First, a reminder of what Scottish Environment LINK does for us. 'LINK' as it is known, is a national umbrella body for the voluntary environmental sector in Scotland. It has a small staff of 7 and presents a coordinated front on environmental matters to the government and the media. It is particularly useful for coordinating response with the Scottish Parliament and the Executive. A united front representing ten times the number of voters is bound to get more ministerial attention. It is funded by membership subscriptions, grants and donations from Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Executive, WWF Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and others. NEMT's subscription for 2005 was £310.
So what did LINK achieve for us in 2005? It probably doesn't get enough mention in Mountain Views. Its work on the new Planning Bill appears, unattributed, in News Roundup. Many of the articles in this Newsletter reflect achievements that would not have been possible without LINK's work with government. More specifically, LINK achieved the following:
Of course, it did much more. But, the above serves to give a flavour.
An important part of LINK is the range of Task Forces on specific issues such as Access, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate, Freshwater, Historic Environment, Landscape, Marine, Planning, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Sustainable Scotland and Woodland. These task forces are staffed with experts and produce authoritative papers.
LINK campaigns, again on behalf of its members, via the Everyone campaign. Over the last two years, this has been growing in importance. For example, the 'campaign' to get more people to write to their MPs and urge them to put environmental issues higher up their political agenda was run under the Everyone Can banner and proved to be very successful. The current climate campaign is another example.
If we are to have any chance of success with the new Planning Bill, it will have to be via a united front, LINK.
Finally, in the NEMT, we need to improve how we use LINK. We're not making enough of this resource. We are looking for somebody to act as our LINK focal point. If you are interested in the government policy side of environmental issues, how NGOs can influence government policy and how we in NEMT can use this to further our aim of protecting some of Scotland's most fragile environments, then please let us know.
David Windle, Editorial Team
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