Scottish Environment Statistics 2007, published last Thursday, is the seventh edition of the booklet giving data on the state of the environment, with an emphasis on the trends over time.

It includes the result of a survey in which respondents were asked to rate the relative importance of eight environmental issues facing Scotland.

They top three were reducing contributions to climate change/global warming, addressing how to meet energy needs and increasing recycling levels.

Reducing the risk of flooding was ranked least important in the order of priorities.

Respondents were also asked what action they took to help protect the environment.

Most common was recycling household waste undertaken by two-thirds of respondents. Four in ten said that they walk, cycle or use public transport “a lot” rather than a car.

Despite this a survey of public concern show the percentage of respondents “very worried” about the top ten environmental issues had fallen across the board between 1991 and 2002.

For example, in 1991 42 percent were “very worried” about global warming compared with 25 percent in 2002.

The ten issues in descending order were raw sewage into the sea, nuclear waste, damage to the ozone layer, pollution of rivers, lochs and seas, protection of wildlife, road traffic, quality of drinking water, pesticides, fertiliser and chemical sprays, waste disposal and global warming.

Among issues of least concern were fish farming and farming methods.

The report also notes percentage of electricity generated from renewable energy sources rose from just over 14 percent in 2000 to more than 18 percent in 2005.

Meanwhile, the amount from coal fell from 33 percent to 25 percent.

But less welcome for efforts to reduce carbon emission is a 25 percent increase in traffic on Scottish roads between 1993 and 2006.

Temperatures in Scotland are predicted to rise by 3.5 percent in summer and 2.5 percent in winter by 2100 with corresponding impacts on weather patterns including wetter winters and drier summers.

The full report is available online on the Scottish Executive website.

David Gibbs

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