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A round up of the top countryside, conservation, wildlife and forestry stories as chosen by the CJS Team.


Bird Photographer of The Year logoBird Photographer of The Year: Winners announced - BTO 

The British Trust for Ornithology in partnership with Nature Photographers Ltd is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Bird Photographer of the Year (BPOTY) competition for 2015. The announcements were made at BirdFair 2016 during a packed awards ceremony held in the main events marquee and hosted by BTO President and competition head judge, Chris Packham. 

Congratulations go to Andy Parkinson from Matlock in Derbyshire for his unusual and imaginative image of a Mute Swan which united the judges in their admiration. Andy takes the winning prize of £5,000 and the title of Bird Photographer of the Year. A jubilant Andy comments, “Winning the overall title of Bird Photographer of the Year is a massive honour for me and is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career. The standard of entries was exceptionally high and I count myself extremely lucky that the judges chose my image as the overall winner. I always strive in my photography to try and produce genuinely unique images, revealing familiar subjects in different ways, and to show that there is always a new image and unique angle. This is achieved by spending months or years working with local subjects, building an encyclopaedic knowledge of behaviour, light and perspective. I’m delighted that my endeavours have been so generously rewarded.”

Although BPOTY clearly sets out to showcase the stunning photographic capture of birds, its aims are far wider. The competition will directly benefit many of the ‘subjects’ of the images by generating income for British Trust for Ornithology’s conservation research; it further helps to promote the Trust by extending its profile beyond its current reach. But it works the other way too. BPOTY aims to promote the artistry of bird photography and the photographers themselves to the wider ornithological community, giving them the opportunity to have their work published and recognised through the competition book, associated merchandise and exhibition.


Six National Park projects shortlisted for prestigious Park Protector Award - Campaign for National Parks

Throughout England and Wales, there are projects that are having a significant impact on preserving the beauty, cultural heritage and biodiversity of our 13 National Parks. Six of these fantastic projects have been shortlisted for the Campaign for National Parks’ Park Protector Award

This Award recognises, rewards and celebrates exceptional projects that are making a lasting contribution to the protection, restoration or conservation of the National Parks of England and Wales. It is generously sponsored by Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust.

The projects have been shortlisted by the judging panel from 26 excellent nominations, all of which are ensuring local communities are involved in looking after National Parks. The winning project will be announced in October and receive a £2,000 grant.

Caroline Quentin, our new President said, “Learning about all of the fantastic projects happening across the National Parks has been a wonderful way to start as President. These projects are the perfect demonstration of how much people care about National Parks and want to improve them for the future.”

Jeremy Colls from the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust added, “The impressive projects showcase a great variety of the work being done in National Parks. The overriding message is the remarkable level of volunteer commitment that is evident among the groups taking part. Many people really do care about maintaining and improving our rural environment, and convert their passion into action to achieve tangible results.”

The shortlist

  • Arun and Rother Connections Project – South Downs National Park
  • Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch – South Downs National Park
  • Fen Raft Spider Project – The Broads
  • Heritage at Risk – Northumberland National Park
  • Path Watchers Volunteer Group – Exmoor National Park
  • Wyddfa Lân/ Snowdon Tidy Initiative – Snowdonia National Park


Rare cranes fledge in view of passing commuters - RSPB

Cranes are some of the UK’s rarest breeding birds – so rare in fact that to most people it would be news that these exotic-looking birds can be seen in this country at all. With just 25 pairs of cranes breeding in the UK each year – give or take – it is hardly surprising that few people will have ever seen one in the wild themselves.

Adult cranes at Lakenheath. Six cranes fledged on RSPB reserves in the Fens this year. (Image: Andy Hay, RSPB)Adult cranes at Lakenheath. Six cranes fledged on RSPB reserves in the Fens this year. (Image: Andy Hay, RSPB)

It is no wonder then that staff and volunteers at RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve on the border of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, are over the moon that this summer: for the second year running, two pairs of cranes have successfully raised three crane chicks between them on the reserve.

To top it off, these scarce birds, which are very shy and secretive during the breeding season, have done it all in front of an audience of commuters on the Abellio Greater Anglia route between Norwich and Ely.

Lakenheath Fen Site Manager, Dave Rogers said: “Our two pairs of crane parents have done us proud. We put a lot of effort into creating a great home for them here at Lakenheath Fen and they have repaid us by raising a total of three chicks between them for the second year running. The fact that people have been able to spot them from the train as it passes the reserve has only added to the excitement."


