IMAGINE a Scottish summer without midges, no wasps’ nest in the garden shed. The world’s insect population is in rapid decline. For many forms of wildlife their basic food stock is now in sort supply. For us humans, a lack of natural pollination for our fruit trees and bushes is developing.

What has gone wrong? Is it modern farming, the introduction of nitrogenous fertiliser and pesticides, cutting silage in June and a move away from July hay-making, less cattle dung and little rotational cropping?

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Ground-nesting birds such as the skylark have gone from many farms. When did you last hear a cuckoo? What is the solution? Start at home. Some rural gardens once had a skip of bees and didn’t manicure their lawns. Why not try a wild garden? All weeds, except some Westminster politicians, have a use and a place in the living world. Farmers should introduce wild flower meadows where practical and encourage bee keeping.

Politically, we need leaders with common sense and understanding who will demonstrate what can be done by an independent Scottish Parliament focused on a holistic approach to our greatest challenge, protecting the environment for all life forms.

Iain R Thomson