Saturday, 27 February 2016

Peatland Management promoted in London

I was part of a delegation that briefed the Defra Minister, Rory Stewart, MP in London yesterday about peatland management and the application of the Peatland Code.  The others present included Edward van Cutsem (Mossdale Estate), Tom Surrey (Defra), Alex Lawson (Savills), Alastair Martin (Duchy of Cornwall), Roddy Gow (Canongate Partners + IUCN), Clifton Bain (IUCN), the Minister, Johnny Hughes (IUCN), Peter Nixon (National Trust).

The numbers about peatland are compelling: if 100,000ha of degraded peatland is restored, over 30 years the restoration work will result in a net reduction of about 30MT CO2 equiv of emissions to the atmosphere, at a cost in the region of £300m. These are scary numbers, but against the scenario of the Government's commitment to reducing CO2 emissions the figures represent a cost of £13.50 /T CO2 equiv removed.  When compared with the cost of reducing carbon emissions by other means, the peatland option becomes more attractive.

It has been a busy couple of days: on Thursday, we organised a briefing about the Moorland Forum's Understanding Predation project for MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. See the the Understanding Predation blog for details.  It is good that the Trust is getting into the 'corridors of power'.  We know that our ideas have value but this is of no benefit unless we tell people.  These sort of excursions allow us to get the HT message direct into the heart of policy formation.

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Understanding Predation Project - launched 8 February

Battleby Conference Centre
The Scottish Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Aileen McLeod, MSP, launched the Understanding predation report at the Battleby Conference Centre, near Perth on Monday.

This project was commissioned by the Scottish Government, supervised and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and delivered by Scotland's Moorland Forum.  I am the Director of the Forum and have also been the Project Manager.  It has been a huge effort to get the work done in the time available, but I think it has been worth it. 

Ian Ross (Chairman SNH) The Minister &
Lord Lindsay (Chairman, Moorland Forum)
If you would like to know more about the project and its findings there is much more information on the Moorland Forum's website and in the Understanding Predation project's blog.

From the Heather Trust's perspective, there are some important messages.  First, it is possible for people with local knowledge to work alongside scientists and to contribute equally to the discussions.  Second, a collaborative approach to issues can be very effective.  This is very much in line with the Trust's approach to 'promoting integrated moorland management'.  Every view should be treated with respect and every voice heard.

The project has produced a shared view of the issues and the next question will be how to apply this knowledge to the best effect.  The key point will be that it may take longer and be more expensive to adopt a collaborative approach, but the results are likely to be much more effective and longer lasting.