Concerns over planned Coul Links golf course - Scottish Wildlife Trust

The Trust has expressed serious concerns about plans for a golf course at Coul Links near Embo in Sutherland. 

Our Chief Executive Jonathan Hughes said: "It’s almost inconceivable the proposal has got this far. This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, an EU Special Protection Area for birds and one of the few remaining stretches of coastline around the Dornoch Firth retaining a wild landscape feel.   Allowing another sand dune SSSI to go the way of the benighted Trump development at Menie Links would be an unforgiveable and tragic loss of a protected area. The Scottish Wildlife Trust will do all it can to ensure this special place is protected for future generations."

Find out more about our concerns about the proposed golf course at Coul Links 


Caroline Quentin joins Campaign for National Parks as President - Campaign for National Parks

On becoming President of Campaign for National Parks, Caroline Quentin said, “I’m thrilled and excited to be working with this important charity. I think National Parks are a valuable national asset and I want to encourage everyone to use them and enjoy them. They need to be protected for future generations.” 

Caroline Quentin lives just outside Exmoor National Park in the South West and has always loved the outdoors and countryside.

The Parks contain some of our most beautiful countryside, treasured heritage and rare wildlife. And 90% of people say National Parks are important to them. However, since they were first created in the 1950s, damaging planning proposals for mines, roads and other large scale developments have been allowed to go ahead, chipping away at their protected status.

Speaking about the challenges National Parks faced, Caroline continued, “They need to remain relevant. I don’t think they should be pickled in aspic. The Parks need to change with the times so they meet the needs of our children and our children’s children. During my time as President, my mission will be to make the National Parks even more beautiful, lived in and loved than they are now.”


Great news for autumn lovers - experts predict a dazzling display this year! - Forestry Commission

This year we can expect a feast for our eyes as early as mid-September with impressive displays of vibrant autumn colours predicted by Forestry Commission England. This is great news for those who wish to give their wellbeing a boost before the winter months, with 96% of people saying that beautiful autumn colours improve their mood in a recent survey!

Japanese maples displaying stunning autumn colour on Pheasant Ride, Alice Holt Forest (image: Forestry Commssion)Japanese maples displaying stunning autumn colour on Pheasant Ride, Alice Holt Forest (image: Forestry Commssion)

Many of us were left feeling soggy at the start of the year and data from the Met Office confirms that parts of England experienced a wet spring, with rainfall 30% above average in the east and south.  However, rain twinned with plenty of sunshine is a promising recipe for a spectacular show of seasonal colour in England’s woods and forests. Perfect for the 68% of you that voted autumn as your favourite season in a recent survey carried out by Forestry Commission England.

Andrew Smith, the Forestry Commission’s Director at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire explains:  “The abundance of rain we experienced in spring, coupled with above average sunshine has meant a great growing season for trees as it allows them to build up plenty of sugars in their leaves. It is these sugars that produce the rich autumnal colours when they are absorbed back into the tree to help them survive winter.  Autumn’s foliage displays are certainly affected by the weather and this year we have our fingers crossed that it should be good for producing a great autumnal colour display. It will depend a bit on the weather in September but the ground work has been laid for a good show.” 


New badger cull imminent: The Wildlife Trusts call for end to flawed policy - Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts will oppose any decision by Natural England to grant new licences for culling badgers and will call on the Government and the newly appointed Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom, to overrule and reverse this decision immediately.

Paul Wilkinson, The Wildlife Trusts’ Head of Living Landscapes, says:  “The Wildlife Trusts believe that the control of Bovine TB in cattle should be the main focus of everyone’s efforts to control this problem. The evidence shows that badgers are not the primary culprits in the spread of TB in cattle: the primary route of infection is via cow-to-cow contact. A vaccine for cattle should be a priority. The Government has failed to develop one for TB. UK Cattle are already vaccinated for up to 16 diseases* - why should TB be different?”

Paul Wilkinson continues: “Opinion polls clearly show that the public is overwhelmingly against the killing of badgers and it is an extremely costly for the taxpayer and poor value for money. The 2013-14 culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset cost the taxpayer more than £4.9 million in policing costs. This is equivalent to the annual salary costs of over 120 police officers over a two-year period. The results of the previous badger culls indicate that this policy is flawed and unsupported by the evidence. Culling has been shown to be more expensive, less effective than other Bovine TB (bTB) control mechanisms and the free-shooting of badgers has been shown to be an inhumane method of killing.”


