Edinglassie Hosts SLE's Second COP26 Showcase Event

Press Release

Edinglassie Estate, near Huntly, hosted SLE's second COP26 environmental event on the final day of the two-week international conference on Friday 12 November.

The estate is a traditional, mixed use upland estate of 4,600 acres, with the majority being heather moorland rising from 750 to 1600 feet and is an excellent example of integrated land management.

Malcolm Hay, owner of Edinglassie, explained and showed attendees the extraordinary conservation schemes that the estate had led the way on under his management including peatland restoration, riparian planting and improved biodiversity.

Edinglassie has merited organic certification for over 21 years and is working hard to improve habitat for wildlife and the environment. Regarding peatland, 2.7kms of grips have been filled and the reseeding and bank profiling covers around 60 acres.

The estate converted to organic after Malcolm attended a sustainable food conference in Paisley where chef Jamie Oliver was the guest speaker. During the course of the day, it was disclosed that East Renfrewshire Council's budget for a primary school child's lunch was just 13p and contained a burger that was guaranteed just 5% beef and a cup cake. Jamie Oliver succeeded in getting a piece of fresh fruit added to the menu and Malcolm went back home to figure out how to turn his acres of inedible cellulose into nutritious and chemical-free food.

With the help of NatureScot, substantial peatland restoration projects have been carried out in recent years to improve long-term carbon storage, increase biodiversity, regulate downstream flooding, and restore the natural landscape.

The estate is currently removing sitka plantations in favour of native species reforestation. It is also encouraging natural regeneration of woodland habitat through careful management practices. In September, Edinglassie was reaccredited by Wildlife Estates Scotland, an international initiative which aims to promote the best habitat and wildlife management practices and raise standards through an objective accreditation system.

Landowners, land managers and a host of rural professionals attended on Friday to gain an insight into the success of Edinglassie. Also attending the event were Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Sustainability Committee, Cllr Iain Taylor and representatives from stakeholder organisations including the James Hutton Institute, Scottish Land Commission and SGRPID.

Malcolm Hay said: “The need to tackle climate change and raise environmental standards is now being given prominence in a way that has never happened before. COP26 is taking place on our doorstep and will be monumental for the future of our planet but it is just as important that the work we do locally contributes to positive outcomes for the region and for Scotland and the UK.

“Our peatland restoration and sustainable forestry programmes are playing a part in removing carbon from our atmosphere and I was delighted to show other land managers the success we’ve been having at Edinglassie. We hope this encourages more people to think about what they can do to help the environment.”

David Fyffe, Chair of SLE’s North East Committee said: “Landowners and land managers across Scotland are already playing a vital role on the ground to help the Scottish Government meet their policy objectives and reach net-zero by 2045. Edinglassie is a magnificent example of how the correct long-term decisions can provide benefits to rural businesses and to society more widely and our appreciation goes to Malcolm for sharing this knowledge with us.”

Read our COP26 Roundup