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Geoconservation, Scotland

Scottish RIGS working together

On 28 April 2007 members of Scotland’s RIGS groups gathered together in Edinburgh for a Local Geodiversity Workshop. The event was attended by 31 people and we were pleased to welcome delegates from as far afield as Tees-side and Northern Ireland. The wider geoconservation community was represented by bodies such as Lochaber geopark and Council planning and rangers’ services.

The event was chaired by Mike Browne, Chair of UKRIGS, and he introduced speakers from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), BGS, and Midlothian Biodiversity Partnership. Introductory short talks set the scene and these were followed by workshops to allow volunteers to discuss good practice in setting up, promoting and funding RIGS work. Delegates were able to view a wide range of leaflets and posters produced by the participating groups and, very importantly, learn from others’ experiences.

There are around 40 RIGS sites in Scotland although activity is patchy. The Lothian and Borders group is very productive whereas some parts of Scotland have no voluntary geoconservation presence at all. Speakers encouraged RIGS groups to respond to consultations as a way of demonstrating to national bodies that there is a groundswell of interest in geoconservation from local people. The gaps in RIGS coverage across Scotland may be hindering that message.

Delegates learned that geoconservation in Scotland is also hampered by the fact that in contrast to England the local geodiversity action plan (LGAP) process is not mandatory. In addition, the planning system does not directly consider geodiversity issues. In these respects geodiversity may be seen as the poor relation to biodiversity. However geodiversity is influenced by biodiversity and vice versa so promoting geodiversity may be made easier if clear links are made to biodiversity.

On a more positive note, SNH is willing to part-fund a RIGS Development Officer post in Scotland. The objectives of such a post were thrashed out and volunteers agreed to help put a funding bid together by June.

Everyone agreed that the event had been very worthwhile and another workshop will be held in 6-12 months time to build upon the links made in April.

David McCulloch (Strathclyde RIGS)

Papers from the meeting

Useful websites regarding funding and other info.

Not a definitive list by any means but a good starting point.

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
Gives info on which organisations have charitable status and how to obtain it.
Community Webnet funding page
Whole website is extremely useful and worth an explore time permitting.
Rural Community Gateway
Excellent website and if you register you can receive info on new funding streams as well as other relevant info. You pick what they send you info about and how often which makes life a bit more manageable.
Directory of Social Change funding publications
A good source of info but there is a cost involved. Their home page leads to other sources of info such as training courses.
The lottery Scottish pages
This will allow you to search for lottery funds.
Local Councils for Voluntary Service (CVS)
These are often a great source of help with funding applications. Together with info on contacting your local CVS.

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