SUP Newsletter – Winter 2011/12

A thankfully mild, though awfully wet, winter so far sees us busy keeping our various ‘plates spinning’ (I have to say I’m glad to no longer be in farming, waiting for crisp, frosty days to get slurry on the fields without poaching the land; there must be some worried farmers with slurry tanks at bursting point!).  As projects come to an end new ones start, and we’re always on the look out for new opportunities to bring resources and ideas into ‘our patch’.

We live in challenging times and fully recognise the difficulties many organisations like ours face.  However, our role and work continues to be seen as key by many agencies and we are developing some exciting projects alongside various partners as well as enterprising initiatives of our own that we hope will help secure on-going ‘unrestricted’ funding into the future.

As previously reported, our Board of Directors has seen various comings and goings and these have continued through the past few months.  We shall offer a fuller report and introductions to the new faces on our web-site very soon, and in our next newsletter.

Speaking of the SUP web site, we’re very aware that it has developed somewhat ‘organically’ of late and doesn’t really do SUP, or our area of operation, full justice.  We have earmarked some resources to set this straight and hope to begin the process of re-development very soon… Watch this space…

As ever, if you’ve items of news or interest or diary dates that you’d like to share across the very wide range of individuals, organisations and agencies that our newsletter goes to then please forward them to us.

Finally, a slightly belated Happy New Year to you all.

John Sellers

In this edition:

Red Squirrels in South Scotland 
Nature Based Tourism
UNESCO Biosphere
Land Use Planning
For Your Diary

Red Squirrels in South Scotland
The RSSS Project has been through a period of change in the last few months with the departure of Stephanie Johnstone the Dumfries and Galloway project officer, who left the team in October 2011 due to funding for this post having finished. Consequently the Dalbeattie office is now closed and all enquiries should be directed to the Galashiels office.

Red Squirrels in South ScotlandFocus of the RSSS Project remains on controlling grey squirrels and containing the spread of the squirrel-pox virus. We currently have 3 full time control officers and the Project has recently recruited 2 temporary control officers to work in east Ayrshire and Duns in the Scottish Borders in response to the discovery of pox carrying grey squirrels (seropositive) found in these areas. In addition Scottish Rural Development Program (SRDP) funded landowners have also been successfully controlling grey squirrels across southern Scotland and we are pleased to announce the further addition of 34 new estates onto the scheme this year. In southern Scotland there are now 99 landholdings undertaking grant funded grey squirrel control across key areas of the region. This added support has freed up the project control officers and allowed them to focus their work in new areas.

There has been some disappointing news in terms of the distribution of seropositive grey squirrels in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders. In 2011 the squirrelpox outbreak at Thornhill unfortunately resurfaced with 4 red squirrels being found to have contracted the squirrel-pox virus. In a separate incident just south of Thornhill at a property close to Kirkland a new squirrelpox outbreak was declared with the confirmed case of the virus. Buccleuch Ranger services, with support from RSSS and Forestry Commission staff responded quickly to these outbreaks and the disease in each of the locations appears to have been contained with no further incidences being reported.

In July 2011 the squirrelpox virus made a leap to the west, with the discovery of a confirmed seropositive grey squirrel in the Newton Stewart area of Dumfries and Galloway. Additional control in the area by project staff found grey squirrels remained at low levels with no further seropositive incidences detected. In addition to this westward leap seropositive grey squirrels were found further north in Mauchline, east Ayrshire. Again RSSS with the help of the Scottish Wildlife Trust responded immediately, implementing intensive, targeted grey squirrel control. At this stage it is difficult to confirm if the virus is present at infective levels. Initial results are encouraging with 115 samples out of a total of 120 testing negative for the virus.

At the start of 2011 seropositive grey squirrels previously found in north Northumberland were found to have dispersed northwards and had crossed the River Tweed into southern Scotland. There were fears that these virus-carrying grey squirrels may infect the local red squirrel population and unfortunately in November these fears became reality when a red squirrel found along the River Tweed in Berwickshire was confirmed positive for the squirrelpox virus. In addition to this outbreak seropositive grey squirrels have been found in Duns, representing a leap northwards. Control in this area has now been intensified with the recruitment of a temporary control officer.
Despite these incidences, the project remains optimistic with current evidence suggesting that during vulnerable times the project is managing to control the number of pox carrying grey squirrels present within established infected areas and contain red squirrelpox outbreaks.

With the new establishment of the Red Squirrels in Northern England project over the border, RSSS feels we are in our strongest position ever to give red squirrels the fighting chance they deserve.
Remember you are our eyes and ears out there so please report all red and grey squirrel sightings by completing our online sightings form at or emailing or phoning 01750 23446. If you have grey squirrels in your area and are able to help control them please get in touch.

