Monday, 11 August 2014

Peatland ACTION – final call for restoration applications

Announcement from the Peatland ACTION project:

The last round of Scottish Natural Heritage’s Peatland ACTION project is now open for grant applications, with a closing date of:

1st September 2014.

Potential applicants are reminded that restoration ground-work MUST be completed by 15 March 2015 at the latest. Given the tight time-scale for completion of works, combined with the approaching autumn-winter weather and reduced daylight, potential applicants need to be mindful of the challenges posed. Please be realistic about the type and scale of work that is feasible. We will not fund projects that can’t guarantee completion by this date.

To help you in planning, beyond the closing date, it can take 6 to 8 weeks before formal approval is received. You will not be able to start the work before you receive any formal grant offer we might make.

For guidance, we would welcome applications from those who are confident that they can complete a restoration project in this time period. It will help us if you can submit you application before the 1st September deadline, where possible. This will allow us to process applications and follow up any queries we might have sooner.

Further information for applicants can be found on the project webpage ‘information for applicants.’ This includes standard information on eligibility, application forms and guidance on how to apply.

Types of projects we suggest are feasible in this short timescale are:
  • Shovel ready projects
  • Ditch blocking
  • Scrub removal
  • Tree felling – only where felling licences are in place 
  • Peatland restoration feasibility
  • Restoration plans
  • Peat depth and hydrological surveys
  1. Where trees or materials are removed for sale, you will need to provide detailed information on costs and income. Any profit will offset the amount of grant offered.
  2. Do not include projects that require fencing or stock bridges.

Next steps

If you plan to submit an application, could you please register with Peatland ACTION by email (below), providing:
  • Name of the project
  • Likely level of funding to be requested and expected project cost
  • Simple description of the type of work involved e.g. ditch blocking and scrub removal

Help and advice

If you want to discuss your application with a member of the Peatland ACTION team, please

Future funding

Beyond March 2015, the SRDP will be the main source of funding to maintain and restore peatlands. For those who have applied for Peatland Action funds in the June round we will be contacting you in the next few days

Andrew McBride
Peatland Action Project Manager

IUCN Annual Conference 20-22 October - Registration open

Peatland Action: Learning from Success 
IUCN Peatland Programme Annual Conference, October 2014


See the IUCN website for details of the conference and information about how to book.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Survey of Landowners in Cairngorms National Park

The CNPA commissioned an independent study in 2013 and the report has been published today.  A news item introduces the report and provides links to view it.

The work was carried out by SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), UHI Centre for Mountain Studies and Rural Solutions, with support from Scottish Land & Estates.

In addition to the general economic information being collated in a national survey commissioned by Scottish Land & Estates, CNPA wanted to collate information on community development and conservation within the Park.  The Authority also wanted to identify future opportunities for collaboration to help deliver the National Park Partnership Plan.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

£4m for Peat Bog Restoration in the Flow Country

Photo: Andy Hay / RSPB Images
See the article on the BBC News website for full details, but this represents a major funding boost for peatland restoration in the Flow Country and will work alongside the £15m of funding being provided by the Scottish Government for the Peatland ACTION project.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Rural Scotland in Focus 2014 Report

The third Rural Scotland in Focus 2014 (RSiF 2014) Report has been published today by SRUC.  Previous reports were published in 2010 and 2012.  The report of the summary can be downloaded from the SRUC website.

The Report continues to monitor how rural Scotland is changing, focusing on: population trends, the lives of young people, the levels and experiences of poverty and disadvantage and how use of our finite rural land resource is negotiated through planning and other means.

Key Policy Messages from the 2014 Report
  • At a time of economic constraint there is an increased need for rural perspectives to be brought to national issues. 
  • This is a particularly timely moment to ensure that this happens since this year we are seeing the further development of the Scottish Planning Policy (SPP), National Planning Framework (NPF3), Land Use Strategy and its regional pilots, Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill, National Marine Plan, Land Reform Review, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform (including changes to ‘Pillar 1’ and ‘Pillar 2’, the Scotland Rural Development Programme encompassing LEADER) and the first meeting of the Scottish Rural Parliament. 
  • It is vitally important that the needs of people and communities are taken into account and integrated effectively with the need to manage natural resources sustainably. The national policy context provides a very important driver for putting people at the centre, given its growing emphasis on community empowerment, capacity building and community ownership of land and other assets. 
  • In our RSiF Reports we are not arguing that rural should be privileged over urban. Rather, that the evidence shows that the design and deployment of policies and practices must be ‘tailored’ to the local specifics of rural Scotland. 
  • The evidence leads us to conclude that there should be an over-arching, comprehensive vision and strategy for rural Scotland, aligned with and supporting the delivery of the National Outcomes. Such a strategy will allow for rural needs to be recognised and addressed, and support the development of further resilience and vibrancy across rural Scotland. 

For more information on the work of SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre, contact: Dr Jane Atterton, Manager and Policy Researcher, Rural Policy Centre, SRUC, T: 0131 535 4256;

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Evaluation of Measures and Policy Mechanisms to Protect Peatland

This report was commissioned by SEPA, last year, and was produced by members of the Forum and special guests.  The report also draws on a workshop that was held last year to capture input from a wider range of stakeholders.

The report contains an overview of how peatlands were viewed last year from policy and practitioner viewpoints and how the CAP review was likely to influence peatland management.

The rate of change in peatland issues is high and since this report was drafted, there have been many developments and it would be interesting to revise this report to incorporate the latest developments and thinking.  One of the biggest changes has been the development of the Peatland ACTION project and the higher level of funding provided by the Scottish Government that this report anticipates.

It was a useful exercise for the Forum and it demonstrates our ability to capture thinking from outside the Forum and deliver a valuable report.  This report has taken too long to finalise, but it had to compete for attention with other pieces of commissioned work.  The sequel would be even more valuable and it would be easier to produce.  I hope that SEPA will consider commissioning this.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Annual Land Use Strategy Stakeholder Event - 27 May 2014

The Scottish Government will host its annual stakeholder event to engage stakeholders on the Land Use Strategy.  Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Minister for Environment & Climate Change will make the keynote address.

This year’s all-day event will take place at SNH Battleby, just outside Perth on 27 May 2014. Discussion topics will include the progress of the Regional Land Use Framework pilot projects in Aberdeenshire and the Scottish Borders, as well as the development of the next Land Use Strategy.

If you would like more information about this event, note your interest by sending an e-mail with contact details to the Land Use Strategy Team - deadline 11 April 2014.  This will record your interest only. A detailed programme of the event along with information on how to register will be sent in mid-April, when registration opens.

Further information about the Land Use Strategy from the SG website.