UK public overwhelmingly back EU rules to protect bees and nature, YouGov survey reveals - Friends of the Earth

The British public are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping or strengthening EU rules that protect our natural environment - including Britain’s under-threat bees - a new YouGov survey for Friends of the Earth published today reveals.

The environmental campaign group is calling on the UK Government to guarantee that its Brexit strategy won’t lead to a weakening of environmental protections.

The YouGov survey revealed:

  • 83% said Britain should pass laws providing a higher (46%) or the same (37%) level of protection for wild areas and wildlife species than current EU laws. Only 4% want lower protection. 
  • 57% said British farming subsidies should put either more (25%) or the same (32%) emphasis on environmental protection than the current EU subsidies do. Only 7% said British farming subsidies should put less emphasis on protecting the environment.
  • 81% want to keep an EU ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that have been found to pose a threat to bees, with only 5% saying it should end.

The survey also revealed that those who voted to leave the EU were also strongly in favour of maintaining or increasing the protection for nature that is currently provided by EU legislation, and linking farming subsidies to environment protection.

See the results in full (PDF)


Rights of Way Report released - Exmoor National Park

Recent surveys show that 93% of Exmoor National Park’s public rights of way are open and easy to use. The surveys are carried out by volunteers following nationally agreed criteria.

Ceri Rapsey, rights of way support officer says: “Our Rangers and Field Services Team have been working hard to improve the rating and the result shows a continued increase over recent years. We are very grateful to our fantastic volunteers who help us to survey the paths. Our rights of way network is one of the special features of Exmoor and is key to unlocking the immense potential for outdoor recreation within the National Park.  Along with our Access Land and permitted access, it offers unrivalled access on foot, horseback or bicycle for everyone to enjoy.”

The definitive rights of way network extends to almost 1,000km/621 miles, comprising footpaths 438km/272m miles, bridleways 464km/288 miles and Restricted Byways and Byways Open to All Traffic 64km/40 miles within the National Park. In addition to this there are 376km/233 miles of permitted paths and 18,000ha of Access Land.

Access the full The Rights of Way & Access Annual Report 2015/16.


Schoolboy’s work on grouse moor lands inaugural BASC award - British Association for Shooting and Conservation

A schoolboy from Dumfriesshire has won BASC’s first Young Shot Conservation Award after building a bird hide to show visitors how good moorland management benefits biodiversity.

James Farrer, 16, was working as part of the Making the Most of Moorlands Project on the Langholm grouse moor. James also set up a number of feeders and boxes for various bird species and helped raise funds for the project with a sponsored walk.

James said: “I was delighted to win the award. I am interested in conservation and hope to have a future career in land management and conservation. I also wanted to increase the public’s understanding of moorland biodiversity and how gamekeepers look after the environment.”

Ian Danby, BASC’s head of biodiversity, said: “The intention of this competition was to motivate young conservationists and was prompted by an idea from our Young Shot Ambassadors, so it is extremely gratifying to see it succeed. These youngsters, who are the future of conservation and shooting, should be congratulated for their hard work.”


Good news for two RSPB Reserves:

One: RSPB nature reserve another step closer to becoming largest of its kind in the UK

A recent handover of land has set an RSPB reserve on the way to becoming the UK’s largest created reedbed, thanks to a groundbreaking 30-year partnership project between the RSPB and construction materials company Hanson. 

Hanson has handed over a further 96 hectares of land to the RSPB, transforming a sand and gravel extraction site into a wildlife-rich wetland. This is part of an ambitious project to create a 700 hectare nature reserve at Ouse Fen in Cambridgeshire through restoration of quarried land to wildlife habitat. It is the largest planned nature conservation restoration scheme of its kind in Europe.  

The new nature reserve is already providing a lifeline for bitterns, a rare bird that came close to extinction in 1997, with 10 'booming' males present at Ouse Fen in 2015 - twice as many as expected. The new land will double the size of Ouse Fen, making it cover 218 hectares, which is larger than 200 football pitches, and will provide a much larger area for bitterns and other scarce species such as marsh harriers, otters and water voles to thrive.