Nature Based Tourism
Wild SeasonsThe Wild Seasons initiative, which grew from our SNH and LEADER funded work on the development of nature based tourism in the Nith Estuary National Scenic Area, is growing fast.  The web-site is now up and running and the Working Group are busy organising a PR campaign to get it in front of potential visitors, tour operators, etc.

At the same time the group is working alongside the Local Biodiversity Action Plan group to explore ways of more integrated working and SUP is working with a fledgling group of businesses and agencies in the Scottish Borders who are interested in the approach we have developed.

Further information from Project Officer John Sellers on 01671 401003

UNESCO Biosphere

As we have previously reported, the formal application to UNESCO for the designation of the existing Merrick Kells / Silver Flowe and Cairnsmore of Fleet Biosphere as the first ‘new style’ Biosphere in Scotland is now being considered by the United Nations administration.  We hope to hear of our success, or otherwise, sometime in July 2012.

The ‘Building Opportunities in the Biosphere’ (BOB) team of Nic Coombey and Ed Forrest, both employed by SUP, are working alongside communities, businesses and agencies in the proposed Biosphere area to develop ideas and projects that develop and promote approaches to truly integrated and sustainable development.  If you would like them to come and talk to you or your group they can be contacted at: and

For the latest news and information on the Biosphere go to:

Land Use Planning
Our joint conference with the University of Glasgow and South Scotland Business Solutions regarding the Scottish Government’s recently published Land Use Strategy was a great success.  It is to be followed up with a further event that will look at how the principles stated in the document might be applied to the Biosphere in Galloway and southern Ayrshire (see Diary section for more details).

Below is a brief report of the day.

Changes to land use – policy to practice
Dumfries, 24th November 2011
A summary of event and issues.

Scotland’s first ever Land Use Strategy sets out a way to get the best from our land based resources achieving multiple benefits through a strategic approach to optimise the ways we use the land.

This event drew together a wide variety of people representing different sectors in Southern Scotland to consider the constraints that prevent the use of land from reaching its full potential and identify the activities that will support a planned and integrated approach to the Land Use Strategy.

The first session involved the traditional land use sectors of farming, forestry and fisheries where we heard about the tensions that already exist between competing land use and the desire for better guidance with a more integrated approach:

  • Agriculture is being put under increasing pressure to produce more effectively, and deliver more in terms of public benefits although the resources are finite.
  • Forestry industry needs to maintain supply to retain confidence in the industry and has new policy justification for expansion.  These demands require well-informed and supported choices to be made about competing interests.
  • Fisheries expressed concerns about the issues facing rivers caused by farming and forestry land use. Current guidelines do not tackle the issue of acidification which is leading to a decline in spring salmon fishing.

The second session involved some of the emerging land use sectors including climate change, renewable energy, and wildlife tourism where we heard how newer land uses are compounding the pressures put on current land use and sector interests.

  • Climate change raises many issues one of which is the vulnerability of land carbon sinks where competition for land resources was identified as a key conflict.
  • Renewable energy, and particularly the expansion of wind turbines, is driven by new policy and raises challenges which need to be resolved through an integrated approach to land use.
  • Tourism provides a range of public and market benefits which deserve greater recognition and require new mechanisms to ensure land use decisions are not made in isolation.

The Scottish Government’s Land Use Strategy is a response to competing claims on land use acknowledging the complexity of issues and interests. It sets out to change how we think and act to achieve the goal of providing best use of land to support sustainable economic growth.

The final presentations provided an opportunity to examine the existing mechanisms to deliver Land Use planning through the Town and Country Planning and river basin planning under the Water Framework Directive.

  • The key role of Local Authorities is delivering the aspirations of the Land Use Strategy but more clarity is required on its legislative status.
  • Regulation is being used to improve water quality and benefit land use across the board but changes to regulation / incentives are required to optimise land use.

Final reflections raised the following points:

  • Biosphere Reserves provide an opportunity to consider land use in a wider context of improving prospects for people and building community pride to optimise the ways we use the land.
  • We must consider the land first by assessing ground capability and functionality.
  • An eco system focus will help to broaden views away from single sector focus on land use.
  • National Scenic Areas in Dumfries and Galloway provide a good practice approach to partnership working on land use.
  • Flexibility based on informed choices will be the key to developing better working relationships between sectors.

Summing up, 6 issues were identified:

  • CAP reform and changes to SRDP (Scottish Rural Development Programme) will be a key driver of change. Mechanisms to involve all stakeholders in contributing to the next stage need to be developed as a matter of urgency.
  • More debate with a briad range of stakeholders is required to consider the impact of strategic priorities such as woodland expansion.
  • Broad research and monitoring is required to inform land use decisions, including the identification of a cultural baseline.
  • Better guidelines and advice from experts is required for farm renewables.
  • Options for carbon reduction are required so that choices can be made at a local and regional scale.
  • The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve provides an opportunity to develop local initiatives at a landscape scale.

