Consultation on Guiding principles on the environment: draft statutory guidance

The UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021 (“the Continuity Act”) introduces new duties on Ministers and other public authorities to have due regard to five guiding principles on the environment. The guiding principles sit alongside Scotland’s arrangements for environmental governance, including the establishment of Environmental Standards Scotland and the publication of the Scottish Government’s Environment Strategy.

The five guiding principles are set out at section 13(1) of the Continuity Act and are as follows;

  • the principle that protecting the environment should be integrated into the making of policies;
  • the precautionary principle as it relates to the environment;
  • the principle that preventative action should be taken to avert environmental damage;
  • the principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source; and  
  • the principle that the polluter should pay.

The guiding principles form part of the strategic approach to environmental policy, supporting our objective to maintain and improve environmental standards, contributing to Scotland's responses to the twin climate and nature crises and keeping aligned, as far as possible, with EU standards.

This draft guidance has been developed to serve as a practical guide to support public authorities and Ministers to implement these legislative duties.  This guidance is intended to promote a common understanding and interpretation of the guiding principles and how they should be considered and applied when developing future policy and legislation.

For more information and to respond see here.


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