UK: The impact that millions of pounds of Scottish Government funding has had on the region’s environment is to be assessed by a new project. The three-year project will be led by ecological consultancy Environment Systems, working with Thomson Ecology and Team Projects. Researchers will use remote sensing and field surveys to monitor changes and assess the effectiveness of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
The launch of the project coincided with the publication of the first national High Nature Value Farming and Forestry report, which shows at least 40 percent of the country’s farmland and forestry areas are managed in ways that provide high biodiversity value.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said, “Since the launch of the SRDP in 2008, the Scottish Government has awarded over GBP 174 million of agri-environment funding to help land managers protect and enhance nature on their land. The project launched today will evaluate the impact of that funding on Scotland’s biodiversity, looking in particular at how it conserves key species and habitats and contributes to our economy.”
Ron Macdonald, head of policy and advice at Scottish Natural Heritage, said, “Farming and crofting contribute greatly to the diversity of Scotland’s natural heritage and the SRDP plays an important part in protecting our biodiversity, so this project is crucial to evaluate what’s working and what can be improved.”