The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Call for Scotland to be rewilding nation

Alliance tells politician­s the issue has broad support among the public

- KATRINE BUSSEY

Scotland should be the world’s first “rewilding nation”, according to environmen­tal campaigner­s.

They are calling on the country’s politician­s to back the idea of restoring wild areas to urban settings and reintroduc­ing lost species to the land.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance says the parties can help achieve this by committing to key policies and they believe the principle is a vote-winner.

The Alliance points to a poll carried out last year which showed more than threequart­ers (76%) of Scots backed rewilding, which has already had success in single issue initiative­s such as the reintroduc­tion of beavers. Earlier this year Perth became the first UK city to see resident urban beavers for hundreds of years, with the mammals establishi­ng a “strong presence” on the River Tay.

Amid a drive to boost Scotland’s green credential­s and increase rural employment, rewilding is seen by many conservati­onists as an ideal method of increasing biodiversi­ty, creating self-sustainabl­e environmen­ts and mitigating climate change.

Steve Micklewrig­ht, convener of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, said: “We know the public wants to see politician­s make real progress on rewilding, and we would encourage people to take these issues into account when they’re looking at the parties’ manifestos.”

Politician­s are being urged to seize the social and economic benefits that would come with making Scotland the world’s first “rewilding nation”.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is calling on political parties to commit to key policies that it says will help achieve this.

More than three-quarters (76%) of Scots backed the principle of rewilding, a poll last year for the Alliance found.

Now it wants parties to sign up to policies such as a commitment to rewilding 30% of public land and setting up a special fund to support rewilding in towns and cities.

Political leaders are also being urged to support the reintroduc­tion of key species to Scotland, including beavers, as well as consider a pilot project to reintroduc­e the Eurasion lynx to Scotland, where there is both a suitable habitat and local support.

The Alliance, which is campaignin­g for Scotland to declare itself the first rewilding nation, insists that bold measures are needed to help tackle the nature and climate crises.

The organisati­on believes policies it is proposing – which include an inshore recovery zone in Scotland’s waters where dredging and trawling are prohibited – could protect biodiversi­ty and boost employment.

Steve Micklewrig­ht, convener of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, said: “We know the public wants to see politician­s make real progress on rewilding.”

 ??  ?? NATURE: A pilot project to reintroduc­e the Eurasion lynx to Scotland will be considered.
NATURE: A pilot project to reintroduc­e the Eurasion lynx to Scotland will be considered.

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