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State of Scotland’s environment outlined in new report

Scotland's environment website
"Scotland’s Environment Website is a powerful tool; providing a one stop opportunity to find out about our environment and the work the Scottish Government, agencies and a range of partners are doing

On the whole, Scotland’s environment is of good quality and there have been many significant improvements in recent years. However, the 2014 State of the Environment Report clearly shows that some habitats and species are under threat, and poor air quality continues to affect some people in our towns and cities.

That is the overall verdict from Scotland’s State of Environment Report published on Scotland’s Environment website. The report, written by some of the country’s leading environment/health agencies and research institutions including the James Hutton Institute, provides a comprehensive, impartial assessment of Scotland’s environment and how it is changing, based on the latest data from a wide range of sources.

This is the first major update since The State of the Environment Report was last published in 2011. The Report’s five main chapter areas are air, land, water, climate and people and the environment. For each topic the report assesses environmental conditions and changes, reasons for these and what is being done to solve any problems.

The report was published on World Environment Day (5 June 2014) as part of the re-launch of a new and improved Scotland’s Environment website - changes include a new design and structure, with updated content, improved features and easy to use tools that help users to view, analyse and visualise data which help explain the State of Environment report’s findings.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Scotland’s Environment Website is a powerful tool; providing a one stop opportunity to find out about our environment and the work the Scottish Government, agencies and a range of partners are doing. The state of the environment report highlights the continued importance of this work to protect and promote the environment and I would encourage people to engage with the recently expanded and updated website to understand Scotland’s environmental issues and how we can all contribute."

David Pirie, Executive Director from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “I am very pleased that overall, the State of the Environment Report paints a positive picture for Scotland, highlighting that our environment is generally of good quality. We can’t afford to be complacent; however, as the Report does also show that there remain challenges such as localised air pollution and threats to some habitats and wildlife. Scotland’s environment is a rich resource relied on by all of us and enjoyed by many. But we must use that resource responsibly.”

You can download PDF versions of the 2014 report, see a full list of project partners or find out more about environmental and biochemical research at the James Hutton Institute.

Notes to editors

Scotland’s State of Environment Report 2014 has been produced by Scotland’s Environment Website Partnership which comprises representatives from Scottish Government, local government, public organisations, NGOs, universities and research institutes. The partnership includes the British Geological Survey, The Conservation Volunteers, Forestry Commission Scotland, Health Protection Scotland, Historic Scotland, James Hutton Institute, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Marine Scotland, NHS Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage. In addition, a range of contributing organisations are involved in providing information and supporting the website.

An editorial group and more than 90 contributors, specialists in each topic, were drawn from these organisations. The editorial group steered the production of the report, and aimed for the report to be impartial, trustworthy, evidence driven, engaging, accessible and open to challenge. A summary assessment of the condition and trend within each topic area has been provided based on a consensus from the specialists who took part. The level of agreement between the specialists is indicated (i.e. high, medium or low agreement) as is the quality of evidence on which their conclusions are based (i.e. high, medium or low quality).

SEPA manages the Scotland's Environment Web project on behalf of a partnership of key environmental organisations in Scotland. The website offers a range of benefits to both the general public and environmental experts by providing:

• A trusted source of data and information on Scotland’s environment.
• A gateway to help search, find and access data and information, avoiding the need to search multiple different web sites.
• Users will get a single and authoritative view of Scotland’s environment in the one place – with the ability to view, analyse and interpret multiple data sets, published by a range of different organisations.
• The ability to search and view environmental data at different scales – from the whole of Scotland right down to your local authority area and postcode.

SEPA has received funding support from the European Commission LIFE+ funding programme to support the delivery of a range of multi-agency collaborative initiatives that will provide a trusted gateway to data and information about the environment, and involve Scotland's Citizens in discussion, monitoring and action to protect and improve the environment.

The European Commission LIFE+ funding programme is the European Union's funding instrument for the environment, which contributes to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation. 

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.