Scottish Policy Group

Are you interested in informing the development of environment and science policy in Scotland?

Introduction to Policy in Scotland Ben Connor

Join the BES Scottish Policy Group  Updates

What is the BES Scottish Policy Group?

The Scottish Policy Group (BES-SPG) is a group of BES members promoting the use of ecological knowledge in Scotland by highlighting how this knowledge can aid policymakers’ decision-making and supporting the involvement of ecologists in all levels of Scottish policymaking.

What Does the BES-SPG do?

We help ecologists get their message to policymakers, and help policymakers to understand ecological knowledge (and ecologists).

Our Aims:

1. Supporting ecologist to understand and get involved in policy making, and support policy makers in understanding ecology.

We bring together ecologists and policymakers, provide training for Scottish ecologists to develop their policy skills and provide briefings to members about the latest policy news.

Read our first Policy Guide for Scotland which provides an introduction to the policymaking process in Scotland.

Read Magda Chudzinska’s account of her policy shadowing placement with Roseanna Cunningham MSP and Mairi Gougeon MSP.

Read Chloe Bellamy’s account of her shadowing placement with Roseanna Cunningham MSP.

2. Promoting the use of ecological knowledge as part of a multidisciplinary approach to policy making. 

We highlight the benefits of using robust ecological evidence to inform policy. We run a variety of events that encourage understanding between ecologists and policymakers, including horizon scanning sessions and our ever popular “Pie and a Pint” (PAAP) series of informal gatherings. We also organised, often in partnership with others, policy-focused research conferences and sessions.

Read the summary report from the “Striking the right balance in offshore renewables: ecosystem effects, trade-offs and climate change” PAAP

Read the summary report from the “Does a Natural Capital approach deliver for biodiversity conservation?” PAAP

Read the summary report from the “What does biodiversity success in 2020 look like?” PAAP

Read the summary report from the Protected Areas and beyond PAAP

Read the summary report from the place of people in rewilding PAAP

Read the summary report from the Urban greenspace – space for nature and people? PAAP

3. Providing Robust Ecological Evidence.

We act as a focal point to provide robust ecological evidence to the Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and wider society. We respond to requests for information, and aim to provide evidence about upcoming policy issues through proactive briefings.

Read the BES-SPG response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Environmental Principles and Governance

Read the BES-SPG briefing on the impacts of Climate Change on habitats and species in Scotland

Read the BES-SPG response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Forestry Strategy 2019-2029

Read the BES-SPG response to the Grouse Moor Management stakeholder questionnaire

Read the BES-SPG response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Support for agriculture and the rural economy – post Brexit transition

Read the BES-SPG response to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee’s call for evidence on the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill.

What Does BES-SPG not do?

As an organisation we do not adopt policy positions or campaign on particular issues, but focus on increasing the use of ecological knowledge in policymaking. However that does not mean that our members don’t have their own views!

Why Should I Join BES-SPG?

Do you want to increase the impact of your own research, or help others increase theirs? Does your job require the latest and most robust ecological knowledge? If so, BES-SPG is for you!

By joining BES-SPG you will benefit from:

  • Support to communicate your ecological research to the relevant policymakers
  • Invitations to exclusive networking and policy engagement events
  • Developing contacts at the science-policy interface
  • Receiving dedicated briefings on the latest Scottish policy issues
  • Exclusive training opportunities
  • A forum to exchange ideas and develop novel applied research

BES-SPG is open to any BES member with an interest in informing Scottish policymaking, on any policymaker (with a .gov email address) with an interest in ecology. Sign up to join the group and receive the regular newsletter.

Download the BES SPG leaflet



The organising committee for the Scottish Policy Group are

  • Chair: Ruth Mitchell, James Hutton Institute
  • Vice-Chair: Isabel Jones, University of Stirling
  • Policy Committee Representative: Juliette Young, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Student Representative: Chris Pollard, University of Stirling
  • Ordinary Member: Chris Ellis, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  • Ordinary Member: Hannah Grist, University of Edinburgh
  • Ordinary Member: Jeanette Hall, Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Ordinary Member: Claire Lacey, University of St Andrews and Convenor of CIEEM (Scotland)
  • Ordinary Member: Chloe Bellamy, Forest Research
  • Ordinary Member: Jessica Hogan, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

Secretarial support  provided by: Maggie Keegan, BES Policy Officer in Scotland

Read our blogs           Read the SPG 5 year Strategy 2016-2021