Once complete, the site will incorporate eastern England’s largest reedbed, recreating some of the extremely rare habitat which has almost been lost in Britain over the last 400 years. The site has the potential to be of international importance for reedbed wildlife, supporting some of the largest populations of bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers in the UK.


Two: RSPB given exciting new role in Budby South Forest

The RSPB will now take on an important new role in the management of Budby South Forest from 1 August.

Natural England, who until now had been overseeing the management of the site in partnership with the RSPB and Thoresby Estate, has now transferred full management responsibilities to the RSPB, entrusting it to continue to care for the site’s precious wildlife and ensure people remain physically and emotionally inspired by the heathland.

The heathland is a unique home for nature, and forms half of the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (NNR). The open habitat is home to protected and sensitive birds such as nightjars, yellowhammers and woodlarks. Bare sandy soil provides egg-laying habitat for bees, wasps and black oil beetles, and acts as basking and feeding areas for common lizards. Sherwood’s last remaining herd of wild red deer is occasionally glimpsed on the open heath.

Budby South Forest is one of the few areas of Open Access Land in Nottinghamshire. By continuing the management of this exceptional site, the RSPB will be able to ensure good levels of access to the heathland for the public whilst also providing a secure home for nature. The RSPB is also leading a consortium of partners who will take on the conservation management of Sherwood Forest Country Park in 2018.


MPs urge Government to ban microbeads in cosmetics - Environmental Audit Committee 

Cosmetic companies should be banned from using plastic microbeads in bathroom products - like exfoliating scrubs, toothpaste and shaving gel - because of the marine pollution they are causing, the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee has demanded.

Environmental Audit Committee Chair Mary Creagh MP: "Trillions of tiny pieces of plastic are accumulating in the world's oceans, lakes and estuaries, harming marine life and entering the food chain. The microbeads in scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes are an avoidable part of this plastic pollution problem. A single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean.  Cosmetic companies' voluntary approach to phasing out plastic microbeads simply won't wash. We need a full legal ban, preferably at an international level as pollution does not respect borders.  If this isn't possible after our vote to leave the EU, then the Government should introduce a national ban. The best way to reduce this pollution is to prevent plastic being flushed into the sea in the first place."

Microplastic pollution comes from the fragmentation of larger pieces of plastic waste, small synthetic fibres from clothing and the microbeads used in cosmetics and other products. It is estimated that as much as 86 tonnes of microplastics is released into the environment every year in the UK from facial exfoliants alone.

Most large cosmetics companies have made voluntary commitments to phase out microbeads by 2020. However, the Committee found that a legislative ban would have advantages for consumers and the industry in terms of consistency, universality and confidence. The Committee would like to see a national ban on microbeads by the end of 2017.


View the interactive report summary

Read the report conclusions and recommendations

Read the full report: Environmental impact of microplastics


Response: MPs recommend a ban on microbeads - joint statement by the Marine Conservation Society, Environmental Investigation Agency, Fauna & Flora International, and Greenpeace UK

An estimated eight million tonnes of plastic goes into our seas every year – and microbeads in household products including face scrubs, toothpastes and detergents are a part of this problem. There was already huge public support for a ban on microbeads – with over 300,000 people backing our campaign – and now there’s political support which crosses party boundaries.

As a coalition of organisations sounding the alarm about the harm that microbeads can cause to marine life and our oceans, and even potentially to human health, it’s great that the Environmental Audit Committee has heard that loud and clear.

With companies dragging their feet on this issue, it’s now time for Theresa May’s Government to take comprehensive action on this crucial issue by banning any microplastics in household products whichcould end up going down the drain and into our seas.

Crucially, any legislation must be fully comprehensive to avoid the loopholes we have seen in company commitments. By removing these loopholes, the UK could show genuine environmental leadership and go beyond the US microbeads ban, which has various limitations around which types of ingredient and product it applies to.


Project gives rural economy a boost - Natural Resources Wales

A £10.8m project to boost the Welsh economy and create jobs through its landscape and wildlife has delivered impressive results.

The Communities and Nature (CAN) project was managed initially by the Countryside Council for Wales and later Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The project invited ideas from the Welsh environment sector to develop visitor infrastructure and attractions in the Welsh countryside whilst simultaneously allowing more disadvantaged groups to benefit through employment, training and volunteering opportunities.    Many of the ideas selected not only enhanced existing facilities and created new ones but also created sustainable jobs and small rural businesses.

