A Highland estate recognised at a European level for its excellent wildlife, habitat and conservation management has now been newly accredited under a Scottish version of the scheme.
Strathspey Estate, a diverse propertycovering a spectacular area of around 54,000 acres,has successfully renewed its status with Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES).
WES is a national version of the EU Wildlife Estates (WE) label, and was developed by Scottish Land & Estates with advice from Scottish Natural Heritage, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Cairngorms National Park Authority. It has also received the support of the Scottish Government since its launch.
At the Highland Field Sports Fair, Moy, WES accreditation was presented to Strathspey Sporting Supervisor Frank Law and Property Director Andrew Norval by the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP.
One of the first in Scotland, and indeed in Europe, to achieve accreditation under the original Wildlife Estates label in 2010, Strathspey Estatehas interests in deer management and stalking, conservation management of protected sites and iconic landscape, sustainable forest management, shooting, fishing and the provision of access paths for some 30,000 visitors each year. It is part of Seafield Estates.
The latest award has been made following a rigorous accreditation process, which demonstrates that the estate is observing best practice in its management regime. The estate has also built information on species and their habitats, wildlife management, conservation projects and integration with other land uses to monitor continuous improvement.
The completion of WES accreditation by Strathspey Estate brings the total number of accredited farms and estates across Scotland to 39, covering nearly 971,000 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 to present Strathspey Estate with their Wildlife Estate Scotland Accreditation Award. It brings the total number of such accredited properties to 39 so far, accounting for approximately a million acres of land including many protected sites.”
Will Anderson, of Strathspey Estate, said: “The award of WES accreditation is significant testament to the hard work of all the staff across the estate. The accreditation scheme recognises our best practice in all the aspects of estate management but it is also an encouragement to do better and to build on the excellent work that is already being undertaken.
“We are pleased to receive the accreditation and hope this will encourage other farms and estates to work towards this goal.”
Ross Macleod of Wildlife Estates Scotland said: “It is only right that the excellent game, wildlife and habitat management that takes place on our farms and estates is recognised publicly. WES seeks to achieve this and show how properties such as Strathspey Estate are undertaking important conservation work that will benefit us all in years to come. Our congratulations go to Strathspey on achieving this significant landmark.”