SLE appoints two new regional Chairs

Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the rural business membership organisation, has appointed two new Chairs covering the South West of Scotland.

Laura Warrender, from Minuntion Estate near Girvan, Ayrshire, takes up the role of Clydeside Chair. Sir David Hope-Dunbar of St Mary’s Isle Estate, Kirkcudbright, is SLE’s new Dumfries & Galloway Chair.

In their new key roles for SLE, Laura and Sir David will work with SLE Chairman Mark Tennant, SLE’s Chief Executive Sarah-Jane Laing alongside local colleagues and members to ensure that the needs of farmers, rural businesses, estates and local communities in South West Scotland are considered by government both locally and nationally.

Welcoming the appointments, Mark Tennant, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said “I am delighted to have Laura and Sir David join the team at Scottish Land & Estates at such an important time as we emerge from the pandemic. Together their land management experience, passion for wildlife and the environment and their first-hand understanding of the key issues impacting rural businesses, will help us ensure that rural Scotland thrives. I would like to thank Simon Craufurd of Craufurdland Estate for his hard work and dedication, as he steps down after two years as SLE’s South West Chair.”

Commenting on her new position, Laura Warrender, Clydeside Chair of Scottish Land & Estates said “I’m delighted to have been appointed Clydeside Chair. I am looking forward to helping SLE and Clydeside members continue to play a key role in developing new thinking and approaches in land management and biodiversity, which I am very passionate about. As a Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) accredited estate, I would like to help other farms and estates to become accredited by WES – a programme run by SLE which recognises landowners who are committed to best practice in conservation, habitat and wildlife management.”

Sir David Hope-Dunbar, Dumfries & Galloway Chair of Scottish Land & Estates said “After enjoying more than 55 years of hands-on management of the farms and other aspects of St Mary’s Isle Estate, I am looking forward to retiring this year. Land managers play a hugely important role in tackling climate change and my new position at SLE will enable me to use my knowledge and experience to help other land managers, rural businesses and communities, especially across Dumfries & Galloway.”


Notes to editors

Laura Warrender biography

Laura has been a partner in the family estate for the past three years. At the heart of it is a large sheep farm but it is also a traditional sporting estate, with self catering holiday accommodation, a woodland school for local children and outward bound groups and commercial forestry. One of Laura’s priorities for the estate is to continue to enhance and protect biodiversity, working towards achieving level 2 accreditation of Wildlife Estates Scotland and building on the extensive planting schemes of native woodland, and the restoration of habitats undertaken by her parents in law. Laura is a board member of the Galloway and South Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere and is also a panel member of the Hadyard Hill Community Fund which distributes funds from the SSE operated windfarm above the village of Barr. Laura has two young children and prior to helping manage the estate, had a career in TV production as a producer of documentaries.

Sir David Hope-Dunbar biography

Sir David has 55 years practical experience of land management. A chartered surveyor by profession, and following a short stint in the City where he set up a merchant bank, he returned to Kirkcudbright to St Mary’s Isle Estate, the family estate and farms, which he has tirelessly managed, hands-on, for over 50 years. In the 1960s, the estate centred on a much more agriculture business, milking 550 cows by 1970, one of the largest herds in Scotland in one ownership at that time. Since then the Estate has reduced the intensity of its farming. David has a strong interest in renewable energy and the estate now has four owned wind turbines, three lots of solar panels, as well as private rented housing and continuing moderate scale forestry.