The Environment

Scotland has an extremely rich and well protected environment, which is famous throughout the world and is crucial to ensuring we have a robust economy and society. It is vital that we protect this for both present and future generations.

By its very nature the environment transcends political, legal and man-made boundaries. As a result, cooperation between EU Member States and between the EU and the rest of the world is essential if we are to tackle challenges which impact on us all. These range from droughts and floods, to pollution and threats to Europe’s rich natural capital and biodiversity.

Addressing these challenges requires collective action involving the EU, national, regional and local governments, businesses, Non-Governmental Organisations and ordinary individuals. This has to include outreach to our international partners so that action is taken on a global scale The EU protects our living environment and has some of the world’s highest environmental standards. Environment policy helps green the EU economy, protect nature, and safeguard the health and quality of life of people living in the EU.

Water, air pollution and chemicals are among people’s top environmental concerns. To safeguard people from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing, EU policy aims to:

  • Guarantee safe drinking and bathing water.
  • Improve air quality and reduce noise.
  • Reduce or eliminate the effects of harmful chemicals.

Renewables Uptake:

Scotland – 42%, EU – 23.5%

Electricity delivered from renewable sources accounts for a greater proportion of gross electricity consumption in Scotland, than across the EU overall.

With strong support from Scotland, the UK has been a key driving force behind EU climate diplomacy; setting high ambition at home, contributing significant international climate finance, and marshalling support from other progressive EU partners.

wave energy generator recycle logo wind turbine electricity generators solar panel generators

Global challenges

As the world population continues to expand, pressure on the Earth’s finite resources is growing at an unprecedented rate and global environmental challenges become more pressing. More action is needed to ensure that:

  • Air, oceans and other water resources are kept clean.
  • Land and ecosystems are used sustainably.
  • Climate change is kept to manageable levels.

As a global actor, the EU plays a key role in international efforts to address these.

Within the EU we can, for example, tackle climate change more effectively than we can on our own. Being part of the EU has positioned the UK and Scotland at the forefront of global action on this challenge, with 20% of the EU’s budget spent on addressing it.

Through our influence within the EU we can use the EU platform to shape the future world in which we, and most importantly our children, will live.

Reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions 1990-2012:

Scotland UK EU
29.9% 23.3% 18.5%

Greenhouse Gas Emissions fell faster in Scotland between 1990 and 2012, than in the UK or across the EU.