Scottish Government advisor visits key PARTRIDGE demonstration site

20 September 2017 - Published by Paul Stephens
Whitburgh Farms recently hosted Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of the Scottish Government’s Regulatory Review Group and recently appointed to oversee the review of Scotland’s Greening measures. This was an opportunity to discuss the GWCT’s position on this and explain how the Interreg North Sea Region PARTRIDGE project hopes to contribute to this debate too.

The PARTRIDGE project is a European collaboration involving 10 demonstration sites spread amongst Scotland, England, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium, which hopes to improve agri-environment schemes across this region by sharing best practice and showing to a broad audience what can be done.

Each of the demonstration sites is increasing the area of quality Grey Partridge habitats to 7% of the total area – the level thought necessary to support healthy populations. In-depth monitoring across all sites, and comparable reference areas where no management changes will take place, will show how this impacts on Grey Partridge along with other farmland birds – many of which have declined alongside the Grey Partridge – and Brown Hares; a Biodiversity Action Plan species in the UK.

It was encouraging that Prof Griggs shared our enthusiasm to see a greater degree of flexibility in the delivery of environmental measures and other common-sense approaches, that would allow farmers more options in delivery. Too many farmers are reluctant to engage in voluntary farmland conservation measures because of regulations that restrict how they deal with weed problems and the like. Any amendments that would make use of a farmer’s local knowledge and skills would be most welcome.