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Monday, May 3, 1999 Published at 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK


Holyrood parties only 'pale green'

The groups say the parliament will have to consider the environment

A survey by three leading environmental groups has criticised the policies of the four main parties contesting the Scottish Parliament elections.


BBC Scotland environment correspondent Louise Batchelor reports
Friends of the Earth Scotland, RSPB Scotland and the World Wide Fund for Nature Scotland commissioned a survey of the parties' views on 10 key environmental points.

It concludes that the environmental policies of the four main political parties are "only pale green and represent a missed opportunity".


[ image:
"Responsibility to future generations"
Head of the World Wide Fund for Nature Scotland, Simon Pepper, said the Liberal Democrats scored reasonably well with Labour a close second and the Scottish National Party third. He said the Tories scored poorly.

But he admitted that "such a crude scoring mechanism does not tell us much".

"All appear committed to the concept of sustainable development - they talk the talk about responsibility to future generations to varying degrees - but it is remarkable how little is made of protecting and improving the environment as an opportunity, not a burden," Mr Pepper said.

"A healthy environment is vital for public health, job creation and economic development."

Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, Kevin Dunion, said the environment had been sidelined in the election campaign but would have to be addressed when the parliament started sitting.

He added: "The inclination to do the right thing is broadly demonstrated by this survey - but the inadequacy of some of the specific proposals means environmental progress may not be delivered."


[ image: Scientific proposals
Scientific proposals "inadequate"
Director of RSPB Scotland, Stuart Housden, said a lot more work had to be done by the new Scottish Parliament to protect wildlife.

"The parties should make clear they will offer improved protection for wildlife sites and ensure that development agencies do not sponsor schemes which are unsustainable."

The smaller parties were not included in the questionnaire although the environment groups did give the Scottish Green Party a fairly positive report based on its manifesto.

The Greens' spokeswoman Marian Coyne said: "Even before the parliament starts, the grey parties are failing on the protection of Scotland's natural heritage.

"The only way people can make certain our environment is not abandoned by grey MSPs is to use their second votes to elect Green MSPs on Thursday.

"We are heading for the new millennium and Scotland needs a strong green vision to safeguard its future."



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