Biodiversity in Scotland harmed by ‘hardening green agenda’

A “hardening green agenda” on the part of the Scottish government is having a detrimental effect on biodiversity, NFU Scotland has claimed.

The union’s president, Martin Kennedy, said the power-sharing pact between the SNP and the Green Party, known as the Bute House Agreement, needed to be reconsidered because it had “totally lost the confidence” of farmers and crofters.

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He claimed uncontrolled populations of badgers, Greylag geese and beavers were now having an impact on other species.

“We get criticised all the time when it comes to biodiversity loss,” he said.

“But we know there are issues around ground-nesting birds and badgers, which are increasing at an alarming rate. We can’t do anything about it, but we’re still getting the blame.

“Golden eagles were iconic in Scotland, but they’re now getting pushed out by the white-tailed eagle.

“These are the things we need to be careful of and not have overprotection of one species to the detriment of others.”

He went on to urge the Scottish government to create a standalone fund for mitigating any damage caused by these species, or establish a more pragmatic licensing system to control them.

“If this is all deemed to be in the public good, it cannot be afforded by private cost,” he said.

Jonnie Hall, the group’s policy director, described the £1.6m budget NatureScot has to deal with beavers, white-tailed eagles and geese as “peanuts”.

“£1.6m to manage the impacts of those three species in different locations?,” he asked.

“The serious agricultural damage being done, and that is a proper definition by the way, is way in excess of that £1.6m.”