Rural minister goes in search of facts on Scottish estate visit
Scotland’s Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment was welcomed to an East Lothian estate, holding a prestigious wildlife and conservation accreditation, to learn more about the vital work they do.
Mairi Gougeon MSP, visited the Hopes Estate in East Lothian earlier this month, where she was given a tour of the estate by owner Robbie Douglas Miller, along with representatives from Scottish Land & Estates (SLE).
“At a time when the management of land in Scotland is under the microscope, we are delighted to welcome the minister to the Hopes to provide the Scottish Government with a detailed understanding of all that we do,” said Hopes Estate owner Robbie Douglas Miller.
“Over the past five years we have been heavily involved in significant peatland restoration and woodland creation, helping Scotland tackle the climate crisis head-on.
We have a responsibility as landowners to manage this land in a way that delivers lasting economic, social and environmental well-being in our community.
“The Scottish Government has a vital role in creating a legislative framework that enables landowners to deliver this without any unnecessary burdens.
Covering 4,200ha, consisting primarily of open hill and moorland, Hopes Estate, near Gifford, has held Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) accreditation for over six years.
WES, which is supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage and managed by SLE, aims to promote the best habitat and wildlife management practices, build recognition and raise standards through the introduction of an objective accreditation system.
Among the variety of land management techniques discussed during the tour was the use of Muirburn.
The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) said last year that it was to trial the greater use of controlled burning next spring after gathering evidence on the practice internationally.
The controlled burning practice advocated by SFRS is the same as the rotational strip burning employed by gamekeepers undertaking muirburn in the traditional manner on sporting estates, such as Hopes Estate.