- Written by Administrator
- Category: Resources
- Published: 14 April 2012
School Wood is on the Ancient Woodland Inventory and is threatened by inappropriate development.
Wood ants are one of the most important ecological players in Caledonian pinewood forest and are also found in forest edge and some rich lowland heathland and bog woodland habitats. These 'keystone species' can be viewed as good indicators of the health of some of our most iconic habitats.
In Strathspey we have all the four kinds of wood ants that occur in Scotland, including the largest and most northern known surviving population of the narrow headed ant (Formica exsecta) in the UK. This ant is a UK Red Data Book 1 species. Two of our wood ants, the hairy or northern wood ant and the Scottish wood ant (F. lugubris and F. aquilonia), are on the Scottish Biodiversity List. This list contains species considered by Scottish ministers to be a priority for conservation (for purpose of the Nature Conservation Scotland Act). The blood red slave-maker ant (F. sanguinea) is believed to have declined in recent years in our district and tends to make a less elaborate nest than other wood ants and is easiest to find on sunny days in relatively open habitats.
The shining guest ant (Formicoxenus nitidulus) makes its home in the nests of various wood ants. It is considered to be at the northern limit of its range in the UK in our district, where it is rare. The gallows spider (Dipoena torva) feeds on wood ants. Both these species associated with wood ants are also on the Scottish Biodiversity List. The gallows spider has been found on two sites controlled by developer Tullochs. Both these sites are currently threatened by inappropriate development and are included in the legal challenge taken against the local plan of the Cairngorms National Park Authority. At least two species of wood ant are also found on the threatened An Camas Mor site.
With other organisations that recognize that wood ants need friends BSCG is supporting the wonderful wood ants initiative see:
- Written by Administrator
- Category: Resources
- Published: 05 March 2012
Planning Democracy campaigns for a fair and inclusive planning system in Scotland. The charity will hold its conference, 'Planning: The People's Perspective' in Edinburgh on April 21. Not content with inviting anyone with an interest in, or experience of, land use planning in Scotland to attend, P.D. hopes we will invite our elected representatives to become “keynote listeners” at the event and hear how those who experience the Scottish planning system first hand feel about it.
Clare Symonds, founder of Planning Democracy says of the conference:
“Scotland's planning system is weighted against ordinary people, the very people who will be affected and who should be able to influence it. It is time to rebalance the system and give people more rights and to make it far more inclusive than it is. This conference intends to show how ordinary people experience the planning system and to gather people together to work together to make it fairer.”
At the conference you will
- hear how well the planning system works for ordinary people,
- hear Planning Democracy’s views on how to campaign for a more inclusive system
- hear other people's views on the planning system
You will have the opportunity to
- meet other people and exchange experiences of planning
- attend workshops on a variety of issues from access to justice, planning appeals, to making complaints and Freedom of Information
- work with Planning Democracy to campaign for change where it is needed.
The conference is affordable (£10) and is held on a Saturday in central Edinburgh, close to the train and bus stations. Refreshments and lunch are included in the price.
Representatives from organisations such as The Information Commission, the Public Services Ombudsman, the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) as well as legal firms and environmental NGO's such as Friends of the Earth will be attending and providing afternoon workshops.
For more information follow this link.
- Written by Gus Jones
- Category: Debates
- Published: 26 January 2012
Following four days in the Court of Session in Edinburgh It is likely to be some months before we can expect the judgement of Lord Glennie in the case challenging the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) over the 2010 local Plan for the National Park. The case challengess a number of allocations in the local plan adopted by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA). The grounds include that the CNPA failed to take reasonable account of damaging environmental impacts, in spite of legal obligations including the founding legislation for National Parks in Scotland. The case was brought by BSCG jointly with the fellow environmental groups the Cairngorms Campaign and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks. All parties appeared grateful that the judge allowed extra time on the last day avoiding the delays and added expense of extending the proceedings to a later date.
Sir Crispin Agnew QC pesented the case for BSCG and our co appellants. Douglas Armstrong QC presented the response for the Cairngorms National Parks Authority. The Convener for the National Park Authority described the CNPA as defending the case “robustly”. James Findlay QC represented three further respondents ( developers and landowning interests) each involved with sites where housing allocation in the local plan could be quashed by the court.
One outcome we are hoping for is that allocations for new built development will be quashed. The allocations raised in the case are at Nethybridge, Carrbridge, Kingussie and An Camas Mor. The largest of these is the An Camas Mor 1500 house new town proposal in the Cairngorms National Scenic Area across the River Spey from Aviemore.
Another outcome of the judgement could be to clarify important matters of legal principle of general public interest; such as giving timely and due weight to environmental concerns in the planning process. We have consistently maintained that to deliver conservation objectives requires timely and realistic assessment of the likely environmental implications of developments, applying the precautionary principle whenever appropriate. At a top tier site we look for standards of governance sufficient to ensure that serious concerns including ones related to species that are known to be globally threatened are taken properly into account.
On the final day of the case the court discussed the possibility of a future hearing to deal with some matters that may require to be resolved depending on the findings of the Court.
In what can be viewed as a David and Goliath struggle we have been deeply heartened by the breadth of public support that we continue to receive. Without the generosity of literally hundreds of people and a number of organisations we would have been unable to take our case to court.
Needless to say BSCG and our co appellants consider our grievances amply merit the intense high level legal scrutiny to which they have now been subjected. We now hope the judgement when it comes will deliver positively for the environment conservation and the future of the Cairngorms area that is deservedly so special and dear to the hearts of so many.
- Written by Gus Jones
- Category: Insects
- Published: 05 January 2012
This is a local species that BSCG has since 2009 photographed on this threatened An Camas Mor site. In 1994 Stewart Taylor - whose contributions to conservation in the North of Scotland have been recognized by an MBE honour this year - recorded this bug in a clearing in Anagach wood. Currently Stewart Taylor's record is the only one for this bug available on the NESBReC website or on the National Biodiversity Network for the Cairngorms area.
- Written by Tessa Jones
- Category: Meetings
- Published: 01 November 2011
Photo: © Laurie Campbell
Illustrated Talk and Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 29 November 2011
Carrbridge Village Hall (in the smaller room)
Talk: ‘Helping the Highland Tiger – the Cairngorms Wildcat Project’ by Dr David Hetherington, 8.00pm
The AGM is for members only, but after the AGM we have an illustrated talk on that is open to anyone on the Cairngorms Wildcat Project starting at 8.00pm. The talk will be given by Dr David Hetherington who has been leading the project since it started a few years ago. The wildcat project now only has a few months to run and David will be telling us about the work of the project as well as future prospects for wildcat conservation.
More details to follow.