Thursday, 16 March 2017

Working for Waders

This is a working title for an initiative that is developing to follow the Understanding Predation project.  To help develop the concept, one or more workshops are being proposed in early May to gather views from as many people as possible about the sort of initiative that would match the range of different aspirations amongst stakeholders.

A save-the-date notification has been placed on the Moorland Forum website and anyone with an interest in the potential of this work is invited to indicate which of the three workshops they would like to attend.  A decision about which workshop to run will be made in response to demand - please complete all the workshops you will be able to attend.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Peatland ACTION re-launch

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, has re-launched the Peatland ACTION project.

The Peatland ACTION fund received a further £8 million from the Scottish Government, in January. The investment allows the Peatland Action Fund, which is administered by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), to continue working with its partners and restore a further 8,000 hectares of this precious peatland habitat in Scotland, during 2017/18.

The fund is open for applications on 1st April but the project team would like to hear about proposed projects now. Updated application requirements and guidance are available from the Project webpage.

In this phase of the project, there is an emphasis on extending the geographical reach to the Western Isles, and for further contractor training. More information will be become available in due course through updates on the project's webpages and posts on social media accounts: @SNH_Tweets and @ScottishNaturalHeritage

The Scottish Government has issued a press release.

BBC News article includes a video clip with the voice-over provided by Andrew McBride, the Peatland ACTION Project Manager.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Conference: Newcastle, 17 March - Identifying the opportunities for and threats to the British Uplands

The full title of the conference is: "Identifying the opportunities for and threats to the British Uplands: what are the policy and research priorities?".  More information

Key aims are to:
  1. Facilitate an evidence-based discussion on the future of the British uplands in what can be a contentious policy and management topic;
  2. Establish the viewpoints of important stakeholders regarding the future of the uplands post-Brexit;
  3. Identify the top policy and research questions  by collecting data through facilitated discussion and to determine where there is consensus; and
  4. Use the workshop data to guide future BES policy work in the British uplands (potentially a first publication immediately post-workshop), and to consider a future event.
Lead organisers: 
Darren Evans (Newcastle University), Des Thompson (Scottish Natural Heritage), Jamie Newbold (Aberystwyth University), Davy McCracken (Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Monday, 20 February 2017

This Valentine’s Day, love your bog…

Photo: Scottish Land & Estates
See the blog post by Anne Gray of Scottish Land & Estates.  She provides some useful background to  why the appropriate management of peatland has become more important, recently.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Review of the Muirburn Code

The latest draft of the revised Muirburn Code is being circulated widely as part of setting up the practitioners' workshops, and it is available through the dedicated website.  This online version is continuing to evolve and some significant changes are likely as part of the development process.

The first workshop took place on 7 February (Lauder) (see the report on the Muirburn Code blog) and further workshops are planned on 16 February (Skye) and 21 February (Huntly).  A final workshop will take place at Battleby (Perth) on 14 march.  After which a version of the code to present to the Scottish Government will be developed.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Meeting with the Director Environment and Forestry

Lord Lindsay and I met Bridget Campbell, Director Environment & Forestry at Victoria Quay, this morning.  Keith Connal (Deputy Director, Natural Resources Division) and Hugh Dignon were also present.

We received a valuable briefing about the issues that the two Cabinet Secretaries are dealing with and discussed how the work of the Forum can support this activity.  We spent some time considering the development of the 'Working for Waders' programme of action, and this will be discussed further during the Chairman's Working Group meeting on Friday, 3 February.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Working for Waders

Working for Waders is the working title for a programme of action that the Forum is developing to follow on from the Understanding Predation project.

This is in the very early stages, but we are aiming to develop the concept and build momentum so that a programme of action can start, as soon as possible.

A small coordination group of volunteers contributed to a conference call on 26 January to help with the thinking, so that some ideas can be put to Forum members.  The concept will be discussed first at the Chairman's Working Group on 3 February, and then at the Forum meeting on 24 February. It is likely that we will be recommending that a series of workshops, possibly three, is held to capture ideas from a wide range of stakeholders, before we decide how best to address the issues.

We will welcome input to the development of this thinking from as many people as possible, but we are also aware that we want to get something started, while the messages that came from Understanding Predation are still fresh in our memories.