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A route map towards unlocking £1 billion of new investment for nature conservation in Scotland has been published by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). This work comes at a critical time as society plans a green recovery from the social and economic upheaval caused by Covid-19, and continues to respond to the urgent climate and ecological emergencies.
The route map, which was developed in collaboration with a broad coalition of stakeholders and experts over a period of two years, highlights nine tangible opportunities for investment that would contribute to a green recovery and result in significant benefits for nature, people’s health and wellbeing, and the nation’s economy. Crucially, the route map also includes models which aim to stimulate investment in Scotland’s natural capital by delivering a financial return to investors.
Attracting new investment into nature through innovative approaches to tried and tested mechanisms would also help Scotland to meet its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, and help bridge a gap between the resources needed to tackle urgent challenges facing nature and the funding available from traditional sources (1).
Jo Pike, Chief Executive, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “We have seen during the pandemic that when human beings put their minds to it, it is possible to mobilise action on an unprecedented scale. The urgent challenges facing nature now require a step change in our response and we need to learn from recent experience. Many people have been reminded of the importance of the natural world during lockdown, and there is growing support for ensuring that the recovery from this crisis helps build a better future instead of returning us to business as usual.
“It is increasingly clear that solving the nature crisis will only be possible if we can develop new and innovative funding mechanisms that help us take solutions to scale. Our route map aims to identify ways to generate greater investment in nature conservation, whilst also creating green jobs, more resilient communities and helping to fight climate change. We hope it will stimulate further discussion about how these new models can be at the heart of a green recovery.”
The route map is the culmination of the Scottish Conversation Finance Project’s £1 Billion Challenge. It has been developed with the support of a wide range of private, public and third sector organisations (“Scottish Conservation Finance Pioneers”), including Conservation Capital, Scottish Natural Heritage, Central Scotland Green Network Trust and many more.
Askham Bryan College’s Newton Rigg Campus in Cumbria is earmarked for closure in July 2021 after an independent review found the site is not financially viable.
The College’s governing body has decided to propose the closure of Newton Rigg after considering the findings of a Further Education Commissioner review of educational provision at the campus and in the wider area.
The closure proposal is subject to the outcome of a 45-day consultation process with 117 staff (79 full time equivalent roles) and the trade unions, which has started today – May 21st 2020.
The College will also be consulting individually with affected staff. Students, parents and carers, applicants, employers, local MPs, civic leaders and community groups are being informed of the proposal, made on May 18th 2020, this week. A final decision on whether or not the campus closes in July 2021 will be made following the completion of the statutory consultation in respect of College staff.
Tim Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Askham Bryan College, said: “We understand the strength of feeling about Newton Rigg and the fact this will be upsetting news to our staff, students and the local community.” He explained: “This has been a very difficult decision. We regret putting staff at risk of redundancy. However, the review has confirmed that the campus is not financially viable from the College’s perspective and would require ongoing investment to keep pace with industry skills.” He added: “Given the current economic climate, and the fact that no capital or revenue funding is available, we have no other option but to propose closing the facility in July 2021. We will do all we can to support our staff and students at this difficult time.”
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is calling on people to share their memorable stories and images of nature during lockdown.
In these unprecedented and difficult times, many people have reported finding solace in the natural world and being more interested in, and appreciative of, nature as our lives have slowed down with less travelling and more people walking and cycling daily.
In our quieter cities, towns and countryside there have been reports of unusual wildlife sightings – from a fox exploring Waverley station in Edinburgh to a deer perusing the shops in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street.
To celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22), SNH wants to hear people’s personal experiences of nature in lockdown, whether that is spotting something new you’ve never noticed before, unusual wildlife, changes to nature locally or finding a deeper connection with the natural world.
Gathering a people’s record of nature during lockdown will complement longer-term scientific research into our growing understanding of the state of nature and the forces influencing it.
Professor Des Thompson, SNH’s Principal Adviser on Science and Biodiversity, said: “The true impact of Coronavirus restrictions on nature will of course take some time to establish, and there are likely to be both positive and negative impacts. The overwhelming positive is that so many people seem to be noticing and connecting much more with nature, and we’d love to hear any unusual or interesting nature moments that the public have experienced during the lockdown. “We’ve heard stories of coastal waders benefiting from quieter beaches, roe deer moving closer to populated areas, mammals such as pine martens and badgers becoming more active during daytime and foxes and other urban wildlife moving about more in cities.
People can submit their stories and images to BIODIVERSITY@nature.scot. Please include a full name and location.
A full list of citizen science activities that can be enjoyed during lockdown can be found here.
£3.4 million in new projects to protect endangered species
Protected species across the globe including tigers, Asian elephants and chimpanzees have been given a boost today (Friday 22 May) as the government announces £3.4 million for new projects from the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Challenge Fund.
From today, the government is also inviting new projects to apply for the next round of funding.
The Illegal Wildlife Trade is a criminal industry worth more than £17 billion each year threatening wildlife, bringing species to the brink of extinction and causing despair for communities. The IWT Challenge Fund supports projects around the world that tackle the illegal wildlife trade by strengthening law enforcement, reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife products, and empowering people to shift away from trading illegal wildlife to more sustainable livelihoods.
The latest round of the Challenge Fund will fund important wildlife conservation projects across the globe, including five in Asia, two in Africa and South America respectively and one in Europe.
To date, the Challenge Fund has supported 85 projects to a value of more than £26 million.
International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith said: "I am delighted to announce this latest boost to our IWT Challenge Fund on the International Day of Biological Diversity. Our fund is driving change to protect illegally trafficked wildlife across the globe. We are committed to taking global leadership to protect the world’s most endangered species. The illegal wildlife trade brings misery to local communities and holds back development in some of the world’s poorest countries, and today marks another milestone in helping to end this vile trade and protect these amazing species for future generations."
A collapsed baby deer was ‘brought back to life’ with an oxygen mask after being rescued from a raging moor fire by firefighters and the RSPCA.
RSPCA inspector Daniel Bradshaw was called to moorland off Sand Lane, in Wroot, near Doncaster, on Wednesday afternoon (20 May) by fire crews who had been tackling the fire for three days.
He said: “There were eight fire engines and crews on the scene from across Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire trying to tackle the blaze. When they were fighting the flames they came across this tiny roe deer kid curled up in the shrubs and pulled her to safety but she soon collapsed and stopped breathing so they put an oxygen mask over her nose. The fire was huge and the crews did an incredible job getting this terrified little kid to safety and helping her when she was struggling to breathe. I’m certain they brought her back to life and without their quick-thinking actions she may well have perished.”
The fire, thought to have started naturally, had been burning since Sunday (17 May) across a vast area of Hatfield Moors.
Daniel collected the tiny kid and took her to a wildlife expert for emergency overnight boarding before she’s moved to the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire for specialist rehabilitation.
He added: “It looks as though she’s between three and seven days old and is unweaned. She was found right at the heart of the fire so I suspect mum has run away and she’s now been orphaned."
The kid will now be reared by staff at the charity’s wildlife centre before she is old enough to be released back into the wild.
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