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Southern Uplands Project Update

The Communities on the Edge team, based in Douglas, Langholm and Yetholm, are planning a conference for 60 invited delegates at Floors Castle in November. The event will be Chaired by SUP Patron Dame Barbara Kelly. The aim of the event is to advance good practice between estates and communities and to build on the work of Communities on the Edge supported by the Carnegie Trust UK. The team is also developing an animators handbook so that the experience gathered during the project can be used by others.

The Red Squirrel Conservation and Grey Squirrel Control projects continue to be very active. After considerable debate involving all interests it seems that red conservation and grey control work will be more integrated in the future. Nine control officers will be active in the south of Scotland, SUP will employ a total of four control officers, initially for a one year period.

On the Eco Office front a potential site has been identified on the Buccleuch Estate at Langholm and a Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) application has been made for feasibility funding to develop site specific plans. The outcome of this application is expected shortly. Langholm Initaitive has joined us as project partners, bringing their vast local experience to the project.

A bid is pending for work to develop the Borders Walking Festival, if successful we would hope to offer to widen this project to include South Lanarkshire and the Dumfries & Galloway. Work is also in hand to develop a Leader application for a cross-border project to develop rural tourism clusters around nature based tourism, access and food.

The Partnership has service level agreements with Scottish Borders Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Natural Heritage and these are being updated at present. It is hoped that Dumfries & Galloway Council will be in a position to re-engage with the partnership. Meetings have been held with Councillor Roger Grant and Simon Fieldhouse to raise this.

You may remember that SUP coordinated the Biosphere Reserve Consultation with East Ayrshire Woodlands on behalf of the Ayrshire/Galloway Biosphere. We can report that an economic appraisal has recently completed and that the UK Man and the Biosphere Committee will be meeting in Dumfries & Galloway in November. News on developments will be carried in future e-newsletters.

Windfarm mitigation funding is likely to provide some new funding for Black Grouse conservation work. There is the potential for SUP to work with Borders Forest Trust, FWAG and RSPB to deliver management plans drawn up by Tom Adamson, our previous Black Grouse Conservation Officer.

The new Leader programmes are now opening across the south of Scotland, providing funding for project work to 2013, so in common with other groups we are working to develop new projects.


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