Craigengillan Estate Hosts Showcase SLE COP26 Event

General News

Craigengillan Estate in East Ayrshire hosted a key SLE COP26 showcase event on Friday 5 November 2021.

While COP26 discussions were ongoing in Glasgow, the day at Craigengillan was one of action and to highlight how landowners in Scotland are doing their part to help tackle the twin emergencies of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Among those taking part were Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley MSP, Elena Whitham, Shadow Minister for Biodiversity and Land Reform, Brian Whittle MSP, East Ayrshire Chief Executive, Eddie Fraser, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, Cllr Douglas Reid and local ward representative Cllr Drew Filson.

Key stakeholder organisations NatureScot, RPID, The Woodland Trust, Royal Scottish Forestry Trust, SRUC, Ayrshire College, SAC, the UNESCO Biosphere and the Galloway National Park Association also attended.

There was a live demonstration of traditional hedge laying, increasingly recognised for its value to climate change, biodiversity and local employment, by Hedgelayer Graeme Walker and Tom Calderwood.  Delegates saw a peatland restoration project in action and heard from Patrick Jean-Martel of NatureScot who spoke of the huge carbon savings arising from the hundreds of thousands of trees in the new native woodlands created at Craigengillan. The Scottish Agricultural College confirmed on the day that Craigengillan’s carbon savings were an amazing two million tonnes.

Delegates also saw the tremendous work of Ayrshire College, who have based their student training in forestry and other skills at Craigengillan and plan to develop a model training centre for environmental skills, following the principles of the UNESCO Biosphere in which Craigengillan is situated.  This will be one of a number of key projects that can be supported when the area achieves National Park designation.  Ed Taylor, the former Ambassador of the Prince’s Foundation, talked eloquently on the importance of the local community, their support and involvement. Mark Gibson OBE, the owner of Craigengillan since 1999, explained the substantial conservation work the organic certified estate had led the way on. 

Commenting on the event Mark Gibson said:

“We need to build on the achievements of the last 22 years and create a legacy well beyond my lifetime.  Should we fail (and we will not!) it will not be for lack of trying.

“The people attending the event are able and well qualified to come together and make a real difference for biodiversity, climate change and the planet.  We must act, do our bit and set an example.”

Laura Warrender, Clydeside Regional Chair at SLE, said:

“Friday at Craigengillan was a fantastic day.  It was an enormous success full of learning, discussion and introductions.  It gave us the opportunity to bring many key people together.

“Craigengillan is a shining example of what can be achieved by estates to help both the environment and their local communities.  We were delighted that Mark was able to host us to demonstrate the work that is ongoing.  As COP26 takes place, landowners are vitally important in conserving our environment and wildlife and these positive achievements are worthy of recognition.”

Visit our dedicated COP26 resource page now.