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Caithness News Bulletins July 2004

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Ross & Cromarty (East) Biodiversity Plan - Launched

The Ross & Cromarty (East) Biodiversity Action Plan was launched on Tuesday 13th July 2004 in Alness.  It has been drawn together over the last year, following an initial workshop in May 2003.

At the workshop, 11 local people agreed to meet as the Ross & Cromarty (East) Biodiversity Group to oversee the drafting process.  The Group comprises representatives of local land users and conservationists, and the Plan was written with help and input from Scottish Natural Heritage and The Highland Council.

Councillor Richard Durham, who chaired the launch, said: “I am very pleased to launch this Plan, which represents over a year’s hard work by Group members.  It is by no means a complete document, but presents us with an excellent starting point and a list of projects that we hope communities, agencies and the Council will work together to take forward in the next five to ten years.

Janet Bromham, Highland Council Biodiversity Officer. June Hutchison, Chairperson Milnafua Resident's Association.
Helen Candy, Winner of the 2003 Gardening for Wildlife Competition, Milnafua - Alness.
Councillor Richard Durham, Seaboard Villages.
Photo - Charlie Phillips www.charliephillipsimages.co.uk

“These exercises often end up producing lengthy plans that are unreadable to local people and result in very little action on the ground.  However, I think this project has struck the right balance between planning and implementation, and I hope that further funds can be found to help deliver some of the future actions suggested in the plan.

“I am pleased that in addition to overseeing the drafting and consultation of a plan, the Local Biodiversity Group was able to distribute some funds towards practical projects and awareness-raising events like the ones we are hearing about today.”

Highland Biodiversity Project co-ordinator Janet Bromham then summarised the planning process and the plan itself.  This was followed by a number of presentations on the practical delivery of biodiversity projects from community representatives.  After lunch, attendees were treated to a tour of the winning garden from last year’s Wildlife Gardening Competition at Milnafua.

The Ross & Cromarty (East) Biodiversity Group has distributed over £10,000 towards wildlife projects involving local people across the area.  This includes the following projects:

  • Milton Community Woodland Trust carried out a ‘Know Your Own Patch’ project to raise awareness of the woodland wildlife, and undertook a number of small practical projects.

  • The Muir of Ord Environmental Group bought equipment to help them carry out a number of habitat improvements. 

  • Westford Action Group and MacDonald Road Residents Association, two local residents groups, have been undertaking wildlife gardening projects with help and advice from the Highland Council Ranger Martin Hind.

  • A small grant was given to Milnafua Residents Association to help members of the community garden for wildlife.

Copies of the Ross & Cromarty (East) Biodiversity Action Plan will be available in local libraries and service points.  Anyone wishing their own copy should contact Janet Bromham, the Highland Biodiversity Officer, Planning & Development Service, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness  IV3 5NX, e-mail: janet.bromham@highland.gov.uk or telephone: (01463) 702274.