Friday, June 29, 2012

Environment community issues Referendum Challenge

On Wednesday June 27th 2012 environmental charity Scottish Environment LINK issued a major policy challenge to the Scottish constitutional campaigns – asking them to tell the environmental sector why their option for change best meets their aspirations? In a leaflet, Scottish Environment LINK has published its ten point vision of a sustainable Scotland – including sustainable development to improve people’s lives, fighting climate change and protecting and enhancing our natural heritage. The alliance of 34 environmental and heritage organisations wants the constitutional campaigns to respond by explaining the substantive impact of their proposals for constitutional change. 

Launching Referendum Challenge, Deborah Long, LINK Chair, said: “We challenge the campaigns for each of the constitutional options to tell us how and why their preferred option will best meet each of the ten aspirations that make up the type of Scotland we want to see in future. We will publish the replies we receive on our website so that our members and other interested citizens can read them before they make their decision on Referendum Day.”

The Chair went on: “We don’t know exactly when this day will be, nor the options on offer, who will be able to vote, or who will be the ‘referee’ for the referendum – but we ask that these technical issues be settled in the near future so that the debate can be concentrated on the serious, substantive issues outlined here.”

The leaflet was launched at Duddingston Loch nature reserve – in the centre of the capital but on the other side of Arthur’s Seat from the Holyrood Parliament. One of the 10 aspirations in LINK’s manifesto is genuinely participative democracy. In pursuit of this LINK also launched “Governance Matters – Join the Debate”. This short paper sets out the conclusions reached in a review of the methods and processes used across government in Scotland since 1999. It suggests that major failures in public participation and scrutiny of government require urgent attention.

LINK intends to organise a major conference in Autumn 2012 to open up discussion of improving our governance arrangements to the whole of the wider Scottish policy community. Eila Macqueen, Vice-Chair, said of the paper and the conference: “Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, governance matters, now and in future. We want to discuss ways of improving Parliament’s scrutiny of the executive branch. We need to look at improving the ways the Scottish Government consults people and communities of place and interest. We need to keep our eyes on what is happening in the Courts - and it’s time to examine the ways civic discussion and debate in our country is organised.” 

For more information about Scottish Environment LINK please CLICK HERE

To read the LINK Referendum Challenege please CLICK HERE

To read Governance Matters Join the Debate please CLICK HERE

Twitter hashtag: #ReferendumChallenge

Articles on the subject by Scottish Environment LINK's Parliamentary Officer, Andy Myles:

Our Landscape and Heritage are Referendum issues too - Platform by Andy Myles, The Scotsman June 28th 2012

Environment is central to debate on Scottish independance - Third Force News, June 22nd 2012 

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