Painted Lady butterfly in Leith © Mike Shepherd/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Biodiversity Duty

A biodiversity duty rests on all public bodies in Scotland. Discover how your organisation can do its bit to conserve biodiversity and how to report on it.

What is the Biodiversity Duty?

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, public bodies in Scotland have a duty to further the conservation of biodiversity. This biodiversity duty is about taking care of nature all around us, not just in specific protected sites and for particular species.

Fulfilling your Biodiversity Duty can help address wider outcomes such as:

  • Ensuring compliance with the legislation and helping Scotland to meet its national and international biodiversity targets.
  • Helping Scotland address biodiversity loss and the climate emergency, and contributing to a Green Recovery and a Net Zero future.
  • Improving your image and demonstrating you are working in a socially responsible and ethical way by, safeguarding biodiversity and environmental assets for future generations.
  • Contributing to sustainable development and the quality of life in Scotland.

Read Biodiversity Duty Explained for advice and guidance on what actions you could take to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.

Reporting on the Biodiversity Duty

As outlined in the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (commonly known as the WANE Act), every public body in Scotland is required to produce a publicly available report, on compliance with the Biodiversity Duty. This must be completed once every three years. Your next report is due 1st January 2021.

To report on what you have done, please look at Biodiversity Duty Explained, which provides advice on the sorts of actions you can take for biodiversity and how you might report on them. It will help you to select a template to assist in the drafting of your biodiversity duty report based on the functions of your public body.

Each report should aim to include information on:

  • Your public body, its role and purpose, including any particular environmental responsibilities.
  • Any actions your organisation has undertaken alone or as part of a partnership to benefit biodiversity directly or achieve wider outcomes for nature and people.
  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity - any steps your organisation has taken to incorporate biodiversity measures into its wider policies.
  • Nature based solutions and climate change – any steps to support the contribution biodiversity can make to build resilience and mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • Public Engagement and workforce development – including education and engaging with communities, young people and the public.
  • Research and monitoring – actions to increase understanding of nature and biodiversity both internally and externally and to measure the impacts of the actions you have.

If you have any queries please contact [email protected]

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