Policy & Lobbying
Wildlife Estates Scotland
Wildlife Estates Scotland

The Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) Initiative aims to introduce an objective and transparent system encouraging best practice and demonstrating how game and wildlife management undertaken by Scottish landowners, in line with the principles of biodiversity conservation, can deliver multiple benefits for society and rural communities.

The WES Initiative was launched in November 2010, and was developed by Scottish Land & Estates with advice 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. These organisations formed the core of the Project Steering Group between 2010 and 2012.

The key aims of WES, in line with principles of the EU Wildlife Estates (WE) label, are to:

  1. Promote best practice in game and wildlife management to maintain high standards across all those involved
  2. Build robust information on various species and their habitats, wildlife management, conservation projects and integration with other land uses to monitor activity and ensure continuous improvement
  3. Use the information derived from WES to engage public and private stakeholders in encouraging best practice management for further maintenance of Scotland’s natural biodiversity

The WES initiative was tested with different estates in two pilot phases between 2011 and 2012. The first pilot phase, carried out in the Cairngorm National Park Area, sought to determine if the draft application form and the evaluation process were fit for purpose. Site visits were carried out and reviews undertaken with Estates. Following completion in September 2011, the Steering Group met to consider the applications and scoring.

A workshop was then held in December 2011 to review the results, go through the WES application process and obtain feedback from Estates. 

The Steering Group made amendments to the application form and evaluation process, which was further tested in the second pilot phase, and again reviewed. Pilot estates were approached once more to test out updated sections.

Alongside the application form design, SFQC were asked to review the pilot applications and comment on assessment issues. From scheme roll-out, SFQC will further underpin the assessment with site visits to each applicant. 

Work was also undertaken to establish a business plan. This acknowledged the need to find additional funding support to carry the initiative through to a point a self-sustaining position. Following discussion with SNH, financial support was agreed in return for information reporting and evidence of progress towards biodiversity gains. The funding package is subject to regular review as to sound financial and business management of the scheme.

The project reached a watershed in February 2013 with the launch of accreditation. This was marked by an event, which was attended by the Minister for Environment & Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, and the Chairman of SNH, Andrew Thin. It represents the next stage in development of the project, moving to full roll-out following the two pilot phases of 2011 & 2012.

You can download a copy of the Concept Briefing Paper, the Wildlife Estates Commitments, the WES membership form and an example of the WES Accreditation application form below.

To sign up to Wildlife Estates Scotland download application form or contact Ross Macleod on 07773898625 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For news updates, you can visit www.wildlife-estates.co.uk



    Wildlife Estates Scotland News

    • 05/05/2016 - Article on Land Tenure and Benefit of Larger Estates
      In Issue 53 of Reforesting Scotland, Scott McG. Wilson argues that large rural estates in Britain retain some clear advantages for sustainable land management and ecological restoration.  Click on the article to read more:

    • 25/05/2015 - Flying the flag for private conservation at the RSPB Big Nature Festival
      Representatives from Scottish Land & Estates, including the Scottish Moorland Group and Wildlife Estates Scotland were out in full force at the RSPB’s Big Nature Festival at Levenhall Links near Musselburgh last weekend. With the Curlew named  as this year’s ‘Bird of Focus’ at the event, it gave us a chance to sho

    • 07/05/2015 - Sustainable Moorland Management
      Representatives from Wildlife Estates Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates met with Ian Ross, Chairman of SNH last Friday at Allargue Estate to discuss sustainable moorland management issues. Adrian and Rosey Walker from Purdey award-winning and WES accredited Allargue Estate hosted a meeting with Ian Ross, Chai

    • 04/07/2014 - Farms And Estates Lead The Charge On Wildlife Conservation
      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 wildlif

    • 17/05/2014 - Cairngorms Nature Festival – May 2014 – showcasing wildlife and landscapes
      Following on from the success of last year’s ministerial launch of Cairngorms Nature, the Park would like to invite WES members to be part of a Cairngorms Nature Festival on 17th and 18th May 2014. The Festival will be a collection of events taking place all over the N

    • 19/12/2013 - Wildlife Estates Scotland
      WES accreditation is up and running but there’s much more to do. Ross Macleod reflects on a year of progress but looks to the areas that need to be developed in 2014 and beyond. Wildlife Estates Scotland – looking backward and forward   It’s typical at this time of y

      Scotland’s grouse moors are preparing for what experts predict could be the strongest shooting season in years, starting on the Glorious Twelfth of August, the traditional opening day of the country sports tourism season. Through the VisitScotland Growth Fund

    • 05/07/2013 - Rural Estates Lead The Charge On Wildlife Conservation
      Seven landowners scoop coveted ‘Wildlife Estates Scotland’ accreditations at The Scottish Game Fair RURAL estate owners in Scotland are blazing a trail on positive land management for wildlife conservation.  Full Wildlife Estates Scotland

    • 20/02/2013 - Rural Estates Reach Key Milestone In Conservation Crusade
      THE 250 Scottish rural estates which have signed up to become members of a pioneering conservation initiative today (Tuesday 19 February) reached a key milestone on the way to becoming Scotland’

    • 10/01/2013 - A guiding light in wildlife management
      AN essential up-to-date guide created specifically for land managers dealing with snaring is now available. The ‘Snaring in Scotland – a practitioners’ guide’ has been updated to ensure the reader is fully up to speed with the requirements now in place for anyone who is using snaring as a means of wil

    • 11/07/2012 - Environment Minister on the moor
      Minister for Environment and Climate Change,  Stewart Stevenson was invited to spend a day at Edinglassie Estate in Strathdon as part of his summer tour, kindly hosted by the Hon Charles Pears

    • 05/07/2011 - Landowners Urged to 'Answer The Call' Of Wildlife
      ‘Answer the call’ of wildlife. That is the challenge being laid down to land and estate owners by Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) and the Scottish Government at today’s (Friday) Game Fair.Over 200 farms and estates have signed up to the WES initiative since it was launched last November. Today marks the start of a

    • 29/03/2011 - Wildlife Estates Pilot Locations Unveiled
      Three Scottish estates in the Cairngorms National Park were today (Tuesday) named asthe first to pilot the pioneering Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) initiative.

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