Date lodged: 11 July 2017
To ask the Scottish Government how it can secure greater participation by (a) landowners and (b) volunteers in Scotland’s grey squirrel control effort.
Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 2 August 2017
Since 2009, the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS) Project led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust has co-ordinated grey squirrel control at a landscape scale in three project areas: North-East Scotland, the Central Lowlands and South Scotland. This work is undertaken by project conservation staff, Grey Squirrel Control Officers, Forestry Commission controllers working on the National Forest Estate, a network of landowners controlling grey squirrels on private forests and estates supported by Scottish Rural Development Programme funding, and up to 56 estates and over 200 individual volunteers operating traps via loans from the SSRS Project.
A new SSRS Project phase, ‘Developing Community Action’, is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund specifically to secure a long-term commitment to red squirrel protection. The additional funding for the next 5 years is intended to build capacity, skills and a sense of ownership of local red squirrel populations. In developing the new project, the SSRS Project has carried out market research, held community engagement workshops and stakeholder consultations and will be using this information to target communications to engage and sustain interest in the Project and its aims. A ‘Community Hub’ information management system will be developed for staff and volunteers, which will capture and integrate data from all sources and will allow feedback to be provided.