For more information please contact the SUP office.

Other News and Information

Below are various items you may be interested in viewing on the Internet, as supplied by Solway Firth Partnership:

European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 Scotland allocations announced

North and West Cumbria FLAG: applications for membership and expressions of interest in project funding invited

Information about Axis 4 across Europe

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014 – 2020 to follow existing European Fisheries Fund (EFF)

Scottish Government Consultation on Proposals for a New Scottish Scallop Order – forthcoming
Contact: Malcolm MacLeod

Scottish Government Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill Consultation ends 2 March 2012

Sustainable Waste Management of End of Life Fishing Gear: Event 9 February Edinburgh

Shetland crab and king scallop fisheries in final stages of MSC assessment

Lyme Bay SAC fisheries management trial

Draft River Nith Catchment Bio-security Plan –
Comments to by 3 Feb – Click here for more information (opens as a pdf)

Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES)

Cumbria Renewable Energy Capacity and Deployment Study

Manx Basking Shark Watch runner up in the JNCC Blue Turtle Awards

Manx Marine Environmental Assessment
The assessment will bring together information currently available for Manx territorial waters to inform the Isle of Man Marine Plan. If you have datasets or information which you think may be of value for the project please contact Laura Hanley: Tel: 01624 695730/483942 Email:

MMO Chief Executive appointed

Extended timescale for establishment of MCZs

Scottish MPA project latest information including 3rd workshop report 
Includes proposed Research and Demonstration MPA – Luce Bay and Rhins of Galloway

MPA International Newsletter Nov/Dec 2011

A Land Use Strategy for Scotland

Developing a Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean Area

Public perceptions of Europe’s Seas – A Policy Brief
Recent report by the European Knowseas project which is led by the Scottish Association of Marine Science

Europarc Atlantic Isles

United Nations Environment Programme: Taking Steps toward Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-based Management – An Introductory Guide

Ribbon of Wilderness
We thought the following publication worthy of a mention as it starts the description of it`s great 1,200km meander by bog, rock, mountain, moor and forest, with a beautiful journey through much of the Southern Uplands.  It’s a celebration of landscape and wildness.  The author offers a very popular (free) talks programme.


`No other journey through Scotland gives so sublime a sense of unity – a feeling of how the Nation`s various different landscapes link together to form a coherent whole`.  The Scotsman



Selkirk Community Wind Turbines – Information Day

Invitation to Exhibit

On Saturday 10 th March 2012, the Selkirk Regeneration Company is hosting an event in Selkirk’s Victoria Halls to promote and provide information about our Community Wind Turbine project.  We are very keen that this event is also used to showcase some of the other excellent initiatives from local companies and community groups working on all aspects of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable communities and the environment.

Stalls at the event are available to local groups and businesses who would like to be involved.  To help us cover the cost of running and promoting the event we are asking for a donation of £25 per stall, but we certainly don’t want this charge to exclude any group who would find this a valuable way of promoting their work.

We’d be delighted if you are able to make use of this opportunity!

There will be lots of information and displays about the Community Wind project, technical specialists will be on hand to discuss all the environmental and planning elements of the project and questionnaires will be available to provide feedback.  There will also be a training course and mini-lectures running simultaneously throughout the day on all aspects of sustainability, community and renewable energy.

The event will be free for the public to enter and will run from 10:00am to 2:00pm.  The Hall will be available for exhibitors from 9 until 5 O’clock.  Invitations to the public will be sent by direct mailshots to almost 3,700 households across the TD7 area, with adverts and articles in the local press, on posters and on local radio.

To book a stand at this event please contact Matt Chapman at Smithy House.  If you have any additional requirements or queries, please call 07768 272077 or email

I look forwards to welcoming you to this event which is shaping up to be a busy and exciting day and we hope that the interest generated by the Community Wind Turbines proposal will produce a good turnout.

