Headlines: September 10th, 2004

Scottish councils have been given new guidance so they can ensure people want to live and work in a high quality environment. It has been issued jointly by local council leaders, the Scottish Executive and conservation bodies.

Councillor Alison Hay, Environment Spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, launched the document and said people wanted a high quality environment where the same habitats that plants and animals depend on sustained the livelihoods of local people, and allowed for recreational enjoyment, physical activity, and simple pleasure.

The guidance – ‘Best Value and Biodiversity: a hand book of good practice for public bodies’ – is designed to give local authorities and other public bodies practical advice on how to improve nature conservation while delivering services within the local community. Councillor Hay said she hoped it would provide a comprehensive reference guide to assist local authorities shift nature conservation into the mainstream of their actions on sustainable development.

All local authorities, she said, saw a high quality environment as is integral to their continuing work to enhance local well being. “Through its many case studies the guidance should act as an encyclopaedia of practical knowledge, which should help local authorities make the policy links now, while also helping to stimulate ideas and plans for the future,” she added.