The Highland Biodiversity Partnership has just launched an Agreement (PDF, 1364 Kb) setting out its aims and working procedures, which has been signed by all 30 members.
The Partnership was set up to provide guidance and support to a network of local biodiversity groups, and make progress on the key strategic biodiversity issues in Highland.
Funding has been secured to help the Partnership’s network of local groups undertake wildlife projects across the Highlands. Over the next three years, £100,000 will be spent on a capacity building project to help local biodiversity groups in Caithness, Sutherland, Wester Ross, Ross & Cromarty (East), Skye & Lochalsh, Lochaber, and Inverness & Nairn.
Highland Councillor Audrey Sinclair who chairs the Highland Biodiversity Partnership said: “The groups are very dependant on the goodwill of volunteers and local council and agency staff. This project will help them broaden their membership and build their capacity by raising awareness and spreading good practice. It will help the groups identify and work up new projects that help local people understand, safeguard, restore and celebrate biodiversity in their area.”
The capacity building project is funded with assistance from the Highland LEADER 2007-13 Programme, The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and RSPB Scotland.
Councillor Sinclair added: “The groups are already all working on projects ranging from biodiversity competitions and growing native trees in primary schools in the north, to wildlife counts projects and green space audits in the south; from the control of invasive, non-native species in the west, to the provision of advice on improving habitats for grey partridge to farmers in the east.”
These projects form the ‘Communities Project for Highland Biodiversity’ which is a three year programme put together by the Highland Biodiversity Partnership to provide funding for 24 local projects. It is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and receives match funding from Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and RSPB Scotland.
Anyone wishing to get involved should contact biodiversity officers Janet Bromham or Jonathan Willet at the Council headquarters in Inverness (tel: 01463 702274), or visit the website www.highlandbiodiversity.com for more information.
Notes for Editors:
Biodiversity is short for “biological diversity”, or the variety of plants and animals in the world.
The word “biodiversity” came from the “Earth Summit” held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, where 159 countries (including Britain) recognised the value of biodiversity to human life and signed the Convention on Biological Diversity. This pledges the UK to conserve biodiversity, to use its components in a way that ensures they continue to be available for future generations, and to share the benefits of biodiversity fairly and equitably between all nations and people. This way of using resources is an integral part of the philosophy of sustainable development, whereby any development should ensure that it does not deprive the quality of life of future generations.
The UK Government commissioned a detailed set of recommendations on how the Convention on Biological Diversity should be implemented, known as the “UK Biodiversity Action Plan”. This includes lists of habitats and species which are considered to be the ones most in need of conservation in the UK. Action plans have subsequently been drawn up for these habitats and species, focusing particularly on national objectives.
Recently, The Scottish Executive passed the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, which places a duty upon public bodies to further the conservation of biodiversity. The Executive has also produced The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and a series of implementation plans that suggest ways of furthering the conservation of biodiversity at a Scotland-wide level.
Since the Highland Biodiversity Project was started in 2002, over £300,000 has been spent on biodiversity action and planning in Highland. This has delivered seven Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs), 65 projects and over 100 events across the seven LBAP areas. The Highland Biodiversity Partnership is currently funding 24 local projects worth a total of £100,000, and is seeking further funding for larger strategic biodiversity issues.