SIR, – As a farmer and an environmentalist – a description which I know can be applied to very many of us in this industry – I am struggling to reconcile statements made by the First Minister in Holyrood last year.

This was that the Scottish Government would look to ensure that its actions produce the transformative change needed to address the biodiversity challenge that we all face, with the defeat last week of an amendment to the Agriculture Bill, which would have accelerated our ability as the industry best-placed to respond to that challenge.

Many MSPs supported the amendment but the government did not. Why not, when the FM is on record as saying that the biodiversity challenge is as important as the challenge on climate change and, as on climate change, she wanted Scotland to be leading the way globally towards the transformative change that is needed?

The government can't have it both ways. The defeat of the amendment was a massive missed opportunity for it to demonstrate their acceptance of the urgency with which we, as farmers and crofters, should be supported to better protect the natural environment and reverse the biodiversity decline.

It was a sad day for the natural world, which is our workplace and our shared responsibility. Future generations would be right to ask why the government said one thing and then did another when every day counts on the road to recovery.

Michael Clarke


and the

Nature Friendly Farming Network.