Biodiversity Minister for Scotland, Lorna Slater visits PLMAs pioneering Pentlands Wildlife Collaboration

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The innovative conservation work of land managers in the Pentland Hills has been explored during a visit and meeting with Scottish Government Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater MSP.

Lorna Slater was joined by Hugh Dignon, Head of the Wildlife and Biodiversity Unit in the Scottish Government.

In collaboration with the Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) accreditation scheme, a group of six privately-owned landholdings covering 15,000 acres are collaborating to achieve landscape-scale biodiversity improvement on an urban fringe area that is important for farming and rural business, recreational activity and wildlife.

Lorna Slater MSP visits the PLMA WES cluster, present were Caroline Pringle of Wildlife Estates, Stephen Young of SLE and the PLMA members.

PLMA Wildlife Estate Scotland Cluster - scientifically informed wildlife plans

Through WES, with carefully coordinated data collection and analysis, the Cluster is working towards the creation of scientifically informed wildlife plans. As these plans are put into practice, WES will provide the framework for monitoring their progress. Three members of the Cluster have already achieved WES accreditation with the other three actively working towards it.

In their meeting with the Minister, the group explained its work so far including self-funding an extensive habitat and biodiversity survey of the area.

This will contribute towards the Cluster’s baseline dataset to inform future decision making, with comprehensive data on which species currently thrive in the hills. This will allow the Cluster to balance the needs of our native wildlife, our small rural businesses, and of public access and recreational usage of the hills.

Wildlife Estates Scotland
Farmers and land managers in the Pentlands are coming together through the Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) scheme to coordinate the excellent work they are doing to restore our biodiversity and wildlife habitats. It’s really important that nature restoration is taken forward at a landscape scale where this can be done, and it is encouraging to see such positive developments on the doorstep of Edinburgh. I hope this scheme will inspire more clusters of farms and land holdings to come together across Scotland to protect and restore nature. Lorna Slater MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

Lorna Slater visits the PLMA Wildlife Estates cluster.

We’re pleased to welcome the Minister to the Pentlands and explain to her the work we are undertaking for biodiversity in the region. We believe it is a pioneering collaboration, bringing together different private businesses to fund and drive forward conservation work to make a tangible difference to wildlife in our area. As well as data collection, we have already implemented changes such as hedgerow planting and minimum tillage techniques as well as joint working on surveying and monitoring pollinator life. “Our properties are on the fringe of Edinburgh, and it is important we can take steps at scale to ensure the needs of wildlife are considered in a landscape that is vital for working and recreational purposes. Becci Barr, PLMA WES cluster member
The collaborative work of the Cluster is progressive and inspiring and since they formed their grouping in 2019, they have accelerated their ambition of improving the environment through landscape-scale habitat management. “We’re pleased that Wildlife Estates Scotland has provided a framework for the Cluster to move forward and by adopting the best practice encouraged through WES, we are certain that over the next five to 10 years and beyond, the properties involved will be able to demonstrate quantifiable increases in biodiversity. The partners involved in the WES Cluster have different businesses and purposes for land management but working together at scale, they can achieve so much to benefit wildlife in the region. Caroline Pringle, Project Manager at WES

Caroline Pringle & Becci Barr introduce Lorna Slater & Hugh Dignon to the PLMA Wildlife Estates cluster.

Further Information

Read more about the PLMA Wildlife Estate Scotland cluster in the Pentland Hills here: PLMA + WES