RPA to evaluate biodiversity duty reporting in Scotland

Scotland has a wealth of wildlife and natural environments which provide a multitude of benefits to the Scottish people on a daily basis.  The benefits provided by natural systems in Scotland are estimated to be worth between £21.5 and £23 billion per year1 and are increasingly recognised at a national level by government policies.

In 2004, the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act placed a duty on public sector bodies in Scotland to further conservation of biodiversity with the proper exercise of their functions.  This duty aimed to connect people with the environment and to ensure the management of biodiversity in the wider environment, not just in protected sites. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (WANE Act) came into force in January 2012.  This Act introduced the requirement that every three years all public bodies must make publically available a report on their compliance with their biodiversity duty.  For public bodies already established in 2012, the first round of these reports was due to be prepared for 1st January 2015.

RPA has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to evaluate the compliance and quality of biodiversity duty reports produced by public bodies in Scotland.  The study will look to:

  • Assess the approaches employed in public body reporting;
  • Provide an overview of the activities reported by public bodies to meet the duty;
  • Assess the contribution that the activities are making to delivery of the ‘2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity’; and
  • Identify what lessons need to be learned for the next reporting round in 2018.


  1. Scottish Government (2013): 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity