An insect conservation charity is set to invest in central Scotland's grasslands to create a coast-to-coast network for nature.

Buglife will use £157k in its Central Scotland B-Lines project to which will create 100 hectares of wildflower habitat across 50 urban sites, connecting East Dunbartonshire, South Lanarkshire, Falkirk and Edinburgh.

The vital links will help pollinators including bees, moths, butterflies and beetles to move freely through towns and cities.


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Local community groups will take on ownership of each site and the project includes training in areas such as managing and monitoring of local sites, and how to increase habitat connectivity.

In Glasgow, Scottish Canals will use £130k to create an important habitat for fish, birds and amphibians in the north of the city.

The Seven Lochs Partnership will develop green corridors for wildlife and attractive, species-rich places for people with an £80k award.

The project will make a large urban habitat network across 21 sites and an area of around 2000 hectares, including new wetlands and grasslands and extending local nature reserves.

A small team of volunteers will be formed– the Species Rich Networks Team (SpRiNT) – and provided with training to carry out specialist habitat creation and management. The project will involve a range of organisations including Glasgow City Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Conservation Volunteers and the Northern Corridor Conservation Volunteers.

Scottish Canals will also create floating wetland habitats on the canal at Pinkston Basin. The project will complement current work at the nearby Claypits Nature Reserve, installing more than 3,600 native aquatic plants on floating platforms to attract a variety of pollinating insects, amphibians, birds and fish.

Wetlands are a high priority habitat in Scotland and the project will create a wetland refuge in the heart of the city, located between the significant regeneration currently taking place at Sighthill and Dundashill as part of the North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System.

These projects are three of 14 successful applicants across Scotland to share Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)'s £1.8 million Biodiversity Challenge Fund over a two-year period The funding will support large-scale projects that aim to deliver rapid change on the ground to help our most at-risk habitats and species, including mammals and birds, connect existing nature reserves and tackle non-native invasive species.

The fund aims to tackle socioeconomic issues such as poor health and high unemployment by creating and improving green spaces in communities, as well as attempting to mitigate effects of global climate change.

Suzanne Burgess, Buglife’s Scotland Manager, said: “We’re delighted that our ground-breaking, landscape-scale project has received this funding from SNH. We’re now really looking forward to working with our partners, fantastic volunteers and local communities around Glasgow and the other project areas to try and halt the decline in Scotland’s vital pollinating insects.”

Along with climate change, nature and biodiversity loss is a global and generational threat to human well-being. However, enhancing nature is recognised as being part of the solution to the climate emergency.

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, Mairi Gougeon, announced the awards on a visit to one of the successful projects in Edinburgh. She said: “I am delighted that, through the Biodiversity Challenge Fund, the Scottish Government and SNH can support these fantastic projects across the country to safeguard some of our most vulnerable species and habitats, and protect them from invasive species. Their success will play a crucial role in our efforts to improve nature and help Scotland meet its international biodiversity commitments.”

Another project growing thanks to SNH funding is The Edinburgh Shoreline Project, an initiative that works with communities along its 16.7 miles of coastline, enabling communities to appreciate their local history and biodiversity and work together to help nature flourish.

In June, the project was awarded funding from SNH's Biodiversity Challenge Fund for habitat creation along the Edinburgh coast.


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The Wild Line shares funding with 13 other projects and will work alongside Edinburgh University, City of Edinburgh Council, Glasgow University and Scottish Seabird Centre to create or improve large-scale habitats for pollinators, rocky shore invertebrates and seabirds until September 2020.

Man-made habitats will be installed on hard sea wall defences to create homes for species such as barnacles and periwinkles and 10 new wildflower meadows will be created in the north of the city.

The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick will undertake a large scale removal of plastics along the Edinburgh and East Lothian coasts.

Other projects across Glasgow, Bishopbriggs and Dunfermline will work to improve habitats and biodiversity, tackle flood risk and create new active travel routes, community gardens and play areas.

SNH Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska, said: “Climate change is one of the key drivers of nature loss – but it’s not too late to act. In fact, improving nature is also one of the solutions to the climate emergency.

“There are five areas we need to focus on to improve biodiversity – restoring our habitats, changing our use of the land and sea, reducing pollution and climate change and tackling invasive non-native species. These projects will improve nature across Scotland for all our benefit.

“We know we have a big task before us but we have been working for years with our partners to meet international nature targets. We are ready to deliver the transformational change needed to bring a nature rich future for Scotland.”