Helga Dixon, CAN Project Officer for NRW, said: “It has been incredible to see how staff at Welsh wildlife and countryside attractions have been able to devise new features and build business enterprises on the back of them with only a little stimulation, advice and funding from us. Even more amazing has been the opportunities given to the unemployed and disadvantaged groups to work and learn new skills. We made it a condition of funding that each project had to include such opportunities, and it was left with the project managers to develop. That proved to be a good move as it allowed people to come up with a wide variety of creative solutions.”

In total CAN helped create 31 new jobs, 11 new business enterprises, opened up 440 kilometres of paths and led to more than 1.7m visits to the Welsh countryside. 


Report shows Scotland's seal numbers rise - Scottish Natural Heritage

Harbour seal numbers around Scotland’s coast have increased over the last five years following years of decline, according to survey results published today (Thursday 25/8) by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Harbour seal (image: © SNH/Lorne Gill)Harbour seal (image: © SNH/Lorne Gill)

However, the latest counts continue to show a clear east – west divide in fortunes for the protected species.

Scotland-wide August seal surveys are carried out over an approximate five-year cycle on behalf of SNH by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews. The latest report presents results of 2015 surveys carried out in Shetland, the Moray Firth, the Firth of Tay and on Scotland’s southern coasts, completing the current round-Scotland survey that started in 2011.

John Baxter, Principle Marine Adviser with SNH, said: “It’s great to hear that harbour seal numbers on the west coast are doing so well but it’s of real concern that numbers on the east coast remain at historical lows. It’s still not clear what’s causing the decline but we’re continuing to work with colleagues at Marine Scotland and SMRU to try to get a better understanding of what is going on. These surveys are important to help monitor seal numbers and inform whatever management decisions are taken to help protect the harbour seals. This year (2016) we will be surveying Orkney, where numbers have been declining for a number of years, and the east coast of Scotland, as part of a three-year programme to cover the whole of the Scottish coastline.” 

Access the report: SNH Commissioned Report 929: Surveys of harbour and grey seals on the south-east (border to Aberlady Bay) and south-west (Sound of Jura to Solway Firth) coasts of Scotland, in Shetland, in the Moray Firth and in the Firth of Tay in August 2015 


New research into mountain wind farms identifies major risk to visitor economy - Mountaineering Scotland

Mountaineering Scotland has quantified the impact wind farms located in mountain landscapes have on hill-walking behaviour for the first time. In a survey of members, over two thirds (67%) stated that they prefer not to see wind farms when in the mountains and 22% said that they avoided areas with wind farms when planning their activities.

Mountaineering Scotland has published a report into the impact wind farms have on the behaviour of mountaineers and hill walkers as part of the evidence base the organisation uses when opposing the small number of wind farm planning applications that it believes would cause irreparable damage to Scottish mountain landscapes if allowed to go ahead.

Over 1400 Mountaineering Scotland members, mostly hill-walkers, responded to a survey which sought their views on a range of subjects, including the organisation’s policy on protecting mountain landscapes from insensitive developments. The 23% of members who avoid areas with wind farms or go less often compares with just 2% who said they were encouraged to visit the mountains more often because of wind farms.

Mountaineering Scotland Chief Executive, David Gibson said “This survey gives us some important evidence about the real impact wind farms in inappropriate mountain locations can have on the behaviour of hill walkers and potentially other mountain users – but the impact goes more widely than this. If hill walkers avoid visiting areas affected by wind development then local communities will lose the money hill walking visitors bring to shops, places to stay and other visitor-related businesses. A 20% reduction in hill walkers could easily make the difference between profit and loss for small enterprises in mountain areas across Scotland.”

David continues, “Hill-walkers are likely to be particularly sensitive consumers of landscape. They are therefore a barometer in terms of identifying wider tourism impacts from wind farms. Mountain recreation is a significant tourism market in Scotland. Walking tourism was estimated to bring in £627m to the Scottish economy in 2008 – more than all other nature-based tourism combined – and 15% of all tourism spend.”

This is the only survey which has ever asked Scottish hill walkers and mountaineers how wind farms impact on their current mountaineering activities. In a previous survey in 2013-14, 56% of members anticipated avoiding areas with wind farms in the future.

