Environment Systems working with Thomson Ecology and Team Projects has won a contract with the Scottish Government to develop and deliver their agri-environment scheme and biodiversity monitoring programme. Work on this three year contract starts immediately and will develop and apply a methodology for measuring the impact of biodiversity measures taken under the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).

The Scottish Government Press Release can be viewed here: Press Release

Scotland has a rich and varied natural heritage consisting of plants, animals and their habitats. This natural heritage provides environmental, economic and social benefits to Scotland and is a major focus for EU and Scottish Government support. The report on ‘Valuing our Environment’ shows that 11% of Scotland’s total economic output depends on sustainable use of the environment. This is worth £17.2 billion a year, and supports 1 in 7 of all full time jobs in the country.

A major part of the support for farmers and landowners in Europe to protect and enhance natural heritage is through agri-environment policy. Throughout EU member states this is delivered through the Rural Development Programme (RDP), a six year programme, the current version of which runs from 2007-13. Under EC regulations there is a requirement to monitor the environmental impact of the RDP and of agri-environment schemes in particular. Under this contract Environment Systems has been tasked by the Scottish Government to carry out an assessment, with the overall aim of measuring the natural heritage outcomes resulting from the biodiversity measures delivered under the Scotland Rural Development Programme.

The project team will develop a sampling framework, undertake remote sensing, field survey and analysis to measure natural heritage outcomes associated with biodiversity packages. This will include assessing opportunities to capture environmental indicators associated with the SRDP, such as High Nature Value Farmland. The project will report findings on natural heritage outcomes from biodiversity measures on a bi-annual and annual basis.

“We are delighted that this established team led by Environment Systems, which already has a track record of successfully delivering over £1m of biodiversity monitoring work will now be working in a similar vein for the Scottish Government” said Steve Keyworth Commercial Director. “This work will be vital to the accurate assessment of the environmental outcomes delivered by the CAP, the protection of HNV farms and in the developing the understanding of the value of Ecosystem Services to the Scottish Economy,” continued Keyworth.