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Crop crested tit

Crested tits in Scotland only exist in specialised, and protected, habitat.

Funding availability remains a significant barrier to delivering improvements, for both public and voluntary sector organisations

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13th May 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

More action is needed to improve the condition of Scotland’s most important nature conservation areas, according to RSPB Scotland.

This will require new sources of funding and enhanced partnership working, said the charity.

The wildlife conservation group issued the plea following a new report published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) showing that the condition of these areas has continued to decline over the past year.

It states that 65.5% of Scotland’s protected sites are assessed as being in ‘favourable’ condition – a drop from 2007 when 67.5% were judged to be in this category. This means that one in every five designated sites remains in ‘poor’ condition.

Funding availability remains a significant barrier to delivering improvements, for both public and voluntary sector organisations.

Whilst a lot of positive action has been taken and some species and habitats are recovering, it is clear that we are collectively struggling to make a step change in condition.

The report comes just one week after the UN released its Global Assessment on nature, which showed that our natural world is experiencing unprecedented rates of decline, putting one million species at risk of extinction in the next few decades.

In response to the urgency and gravity of these findings, a debate in the Scottish Parliament led to the first minister declaring her government’s ambition to be an international leader on tackling biodiversity loss.

Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland, said: “Protected areas provide a vast range of significant public benefits from services like water quality and carbon storage, to connecting people with nature and contributing to local economies through wildlife tourism. They also play a crucial role in the fight against biodiversity loss, safeguarding our most important species and habitats from damaging development and land use.

“Unless more resources are given to looking after protected areas then we won’t make the step change needed to restore our network to its full potential, which will also build resilience against future change.”

RSPB Scotland is worried that birds in particular are faring worse than they were last year. Seabirds and waders are increasingly affected by wider offsite pressures that require urgent attention and investment by the Scottish Government.”