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Highland Invasive Species Network Meeting

On Wednesday Highland Regional Manager, Drew McFarlane-Slack attended a meeting of the Highland Invasive Species Network (HISN).  The network met to consider the issues falling out of the new Highland Community Planning Partnership's new 'Outcome Improvement Plan 2017-2127 (HOIP).

 

The Highland Environment Network was set up in recognition of the high priority given by the HCCP to Environmental outcomes in the 2007-2017 Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) to which SLE was a signatory. Its aims are

  • Foster and coordinate activity on environmental matters, both within and at the Highland level.
  • Take forward relevant actions identified in the SOA, and be a valuable source of practical advice on the joint delivery of SOA outcomes.
  • Identify and respond to emerging environmental agendas, and provide a link between local groups and national strategies, action plans and reporting procedures
  • Raise awareness and promote good practice on environmental issues across Highland

The new HOIP has five priority outcomes, Poverty reduction, Community participation and dialogue, Infrastructure, Community safety and resilience, and Mental health and wellbeing. There are 4 cross-cutting themes, Employability, Employment & Skills Development; Community Investment & Development; Digital Connectivity and Equality. There is not specific priority for Environmental outcomes and each of the CPP members will be required to integrate these priorities and themes into their strategic plans where appropriate.

 

The HISN members discussed  the recent funding success for the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative/ RAFTS. The group will meet with the project coordinator in the spring of 2018 to discuss projects in Highland.. They also noted that long term funding was a serious issue for the Highland Group and that this needed to be addressed...

 

Other points highlighted were: 

  • the benefit of having a working group where experts in the field could meet - at present it is the nearest we have to coordinated working and knowledge sharing.
  • the need for HC to have a coordinated stance on address invasive species on their land.
  • The potential for putting together good practice guides on invasive species management - perhaps beginning with rhododendron.
  • work between Cromarty Fisheries Trust and LANTRA to develop an apprenticeship scheme covering fisheries and forestry - could be a good model for other areas - amongst other benefits it provides all year round work for the apprentices.
  • the potential of the Wester Ross biosphere to demonstrate invasive species. management at a landscape level - dependent on funding success
  • the success of the Wester Ross plant swap scheme - exchanging R ponticum for cultivars - future roll out is funding dependent

While the Environment seems now to be a lesser priority for the Highland CPP members, it will remain to be seen how the current structures created and sustained over the past 10 years will survive without the umbrella of HCPP policy support.

 

 

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