18 February 2021

Sustainability Committee learns about Aberdeenshire's biodiversity success stories

A number of excellent examples of partnership work and innovation by Aberdeenshire Council and its partners were noted during a Sustainability Committee meeting.

During the meeting on Wednesday, February 17, committee members heard examples of Biodiversity Reporting from 2018 to 2020. Examples included:

Education and Children’s Services

The Learning Estates and Early Years Services have demonstrated a commitment to biodiversity through creating play and learning spaces at nurseries and schools that are inspired by nature. The new spaces are a mix of sand, bark, varied planting beds, or self-binding gravel. The materials are beneficial for children because they offer textiles, sensory benefits and seasonal changes.

The approach is being used in the upgrades as part of the Scottish Government’s expansion of up to 1140 fully funded early learning and childcare hours. The recent refurbishment at Lochpots Primary School saw an emphasis on enhanced external spaces whilst work to new build nurseries include landscape features to make spaces more exciting and interactive for children.

Partnership projects

The Dee Catchment Partnership, of which Aberdeenshire Council is a member, has continued to deliver a range of projects within the Dee Catchment and is currently implementing a river restoration project. Events and educational visits have raised awareness of invasive species, sustainable urban drainage schemes and natural flood management.

The council has also developed a good working relationship with the Huntly and District Swift Group, jointly identifying opportunities for the protection and provision of swift nesting sites in council buildings and through the planning process. Projects include provision for swifts in redevelopment at a site in Inverurie and housing association new builds in Huntly.

The report demonstrates how the council as a whole protects and enhances biodiversity in Aberdeenshire. All public sector bodies in Scotland are required by the Scottish Government to demonstrate their commitment to the natural environment. The report considered by the Sustainability Committee will be submitted to the Scottish Government as evidence of the council’s duty to monitoring biodiversity in Aberdeenshire.

Cllr Iain Taylor, Aberdeenshire Council’s Sustainability Committee chair, said: “It is really pleasing to see all the positive biodiversity initiatives outlined in this report. I hope that the Scottish Government sees our commitment to the natural environment when the council submits this report as the duty for all public sector bodies in Scotland requires. I am looking forward to seeing the progress made by the council and its partners when the next report is presented to the committee for consideration.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “This report is further evidence of the council’s commitment to sustainability. Our Environment is one of the council’s six strategic priorities and climate and sustainability is a key principle underpinning the priorities. I would like to congratulate the Sustainability and Climate Change Team, services across the council and all the partners involved in these noteworthy biodiversity successes mentioned in this report.”

Committee members approved the recommendations listed in the report with a request that education about connecting people to nature should be undertaken.

A full agenda for the Sustainability Committee on Wednesday, November 17 is available by visiting: Aberdeenshire Council's Committees and Meetings webpage: https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=500&meetid=19537 

A recording of the Sustainability Committee meeting will be available to view on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/aberdeenshirecouncil/videos