Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES), a wildlife initiative promoting best habitat practices for farms and estates, has appointed Miles Montgomerie as its new chair.

Montgomerie, who owners Southannan Farms and West Glenalmond in Perthshire, will take over from Dee Ward, who recently became chair of Scottish Land & Estates.

WES said the appointment of its new chair comes as Scotland prepares to host an international congress attended by 11 of the 19 countries participating in the initiative.

Speaking on his appointment to the role of WES chair, Montgomerie said: “I’m looking forward to working with WES members to help them continue the excellent work they are doing in turning the tide on biodiversity loss.

“WES landholdings deliver a huge amount of biodiversity, wildlife and habitat improvement at scale and as such are increasingly seen as trusted operators by NatureScot and the Scottish government at a time where working together to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss has never been more important.

“Significant progress has been made by WES over the last 10 years as part of the international Wildlife Estates family and I would like to see momentum continue to build so that integrated, biodiverse land management becomes the norm rather than the exception.”


WES is a national version of the Wildlife Estates (WE) initiative and is endorsed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Environment.

All types of landholdings, farms and estates can apply for accreditation and Scotland currently sits second in the league table of Wildlife Estates accredited land on 1.25 million acres.

Between them, WES accredited landholdings have stewardship of 97 nationally protected sites and 79 internationally designated sites.

Outgoing chair Dee Ward said WES has grown substantially since the first pilot estates were accredited in 2013.

“I’m delighted that Miles will be leading the next phase of WES’ development at a time when addressing the biodiversity crisis has never been more important,” he said.

“Despite the exceptional work that takes place by many of those managing land, Scotland has a ‘biodiversity intactness’ rating of only 56% which means it has retained just over half of its biodiversity, compared with 65% for France, 67% for Germany, and 89% for Canada.

“Indeed, out of 240 ranked countries and territories, Scotland ranks 28th from the bottom. There is much cooperation and new ways of working required over the next decade and beyond and WES is well placed to help deliver that.”