Lone outdoor work for knowledge

Relax current restrictions on lone outdoor work, including research fieldwork, as soon as feasible.

Why the contribution is important

The corona virus pandemic has highlighted that excellent scientific evidence is critically important for informing key government decisions.

It is consequently unfortunate that the lockdown is restricting scientific research that will be needed to inform government decisions on other critical policy areas. Not least, these include agriculture, fisheries, environmental protection and biodiversity management, where major policy decisions will soon need to be taken (post-Brexit).

Here, aspects of fieldwork are currently prohibited due to the lockdown, even where the fieldwork presents little or no risk of increasing the COVID-19 transmission rate. This includes, for example, cases where fieldworkers need to drive a few miles from home to research sites, then work outside in rural and remote areas where there is little or no risk of encountering other people at close proximity, then return home.

This work is season-limited; key data need to be collected in spring or early summer (e.g. biodiversity surveys). Thus, if work cannot recommence soon, multi-year environmental studies, and resulting scientific evidence bases, are in jeopardy.

I would therefore request that current constraints on lone outdoor fieldworking could be viewed as a priority for relaxation as soon as circumstances permit - especially fieldwork for research purposes.

Corona virus is already a human and economic disaster in Scotland. It would be unfortunate if it were also a disaster for the scientific evidence base that the Scottish Government will soon require in order to make sound environment-related decisions.

by jmr1 on May 10, 2020 at 05:45PM

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