Yours Sincerely
Matt Chapman (On behalf of The Selkirk Regeneration Company)

Matt Chapman
Project Manager
Smithy House Associated Ltd.
Ettrick Riverside Business Centre
Dunsdale Road

Tel: 01750 505273
Mob: 07768 272077

Opportunities at the D&G Tourism Industry Conference 5 March 2012

Destination Dumfries & Galloway and Auchenlarie Holiday Park are pleased to invite partners to get involved at the forthcoming Dumfries & Galloway Tourism Industry Conference:

D&G Tourism Industry Conference: Let’s ALL make D&G a Tourism Destination
Destination Dumfries & Galloway in partnership with Auchenlarie Holiday Park

Monday 5 March 2012

9.30am – 5pm
Auchenlarie Holiday Park, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway, DG7 2EX

Key Objectives

  • To host an industry focused and driven tourism conference
  • To encourage business collaboration
  • To provide an opportunity for tourism businesses to network
  • To encourage proactive involvement with DD&G, the region’s private sector led tourism organisation
  • To present the findings of the D&G Visitor Research, including the D&G Tourism Brand, and to encourage individual business use of research
  • To encourage use of
  • To encourage industry engagement with and buy into
  • To upskill tourism businesses – customer service and product development
  • To inform and advise businesses on the possibilities of online booking

Confirmed Agenda to follow, but highlights include

  • Key note speaker: Marshall Swalwell, Auchenlarie Holiday Park
  • Breakout sessions:
    Visitor Research
    Customer Service
    Product Development
    Online Booking

The tourism industry conference will be extensively publicised by DD&G, including;

  • Electronic newsletter and invitations circulated to 1000+ tourism contacts across the region
  • Electronic cascade of conference details to DD&G networks including Directors and partners;
  • Press releases to local media; newspapers, radio and TV

Partnership Opportunities

  • Promotional literature – we offer the opportunity to display promotional materials at the Conference on a partners’ stall
  • Display stand – opportunity to promote your projects and services to delegates on a presentation stand in the main hall (during registration and lunch). This is a free opportunity for partners, operating on a first come/served policy
  • Attendance at the event – take part as a participant, lending your experience and know-how to industry discussions. Meet other operators and make useful contacts throughout the day and during networking.
  • Network cascade – we would be really grateful if you could cascade the details of the Conference to your colleagues and networks and in any forthcoming newsletters on our behalf.

We hope you will consider the opportunities to work with us to promote your organisation/group or project to tourism operators throughout Dumfries & Galloway.

For further details please contact


We are organising a 5km sponsored walk at the RSPB Mersehead reserve on the Solway coast in Dumfries and Galloway and would like to contact local community groups to see if any of their members would be interested in taking part.  The event is on Saturday 17th March 2012, 10am to start at 10.30.  All money raised will go towards our continued nature conservation work at Mersehead.  A nationally important site for wildlife and birds such as the endangered Lapwing, the Svalbard Barnacle Goose and many more!
It would be greatly appreciated if you could help us to gather some contact details for your group leaders in the local area.
Kind Regards,

Ailsa Burns
Community Fundraising Assistant

RSPB Scotland
Ground Floor,
2 Lochside View,
Edinburgh Park,
EH12 9DH
Tel: 0131 317 4174

Community Energy Scotland

Dear all

Community Energy ScotlandThere was significant discussion about anaerobic digestion at the last SBSEA meeting as well as discussions that I have been having with some CES clients across the Borders.

My colleague, Keith Bale, is trying to organise a visit to a project in Cumbria this month:

If anyone is interested in coming along, please let me know and we’ll try and fit you in.

Happy New Year to you all.

Andy Maybury
Development Officer—Borders

Community Energy Scotland
1 Veitch’s Close

Tel: 0131 208 0509
Mob: 07827 305674
Skype: andrew.maybury2

FREE membership of Community Energy Scotland is now open to all community-based non-profit distributing organisations across Scotland.

Environmentally Sustainable Land Use: Getting the Best from the Land in SW Scotland’s Biosphere.

23rd February 2012

Dalduff Farm, Crosshill, Maybole

Following on from the “Changes to Land Use: Policy to Practice” day in November 2011, this event will explore the practical challenges and opportunities in moving towards a system of Sustainable Land Management within SW Scotland’s proposed Biosphere.

Contact for more information.

Developing your Social Enterprise

DGSEN – dumfries and galloway social enterprise network

This programme is an invaluable experience for anyone working in social enterprise, with an idea for a social enterprise, or in a third sector organisation that is looking to develop a new trading arm.

Why should I attend?

  • Develop your entrepreneurial skills with peers in an interactive learning environment
  • Discuss the opportunities, nature, and challenges of social enterprise
  • Explore how to develop and market your enterprise effectively
  • Get involved with financial management and income generation
  • Plan for your development as an enterprising leader

Location, Duration, and Fees

The programme will be delivered in 4 locations across Dumfries and Galloway: starting in Dumfries 1 February, Castle Douglas 2 February, Newton Stewart 3 February, and Lockerbie 17 February.

Delivered over 4 separate days in each location, the programme covers:

  • Understanding Social Enterprise
  • Marketing Your Social Enterprise
  • Financial Management
  • Planning for Business
  • With support from the Scottish Government places are offered at no cost to you.

Apply today
To request a registration form, please contact Laura McGarrity at: | 0845 838 7029 | Click here to view the flyer (opens as a pdf)

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