Category: environment

Promoting Environmental Information Ain’t That Hard

Under the Aarhus Convention all government bodies not only have a duty to make environmental information available when you ask for it – but a duty to go further, to publish and promote the environmental information they have.

Thanks to the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) and our Information Commissioners if you ask for some information you’re pretty sure to get it.  Thanks to the internet more and more information is now published online – finding it may take a bit of time and persistence, but it probably is there, somewhere.


Which leads us on to the promotion of information. The spirit of promotion is that you make information relevant to peoples, and this lets them make informed decisions about it.  The falkirk taxi driver is one example – why not show air quality data at site?  Why not show traffic numbers on roads and paths? Water quality where you bathe in it? Ecological status on the reserve? Sure not all data is appropriate for this kind of promotion, but i think it’s worth trying to find innovative ways to promote information, so people feel empowered to take decisions about it.

I like these examples:

Copenhagen Snow Counter

Simple counters on a bike path (i’m pretty sure our bike paths have traffic monitoring)

blue flag beach

Not a new idea, Blue Flags – a simple way of letting you know the water is safe to bathe in


We’ve already got these message boards on our roads – and we collect data on air and count traffic. Why not combine the two to let people see the information where it’s relevant?

There’s more example in this flickr gallery

Croatia by Numbers

If you are a frequent viewer of Eurosport, then you are probably sick of this advert already

A few things strike me about it, every time i see it.  Firstly that they advertise how many fish species they have (!), and second that they seem really proud of their heritage status numbers.  The message – how nice it was before they  caught the ‘development’ bug, and trashed it.

Now flick to Scotland.  Edinburgh’s UNESCO world heritage status always seems under threat because we want another luxury hotel, and then there’s the go ahead for development encroaching on the Antonine Wall or ‘that’ golf course development….

The Aarhus Convention in Scotland

Pillar 1: Access to Information

The deadline for implantation of the directive was Feb 2005 – this was met.

The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIR’s) was brought in to ensure that Scotland complies with the Convention and the Directive. The Scottish Information Commissioner has responsibility for the enforcement of the EIRs. Since 2005, which is when EIRs came into force, the commisioner has ruled on only 16 cases – which would suggest that information is not being withheld.

It worth noting that information may also be covered by Freedom of Information (FOI) Legislation, although there are some differences between them – information holders can’t choose which to use, they should apply both if needed.

There is lots of information on his web site –

The Scottish Gov did a study relased in 2006 about uptake:

Pillar 2: Public Participation in Decision Making

Due to be transposed by 25th June 2005. – Not completed on time (but was done by autumn 2006)

Although Environment is a devolved matter, some areas are reserved such as non renewable energy and fishing outside the Scottish area. 14 pieces of Scottish legislation were updated

Instead of being implemented in one instrument – public participation has been made part of a number of other instruments including:

• Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/614):
• nitrate vulnerable zones
• The Air Quality Limit Values (Scotland) Regulations (SSI 2005/300)
• four waste regimes on 4 August.
• Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2005 were udated 16 November 2005

Pillar 3: Access to Justice

Not passed yet.

Scottish Climate Chaos Rally

Wrestling Man
Throwing down for the climate (not my handy work)

Spent Wednesday morning doing ‘craft’ in the making of little people to represent us. Spent the lunchtime down at Holyrood, at the SCCS organised cliamte change rally. The asks are simple

  • Statutory annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 3% year on year starting now
  • The inclusion of emissions from international aviation and shipping from the beginning
  • Ensure that the action to tackle climate change takes place in Scotland and is not ‘bought in’ from overseas.

Politicians from all parties spoke – particularly impressive were Pats (Green, so of course) and Alex Johnstone (Tory, a pleasant surprise). The others seemed very keen on listening and hearing from us all – with respect gals (and they were all women), you should have got the message by now, so the time is now for acting!

You know how to vote – now start backing it up with policies

Toasty Warm

Who doesn’t want to be warmer?

Well if we (the Scottish Green Party) can have anything to do with it, we all can be. Yey!

It’s simple really, insulate every home in scotland – for free! This is what the Greens want out of the budget. I think this quote from the scotsman sums it up dead well.

At £100 million, the scheme is a drop in the ocean in a £30 billion budget, which would bring work in times of hardship, warm people’s homes, save them money and make a big step towards bringing down those carbon emissions.

You can find lots of other great reasons on the Warm Scotland website

So go sign up already