Statement: MSPs unanimously vote to support rural businesses working in harmony with nature

Our media statement in response to MSPs unanimously voting to support rural businesses in the Agriculture and Rural Communities Bill

Today (Wednesday 15 May), a group of MSPs unanimously voted to support rural businesses working in harmony with nature.

At a meeting to discuss potential changes to the Agriculture and Rural Communities Bill, which sets up the future framework for support payments to farmers and rural businesses, all committee members voted to include nature restoration in the Bill.

This means that future public spending can be directed towards businesses that are creating public goods like cleaner air and water, boosting biodiversity or sequestering carbon. Nature-based enterprises should also enjoy support in the future.

A majority of committee members also voted to ensure that people wishing to prioritise nature on some of their land can benefit from support payments.

Tom Bowser, a member of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance management team and owner of a family farm, said:

“As someone who has seen firsthand how the return of nature can benefit farmers and communities, I’m delighted to see unanimous support for the principle that nature is worth spending public money on.

While we were disappointed not to see the restoration of natural processes and ecological restoration in the legislation, this is a huge step forward.

I look forward to more detail from the Scottish Government on how they will support rural businesses restore nature while making a living. Thousands of people have now signed the Rewilding Nation Charter, telling us and the government that they want to live in a country that puts nature first.”

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