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First Ever ‘People Parking Day’
A campaigner from North London is organising the first ever ‘People Parking Day’ in London on the weekend of 25 and 26 September to encourage people to sit and talk in a car parking space on their streets. The London Parklet Campaign, which is made up of volunteers, is working with the charity Living Streets London and IBikeLondon to encourage Londoners to take up part in the activities, being held just after World Car Free Day (22 September).
Brenda Puech came up with the idea of reclaiming some parking spaces for community use while recovering from a serious collision when she was knocked off her bike by a motorist who ran a red light. After being refused permission she set up a guerilla parklet outside her home in London Fields. The ‘People Parking Bay’ was a patch of artificial grass with flowerpots, a bench and a sign that read ‘You’re welcome to park yourself on the bay.’ Sadly the council removed it.
The London Parklet Campaign is calling on the Mayor and borough leaders to allow Londoners to apply to create ‘parklets’ in the streets where they live, with an aim to have a parklet on every street.
Brenda Puech, a founder of the London Parklets Campaign, said: “I want every Londoner whether they own a car or not to have access to these public spaces. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a private garden so providing social spaces close to people’s homes is essential. We can really improve our environment and wellbeing if we reclaim these areas as spaces to sit and socialise, and make London the parklet capital of the world. ”
30-year project joins prestigious European group of awe-inspiring rewilding areas
An ambitious 30-year landscape-scale rewilding initiative to link up a majestic sweep of the Scottish Highlands as one vast nature recovery area connecting Loch Ness to Scotland’s west coast has been launched by charity Trees for Life, and joins a select group of prestigious European rewilding areas.
The Affric Highlands initiative follows three years of consultation between Rewilding Europe, Trees for Life, and other local partners and stakeholders.
It will restore nature across a network of landholdings potentially covering an area of over 500,000 acres stretching from Loch Ness across the central Highlands to Kintail in the west, and encompassing Glens Cannich, Affric, Moriston and Shiel.
Trees for Life has brought together a broad coalition of landowners, communities and others to boost habitat connectivity, species diversity, and social and economic opportunities in the region, while tackling climate breakdown.
With community involvement and partnership working central to the project, a diverse group of 20 landowners covering at least 25% of the total area and six organisations are already on board, with hopes that more will join. Work is underway to further involve local people, with practical action to connect areas of rewilding land due to begin in 2023.
Because engaging and involving stakeholders from the beginning is crucial to the success of any rewilding initiative, Rewilding Europe has been working with Trees for Life to lay the foundations for this over the past three years – including through meetings with over 50 local stakeholders, drawing on experience from other major rewilding sites across Europe, and a scoping study.
As well as connecting habitats, Affric Highlands will bring people together to help nature recover, and strengthen connections between communities and the wildlife on their doorsteps.
Forest rewilding has been at the root of Trees for Life’s work for three decades. The charity has so far established nearly two million native trees to restore the unique and globally important Caledonian Forest at its own 10,000 acre estate at Dundreggan in Glenmoriston, and at dozens of other sites in the Highlands, including Glen Affric.
In 2023, Dundreggan will become home to the world’s first Rewilding Centre – showcasing how large-scale nature recovery can give people amazing experiences, create jobs and benefit local communities.
Rewilding Europe says this work in the Highlands has been a beacon of hope for reversing declines in habitat and wildlife that have left vast swathes of Scotland overgrazed, treeless, denuded, drained and over-managed, to the point that little remains unmodified by humans.
A new vision that will place communities at the centre of efforts to manage deer on publicly owned land in Scotland will be unveiled today (24 September) by a partnership of eleven leading deer management stakeholders.
The partnership aims to institutionalise what is being described as ‘community integrated deer management’ by establishing more opportunities for trained recreational deer stalkers to manage deer on publicly owned land in their local area.
In Scotland nearly 6,400 people hold the deer stalking certificate 1 (the introductory deer management qualification), while over 2,100 individuals hold the more advanced deer stalking certificate.
Despite having an estimated deer population of one million, many trained recreational deer stalkers in Scotland struggle to access deer management opportunities locally. This is especially true for those living near publicly owned land, where permissions are described as being ‘out of reach’ for recreational stalkers.
The organisations argue that current public expenditure on deer management contractors is ‘needlessly expensive’, and that utilising trained recreational deer stalkers would slash costs if they were afforded a more enhanced role in their local area. In 2019, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) – which manages approximately 9% of Scotland’s land area – expended £10.5 million on deer management contracts and just under £5 million on fencing.
The partnership is urging the Scottish Government to establish a pilot community deer stalking scheme on FLS land, in which a local recreational deer stalking syndicate would pay a small fee to take on the deer management obligations. It is envisaged that the harvested venison would be sold and consumed locally, thus reducing the overall carbon footprint.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) – the co-ordinating partner behind the vision – has pledged to support the syndicate, act as the liaison with FLS and develop replicable operating mechanisms so that other schemes can be established in the future.
The vision – entitled ‘Our Deer’ – will be launched at the Scottish Game Fair today (Friday 24 September). It outlines six recommendations for the Scottish Government to consider, as well as five commitments that will be honoured by the partnership.
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