits of domestic recycling of water and measures to reduce overall levels of water consumption.

  • We will ensure that the Scottish Executive takes a lead role in the redirection of EU subsidies to support investment in recovery and management of marine resources. We will reduce boat numbers, while supporting those crews who use the most selective gear, doing the least damage to the marine environment and giving the greatest ratio of used to discarded catch. We will also ensure that there is tighter regulation of, or an end to, unsustainable industrial fishing practices.

  • We will produce a long-term fisheries management policy focused on reviving stocks and securing the future of Scottish fishing communities, and we will address the need for economic diversification for coastal communities. We will seek to ensure that new regulation of fisheries will involve the communities and other users of the marine environment as a matter of course. Another key priority will be a moratorium on the licensing of any new fish farms and an independent inquiry into the impact of fish farming on the marine environment, public health and biodiversity.

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Scottish Green Party, PO Box 14080, Edinburgh EH10 6YG
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e-mail: info@scottishgreens.org.uk