SUP Newsletter Spring 2015

The SUP AGM takes place at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel in Moffat at 2pm on the 1st July. Members will hear from Nic Coombey and Chimwemwe Chagunda about the Biosphere project which is at an exciting stage of development. Wendy Fenton has joined the team as part-time Natural Heritage Officer and she will be working with Emily Taylor from the Crichton Carbon Centre who will be doing work in the Biosphere alongside her Peatland Restoration work. On top of that Ed has just been out in Estonia at the biannual  EuroMAB Biosphere conference where biospheres from all around Europe gather together to learn from each other and influence international developments linked to the network of biospheres. He’ll be able to share a few observations about what is happening on other Biospheres around Europe and in Estonia.

Wild Spring
 2015 has come and gone, but the Borders Nature Festival is in full swing (see details). We are looking forward to the new LEADER programme opening later in the year. We hope to get a project officer in post to further develop the website, engage with businesses and to ensure that 2016 is a great year for rural tourism in South Scotland.

Thanks to funds provided by Scottish Borders Council as part of the habitat mitigation for local windfarms, we carried out another survey of the black grouse in the Borders this spring. Numbers continue to decline, despite the SRDP targeting efforts at conserving the species. We are now working with partners to produce a strategy that will try to stop the decline by further targeting resources at key sites.

We have been discussing land “designations” such as National Nature Reserves, National Scenic Areas, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Dark Sky Parks, Wild Land areas, Forest Parks, and the Biosphere Reserve all of which reflect the high quality of our natural heritage. We do not have a World Heritage Site or a National Parks, but both have been proposed. Do such designations benefit the local economy? Could they do more and, if so, what do we need to do to unlock the potential? We plan to hold two events later this year on this subject.  Watch out for news of these.

There have been several attempts to improve broadband coverage to remoter communities in the Southern Uplands, some more successful than others. As the national superfast broadband network is rolled-out to 95% of premises, it is becoming clearer who will be left out. We will be working with Community Broadband Scotland on a project to help the “Ettrick and beyond” area to get themselves connected. The area includes parts of both Borders and D&G and our role will be to establish the level of demand ahead of inviting contractors to provide an appropriate service.

Southwest Scotland’s Coastal Trail continues to develop, with the North Rhins now surveyed and agreements being signed by landowners to establish a path from Stranraer to Portpatrick. In association with work done through SUP on the South Rhins this will provide D&G council will all the information required to put together a funding package for the  whole path. It’s still expected to be 12 – 18 months before the funding is completed and work can begin on the ground.

The Southern Uplands Partnership has already signed up to the Biosphere Charter. By doing so it is demonstrating that it is proud to be a supporter of the Biosphere designation and is playing its part in promoting and developing the sustainability of the area.

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is for everyone, it brings no new constraints or regulations, so its aims can only be achieved by people wanting to work together to improve our way of life.

The Biosphere Partnership has ambitious goals and wants as many people as possible to share an enthusiasm for this special place by agreeing with the six principles of the Biosphere Charter.
The six principles of the Biosphere are:

  • Help conserve the natural resources of the Biosphere
  • Support the economy to benefit people and nature
  • Promote cultural heritage and local products
  • Contribute to health and wellbeing of the community
  • Develop knowledge, understanding and research
  • Raise awareness of the Galloway and southern Ayrshire Biosphere

Find out more here:

We believe that the more supporters who sign up to the six Biosphere principles the greater the benefits will be. This Biosphere is an international UNESCO designation and by providing a distinctive badge associated with this special place we can help promote the best environments and local products and services. Using the badge will help others recognise and understand the high quality of our environment and the more we understand the more we will want to care for our surroundings. Together we will make life better for people and for nature.

Sign up for the Biosphere e-newsletter here:

Karen Ramoo has worked for Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels Project based in Lindean Mill for several years, but has now moved on to work for Scottish Natural Heritage. We wish her well in her new post and already miss her presence at Lindean! It reminds us that we have a spare desk here and, if Karen’s replacement does not need a desk here – we will have 2 free places. If you know of anyone wanting a friendly work space, please let them know we may be able to accommodate them?

We are about to contact everyone on our database about membership subscriptions so look out for an email. Our AGM takes place on 1st July in Moffat and only subscribers will be able to attend and vote on SUP business.

There are two new job opportunities within Foundation Scotland’s South Scotland team.
The closing date for both posts is Friday 26th June.

See for further info.

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