RSPB Forsinard Flows; view from visitor trail, including snow-capped Ben Griam, Highland, Scotland.

Policy in Scotland

We want to see a Scotland rich in wildlife, made possible by governments that embraces sustainable development. That way, the people and natural heritage of Scotland will benefit.

Priority policy areas

Our work is to help policy makers ensure that all government decisions take the environment into account. 

We focus on four policy areas:

  • Land-use
  • Marine
  • Sustainable development
  • Species 

We’re proud to base our policies on science and evidence. 

Working together

Decisions taken by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government have a colossal impact on our wildlife. As the legislative custodians of our natural heritage, it is imperative that we engage with them and hold them to their responsibilities. 

We’re immensely proud of Scotland’s environmental laws, many of which RSPB Scotland has helped shape. 

Our work in this area helps policy-makers ensure that all government decisions account for any impact on the environment, and scrutinise the implementation of existing decisions. 

Heather in bloom

How we work

The RSPB started life as a campaign to halt the trade in plumage for hats, and we’ve only improved over the years. We began working in Scotland in 1904. Since that time, RSPB Scotland has developed a proven track record of researching, developing and advocating policy ideas. 

All of this work is underpinned by our in-house conservation scientists, interpreted by our team of practical ecologists and then put in practice across our network of 77 nature reserves in Scotland.

Today we work with a variety of people and organisations to deliver sound policy that is in the best interests for nature, adopting a holistic approach that encompasses a broad range of issues that affect our wildlife.

These include:

Browse our latest policy documents.

Download RSPB Scotland’s policy briefing on woodland expansion here.

Download RSPB Scotland's briefing on tree planting for carbon and nature here.

Download RSPB Scotland's briefing on the Scottish Government's draft budget for 2022/23 here.

Download RSPB Scotland's briefing on the Scottish Parliament's Call for Views on the Fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) here.

Download RSPB Scotland's April 2022 response briefing to the Fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) here.

Download RSPB Scotland's Community Working Pledge here.

Protecting wildlife sites

Casework is our work to protect wildlife and habitats on the ground. The majority of time, this involves work with built development proposals, such as housing developments or wind farms.

However, it also includes work on development plans, projects focused on improving wildlife habitats and potentially damaging changes in land management on protected nature conservation sites.

RSPB Scotland is committed to working inline with the Scottish Government's Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement and is working towards adopting the Land Rights and Responsibilities Protocols across our landholding.