Families, businesses and estates in rural Scotland have launched a new initiative urging politicians to recognise the importance of moorland life to the environment, wildlife and communities.

Rural communities across Scotland are to write to parliamentarians from all parties and invite them to see first-hand the multiple benefits delivered across moorland areas of the country.

The Support Moorland Life initiative has been launched at time when moorland management has been under intense scrutiny and the Scottish Government has already announced its intention to license grouse shooting.

The Scottish Greens, who are in power sharing talks with the SNP, also made a manifesto pledge to end driven grouse shooting.

Support Moorland Life aims to highlight the importance of moorland as a habitat and its contribution to Scotland.

The initiative will focus on three key areas:

  • The environmental benefits of well-managed moorland.
  • The array of wildlife.
  • The importance of thriving communities in moorland areas.

Dee Ward, owner of Rottal Estate and chairman of the Angus Glens Moorland Group, said: “The uplands of Scotland play a crucial role in biodiversity, peatland restoration and carbon capture. These are all key objectives across the political spectrum and in a year where Scotland will host COP26, we want all our political leaders to know that moorland communities can – and do – play a significant part in achieving these objectives. We are friends of the environment and wildlife and hopefully political leaders will recognise that moorland life is well worth supporting.

“Progressive moorland management is green at heart – there is a massive amount of peatland restoration going on which will help with carbon capture and it is also important for conservation of endangered bird species such as curlew, lapwing and golden plover. The future approach to Scotland’s landscape should take into account the importance of moorland habitat and we’ll be delighted for as many MSPs as possible to come and see for themselves all the great work going on across our moorlands.”

Lesley McArthur, partner at the Glen Clova Hotel said: “To say that moorland life is vital in our area would be an understatement. We rely heavily on income from people coming to the glens to shoot at times of the year when few others would be visiting.

“What is noticeable too now is that visitors talk a lot about the environment and how the hills and glens – and the people who live and work in them – have a real role to play in delivering those environmental benefits.”

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