Five landowners scoop coveted ‘Wildlife Estates Scotland’
accreditations at the Scottish Game Fair
Five Scottish estates have been awarded prestigious international accreditation to recognise their ongoing work in wildlife management and conservation.
The award of Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) accreditation wasmade at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair, being held at Scone Palace this weekend.
WES is a national version of the EU Wildlife Estates (WE) initiative and is endorsed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Environment, whose objective is to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations.
The farms and estates awarded accreditation are:-
- Finzean Estate, Aberdeenshire
- The Hopes Estate, East Lothian
- Over Rankeilour, Fife
- Balruddrie, Kinross-shire
- Threepwood, Selkirkshire
The newly accredited estates have all have undergone a rigorous assessment to demonstrate their standard of excellence in land and sporting management that enhances wildlife conservation and encourages biodiversity through careful habitat management for Scotland’s wild animals and birds in line with stringent independent EU standards. In doing so, WES demonstrates how land and estate owners can deliver multiple benefits to rural Scotland aligning closely with the Scottish Government’s developing Land Use Strategy.
The completion of WES accreditation completes a brace of awards for Finzean Estate, with the Aberdeenshire estate announced as the winner of the coveted Golden Plover prize earlier this week.
The Golden Plover Award, a joint initiative by the Heather Trust and GWCT Scotland, recognises the 4,000 hectare estate for its work to support a wide range of species, including black grouse, golden eagles, merlin, curlew and lapwing. Conservation work has also been a real focus, with the remnant population of capercaillie thriving on the estate set against declining numbers across the rest of the country.
Wildlife Estates Scotland Chairman Robbie Douglas Miller said: “We have been delighted with the progress of Wildlife Estates Scotland since its inception in 2010 and today’s awards to five new estates demonstrates the desire amongst many of Scotland’s rural landowners to embrace best practice for the future of our wildlife and natural habitat.
“Today’s recipients are diverse in nature, ranging from large farm businesses to more traditional sporting estates. What they all have in common, however, is a desire to work exceptionally hard for the good of the nation’s wildlife at the same time as sustaining their own business activities and it is pleasing that this effort in wildlife management - that is sometimes taken for granted - is being recognised more widely.”
WES was founded by Scottish Land & Estates with support from Scottish Natural Heritage, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland and the Cairngorms National Park Authority. It has been supported from the beginning by the Scottish Government.
David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said:“Accreditation through Wildlife Estates Scotland demonstrates the commitment shown by our members to proving their management practices meet the best interests of biodiversity and a thriving rural economy.
“All farms and estates involved in WES are assessed to the most stringent independent standards covering best practice on game and wildlife management plans, the maintenance of species and habitats records as well as integration of these aspects with other land management activities.
“The estates recognised today, as well as those previously accredited, are making wonderful efforts to balance their businesses with the enhancement of wildlife and the natural habitat and we hope their work will play a key role in leaving an improved legacy for future generations.”