Every three years, all public bodies in Scotland report to the Scottish Government on how they’re meeting the legal requirement to further the conservation of biodiversity. Our report sets out how we’ve looked after our valuable natural environment and worked with partner organisations to improve our green and blue spaces for nature.
Examples of the type of work include:
policy work to incorporate the natural environment in the Edinburgh Adapts climate change programme
site management changes across Council-owned parks to increase natural areas and meadows
community projects such as food growing projects, which have wider health and social benefits as well as increasing biodiversity
education, communication and professional in-house training are other related activities to highlight the importance of protecting and improving biodiversity.
Working with the Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership, the Council also supports work to look after some of our rarer species and habitats.
The report and the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-18 are also available on our website.
In common with several city centre buildings, the Council HQ at Waverley Court has rooftop gardens. Green roofs on buildings have many benefits including improving energy efficiency, reducing the urban heat island effect and reducing water run off in the built environment. They can also be a really good habitat for wildlife.
In recent years the grass areas on the Waverley Court roof have been changed into wildflower meadows to make them more attractive to people and pollinating insects. Back on a sunny August day, Anthony McCluskey from Butterfly Conservation Scotland ran a butterfly and bumblebee safari to give staff a lunch break with a difference! It was a lovely sunny day and you can watch some footage of the meadow and safari below.
In Edinburgh we’ve been working since 2000 to help our declining population of swifts. This summer, in partnership with the RSPB, we are carrying out the first full survey in 10 years to identify where these amazing birds are nesting in the city. We need as many volunteers as possible to help and the good news is, this is a survey which works best in good weather!
A training event is being held on Wednesday 24th May 6.30pm, hosted by Historic Environment Scotland at the Holyrood Park Education Centre. So if you fancy a summer’s evening stroll to look for these avian acrobats, please email Amber.Jenkins@rspb.org.uk to book your training place.
Now, I’m sure you’re all aware of the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-18 produced by the Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership… but just in case you aren’t, I’ll quickly fill you in; it was published in summer, and lists a number of actions that could and should be taken at specific sites to help support biodiversity. Go read it.
Anyway, recently the progress report for the Action Plan was published, and it shows some pretty decent results; 89% of the actions are in progress or completed. Not only has work been done to create meadows and increase grassland, but also encourage wildlife to thrive in the built environment, too. Stuff like using Swift Bricks – fake bricks in the side of buildings that birds can nest in.
Partner organisations gathered to hear speakers from hosts Historic Environment Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Water of Leith Conservation Trust and Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. Despite a cold May wind, a group led by the Historic Environment Scotland Conservation Ranger Matt McCabe, we walked into Holyrood Park to see some of the biodiversity priority species and hear about the important work to protect them.
Exploring Holyrood Park
The new Plan contains over 250 actions and aims to further engage communities and organisations in biodiversity conservation work across the city. Long running valuable conservation and monitoring work on priority habitats and species will continue. New initiatives and projects will be developed, particularly:
Landscape scale habitat projects;
Promoting green infrastructure in the built environment to support placemaking, biodiversity and climate change adaptation;
Citizen science projects linked to pollinator conservation, park naturalisation and Edinburgh Living Landscape; and