Download the full report into wind farms and mountaineering behaviour (PDF)


Farmland failings - Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust 

Today (Thursday 25/8) the Government released figures that find the life ebbing away from the English countryside.

Many of DEFRA’s natural environment indicators are showing positive trends – carbon, air quality, connection with nature – but the picture in our farmland is one of biodiversity desertification.

  • In 2014, the breeding farmland bird index in England reached its second lowest recorded level, 56% lower than its level in 1970.
  • Breeding wetland birds in England declined by 10% between 2008 and 2013.Since 1990, butterfly numbers on farmland have fallen by 27%, reaching a historical low point in 2012. The trend has shown a significant decline since 2009.

The number of surface water bodies in good condition fell from 25% in 2010 to just 20% last year. Much of this deterioration can be attributed to pollution—pesticides, fertiliser, sewage and slurry—seeping from farmland into our water supplies.

This is not to say that farmers are not good custodians of the land. Many invest in their land with love and care, nurturing nature wherever they can.
But the pressures of farm production are pushing our countryside to the brink. Mixed farming systems are disappearing, sowing patterns are changing to maximise profit and important habitats are gradually being uprooted in favour of farmland conformity.

Brexit brings uncertainty for protection of our natural world, but one clear opportunity is the chance to jettison the relics of the post-war production paradigm that have been locked into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for so long. It is time to design an Environment, Landscape and Food policy that will deliver food security and help make us rich in nature.

As part of the EU, we receive about £4bn every year for farming subsidies. It is time to redirect that money to reward farmers for the full range of services they deliver—looking after our soil, air, water, landscapes and wildlife. No longer should the lion’s share of subsidy be linked to land-holding. Instead, we should ensure that we make the polluter pay and that those who provide public goods are paid.


Natural health service: older people could benefit from green prescriptions - James Hutton Institute

Green prescribing by doctors and other health professionals could be a valuable way of helping older people reap the benefits of outdoor recreation. The idea is among a number of recommendations contained in a new report commissioned by the Scottish Government and authored by James Hutton Institute social researchers, examining the barriers older people face getting out and about.

Outdoor activity has been shown to be beneficial for physical and mental health and wellbeing, but older people are less likely to take part.

Speaking on a visit to a Forest Enterprise Scotland project for elderly people with dementia in Falkirk, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland has a spectacular natural environment and I want to ensure that its many health and social benefits can be enjoyed by young and old alike. This research shines a light on the barriers faced by older people and identifies a number of ways of maximising opportunities for outdoor recreation in both rural and urban areas. There is already a whole host of activities available across Scotland, such as local walking groups or this excellent Forest Enterprise Scotland project, which are aimed at increasing access to our great outdoors. Earlier this week I was also delighted to confirm the Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund is now open to applicants, which is one way we’re helping communities to develop accessible greenspace that is close to people’s homes. We want to make the most of our ‘natural health service’ and so the Scottish Government will now look at these recommendations very carefully with our delivery partners including Forest Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and local authorities.”

John Nugent, Senior Medical Officer, Scottish Government said: “The benefits of exercise are well documented, but it can sometimes be a challenge to find a form of exercise that is both enjoyable and readily available. Using Scotland’s ‘natural gym’ to walk, run or cycle, is an ideal way for all ages to combine exercise with an appreciation of Scotland’s natural beauty.”

Dr Margaret Currie, from the James Hutton Institute's Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group and co-author of the report, said: “We have been able to identify a number of potential interventions, such as green prescribing which should be integrated with existing initiatives like health walks that offer opportunities for overcoming social and motivational barriers. It may be useful to tailor interventions to suit people of different abilities and preferences, and to target people at key moments of life change such as retirement, or friends or spouses passing away.”

Access the report: Access to outdoor recreation by older people in Scotland


Scientific Publications

Correll, M. D., Wiest, W. A., Hodgman, T. P., Shriver, W. G., Elphick, C. S., McGill, B. J., O'Brien, K. M. and Olsen, B. J. (2016), Predictors of specialist avifaunal decline in coastal marshes. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12797


Alexandra Bähring, Andreas Fichtner, Karin Ibe, Gudrun Schütze, Vicky M. Temperton, Goddert von Oheimb, Werner Härdtle, Ecosystem functions as indicators for heathland responses to nitrogen fertilisation, Ecological Indicators, Volume 72, January 2017, Pages 185-193, ISSN 1470-160X, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.08.013.


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