A Scottish Parliament Committee is gravely concerned about the loss of funding once the UK exits the EU to projects aimed at tackling climate change and the environment.
“The Committee is particularly concerned about the long term impact of the decline in the research budget and the decline in the budget of SNH over recent years, and the impact of this on delivering key environmental outcomes.”
It goes on to say:
“The finance received from Europe for environmental objectives is considerable and a significant part of the budget of Marine Scotland, SNH, Zero Waste Scotland and SEPA.
“The research institutes and stakeholders also rely heavily on EU funding. There is no certainty as to what will replace this.
“The Committee is gravely concerned by this and recommends the Scottish Government work closely with agencies and partners and the UK Government to identify possible replacement funding streams, as a matter of extreme urgency.”
In addition to the substantial loss of funding the committee has also serious concerns over the,
“loss of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice and their role in environmental governance, adjudication and enforcement of environmental legislation [which]will leave a gap in oversight and require a replacement governance and regulatory function (either at a UK or Scottish level), operating outwith and separate from Government.”
The Draft Budget has earmarked an increase in funding on combatting climate change from £463.7 million to £558.1 million but it is felt by the ECCLR committee that this will not be enough when set against the loss of funding from the EU.
Graeme Dey, said:
“Our Committee is pleased to see an increase in overall spend on combatting climate change, which has now gone up by 20%.
“One of the Committee’s concerns is the declining budget for environmental research and agencies. At a time where, globally, climate change and its consequences is seen as one of the greatest challenges and threats, it’s crucial that Scotland continues to take action and lead from the front, including around research, on these very real issues.”