Atmos Consulting has welcomed a newly launched strategy to address a worrying decline in the population of Black Grouse in Southern Scotland. The new conservation plan was unveiled earlier this month by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust in consultation with key partners including Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and RSPB Scotland.

Black Grouse - Ornithology SurveysBlack grouse were once widespread in Britain but have declined in both numbers and range in the past 100 years.   In recent decades the decline has accelerated, falling from an estimated 25,000 displaying males in the early 1990’s to 5,100 males in 2005.  Two thirds of the remaining birds are now found in Scotland and here the numbers have declined by 29% between 1995/6 and 2005.

Focused specifically on the South of Scotland, the newly published strategic plan for Black Grouse conservation  provides a thorough review of the current situation and outlines a number of ways in which core populations of grouse can be protected in such a way that may eventually allow for recovery of the population.
Amongst other recommendations, the plan highlights the positive contribution responsible wind farm development is already making to Black Grouse conservation through the implementation of habitat management plans in or around operational wind farms in the region.

Commenting on the report Jenny Bell Principal Consultant, (ornithology), said “This comprehensive report will be very valuable to anyone wanting to manage land for Black grouse in this area.  It also provides opportunities for any future wind farms to contribute to the conservation of this species in a cohesive manner to help deliver a good outcome for this species.”

“At Atmos we have, for many years, championed the positive impact renewable energy developments can have on the local and regional environment.  This is because the process of development gives the opportunity to consider all aspects of the environment on and around the project site and to identify opportunities to enhance or improve the local environment in an integrated manner as part of that process. We can use our expertise to find practical solutions that benefit not only the local environment but that work  for the landowner as well.” 

Jenny concludes  “All too often we hear of potential negative effects that wind farms can have on birds – it’s equally important to recognise and celebrate where the industry can make a positive contribution to enhancing habitats and helping to conserve sensitive species such as Black Grouse.”

Full details can be found at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust