Wednesday, 12 February 2014
I have been busy representing the Forum at various peatland meetings in recent weeks, and I summarise the activity below.
Green Stimulus Peatland Restoration Project
I represented the Forum at a communications meeting for this project on 22 January. This was to look at how the project can be jointly branded to reflect the Forum's input to it, as we will be involved in helping to deliver some events. The exact size and shape of these has yet to be decided but a decision about this is imminent.
You may be relieved to learn that one of the items for discussion was the title of the project. It would be great relief, and save a large amount of typing effort, to have a snappier title. We came up with 'Peatland Stimulus' at the meeting and this will be considered further within SNH.
National Peatland Plan Meeting
This plan will provide a focus for all peatland initiatives across Scotland and it is being developed by Andrew Coupar and Des Thompson. The meeting on 29 January was an opportunity to provide some input into the development of the plan, and a draft will be circulated for consultation in March.
Peatland Steering Group
This group is lead by SNH, and I represent the Forum on it. The Peatland Plan process feeds into this group, as does the 'Peatland Stimulus' project. The Group provides a focus for all peatland issues.
I have some concerns about the need for more coordination of peatland issues. There is a lot of activity and funding being fed into peatland issues, in Scotland, in the UK and internationally and it is essential that this activity in Scotland is fully supported. I am pleased that the Peatland Plan process looks set to move forward quickly, as there is scope to increase the amount of coordination. The Scottish peatland resource is enormous and we need to manage it effectively.
I am not yet convinced that we are doing all we should be to communicate the rapid rise in importance of our peatland resources to those who own and manage our peatland. I am hoping that the Peatland Stimulus work will lead to better engagement with the land management community and I am keen to support this.
I am pleased that the Forum is able to contribute to the debate about the management and restoration of peatlands. It is an important issue for Scotland and therefore for the Forum.