The Highland Environment Forum met at Great Glen House on Tuesday 14 March to consider various partner agencies’ attitudes and work on Climate Change in the Highlands. The Highland Council described the work of its small team in tackling their challenging targets and the difficulties they acknowledge in bringing staff with them. They are not yet near to meeting their targets and it is clear that much more work will need to be done to catch up. UHI advised of their Carbon Inventory of the City of Inverness. They have commissioned the work from Inverness based company, Practically Green Ltd and their pioneering work uses internationally agreed protocols to provide a baseline study that can track progress.
SNH advised their broad approach to biodiversity and Climate Change, indications of northward migration and potential extinction of species, Translocations where appropriate, increases in Wildfire events, rise in the PH of the oceans and new the development of new tools to help manage change. RSPB advised that they were at odds with the Govt position on a voluntary approach to change in Agriculture to deal with CC, they consider that the issues are so severe that regulation was the only method that would help develop the new behaviours required for the future. David Hetherington of CNPA advise the development of their Woodland Strategy would provide new connected routes for species to migrate through the forest networks in the Park and the increases in woodland cover would also provide more carbon sequestration. The NFUS rep advised that the mid hill area on many of Scotland’s marginal farms was a vital component of our agricultural sector and it would not be wise to see this land as the only option for meeting the Government’s new planting targets he went on to say that If this area is lost to hill farmers they will be unable to make productive use of the higher parts of their farms and will inevitably impact on the sustainability of the business.
The Highland Environment Forum is chaired by SNH and is a function of the Highland Single Outcome Agreement. It aims to foster and co-ordinate activity on all environmental matters across the Highlands. Scottish Land & Estates is a signatory to Highland SOA.