In acknowledging the importance of the new strategy COSLA spokesperson for environment, sustainability and community safety, Alison Hay, said: 'COSLA continues to be a strong advocate for protecting Scotland's environment and an enthusiastic supporter of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Bill.
'I would agree with the minister's comments and would go on to say that it is a tribute to the co-operation shown by all partners that we will have an Act with the conservation of Biodiversity at its heart. I am pleased that COSLA has been able to contribute on behalf of local authorities.'
Councillor Hay continued: 'I am also doubly pleased to welcome the launch today of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, the second major step forward this month in enhancing the Scottish environment.'
'The new Strategy will provide the framework for enhancing all aspects of Scotland's biological diversity, not just by conserving rare species or habitats, but also through generally improving urban, rural and marine environments.
'Local authorities as major landowners and managers already make a massive contribution to biodiversity conservation through Local Biodiversity Action Plan work, and in the promotion of sustainable development. The strategy makes it clear that delivering on its aims will benefit the country socially and economically as well as environmentally, helping reconnect people and place.'
Councillor Hay concluded: 'Although local authorities will continue to play a lead role in enhancing the environment of their communities, it is pleas ing that the new Strategy recognises that protecting our unique and precious natural heritage is the responsibility of all.
'I can also say that local government will continue to work in partnership with all those who have contributed to the Strategy, and with appropriate resources and innovative thinking, I believe that we can build upon what has already been achieved and successfully deliver the aims and objectives of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.'