Seven Scottish farms and 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 Scottish Game Fair, with the Scottish Government’s Rural Economy secretary Fergus Ewing MSP presenting some of the awards.
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:-
- Ballogie Estate, Deeside (A mixed fishing, shooting and stalking estate with significant interests in commercial forestry)
- The MacRobert Trust, Deeside (Particular interest in the environment and its ecology and renewable energy technologies alongside a strong tenant farming focus)
- Garrogie Estate, Monadhliaths (Grouse, deer management, recovery of native birch woods)
- Moray Estates, Doune (Interests in renewable energy, forestry and farming alongside a close working relationship with the local community)
- Colquhalzie Estate, Perthshire (Arable, livestock and forestry integrated with a private shoot)
- Eskdale & Liddesdale Estate, Dumfriesshire (Incorportating the Langholm Moor Demonstration project but with significant interests in farming and woodland management)
- Scone Estate, Perthshire (Significant interest in commercial arable farming, forestry and conservation management, alongside a substantial tourism business, which of course includes hosting the GWCT Scottish Game Fair)
The recently accredited estates have all have undergone a rigorous independent assessment of their game, wildlife and habitat management, as well as their social and economic contribution to rural life. All properties are expected to maintain these standards throughout the lifetime of accreditation, with WES creatinga transparent benchmark system which demonstrates what, and how, land managers can deliver multiple benefits to rural Scotland, supporting the Scottish Government’s Land Use and Biodiversity 2020 route map strategies.
The completion of WES accreditation for these seven estates brings the total number of accredited farms and estates across Scotland to 38, covering nearly 950,000 acres.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:“The Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) initiative aims to encourage best practice in wildlife management undertaken by Scottish landowners, to enhance biodiversity and deliver a range of other benefits for society and rural communities. I am therefore very pleased that a further seven farms and estates have achieved their Wildlife Estate Scotland Accreditation Award. It brings the total number of such accredited properties to 38 so far, accounting for approximately a million acres of land including many protected sites.”
Wildlife Estates Scotland chairman Alister Jack said:“Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation is a rigorous process that asks estates and farms to meet the finest standards across wildlife and conservation management and it is pleasing that another seven estates and farms have met this benchmark.
“The newly-accredited properties are very diverse in nature but they have all demonstrated the excellent work they are conducting on issues such as species and habitat management. We seek a broad range of information from estates, including data on 70 key species, which helps to provide significant insight on what is working well and where our conservation efforts need to be targeted.
“These farms and estates are undertaking exceptionally important work that benefits all of us and it is only right that their efforts are recognised through WES accreditation.”
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 and a further 170 estates have pledged to become fully accredited members of the initiative.