Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Local Group
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Just Transition Participatory Budgeting Fund

We are one of 46 projects in Aberdeenshire to have been shortlisted to receive funding from The Just Transition Fund – and it’s time to get voting! Voters need to be Aberdeenshire residents and vote for 10 projects they would like to see funded.

Visit the AVA website to read about each application and cast your votes for 10 projects.

Vote online at:

Each project will help advance Aberdeenshire’s transition to a carbon neutral, sustainable future.

Online voting is now open and will close at 5pm on Friday 16th December 2022.

JTPB Application Aberdeenshire (AVA) Nov 2022

Summary of Application

Ranging for Nature
Communities are the beating heart of successful initiatives. Our project will provide skills, knowledge and resources to empower communities in the North East of Scotland to protect and enhance the nature on their doorsteps. We know local action can be a powerful tool to reverse loss of nature and contribute significantly to tackling climate change.

This project will not only allow immediate actions but will build a lasting capacity for communities to do their part for nature conservation and locking up carbon.
If our project succeeds in being funded we will:

Volunteer conservation work by community teams will assist in climate change mitigation by maintaining healthy woodlands and by restoring a peat bog on Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves but also much more widely in Aberdeenshire.

One of our major aims is to reach and engage communities, including under-represented groups and young people. By providing education, skills and experience, volunteers will grow in confidence and be empowered to continue conservation work within their community projects.

Scotstown Moor Tree Planting Consultation Update.

!! Follow up action required for Scotstown Moor tree planting !!

The Aberdeen City Council consultation regarding the Scotstown Moor tree plantinghas come to an end. Despite the local Trust group raising concerns, the Council has yet to engage formally with the Trust on this matter. We are concerned that the Council may try to rush through proposals with very little time to review the final proposals and provide feedback.

We are urging our City members and anyone who lives in the City and/or uses Scotstown Moor to get in touch with their local councillor to put pressure on Aberdeen City Council to be open and transparent about the plans and the consultation process. If you are unsure how to do this, we have drafted a template letter that can be used in an email or letter to your councillor. The contact details for your local City councillor can be found on the Aberdeen City website by selecting the appropriate name, party or ward. https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx

If you share our concerns and take follow up action, the local Trust group would like to hear form you and we can provide further support if you wish.

Here is the pro forma letter: Letter to Local Councillor

Scotstown Moor Tree Planting Consultation.

Aberdeen City Council is currently holding a public consultation about large-scale tree planting at Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve (LNR) with closing date Monday August 22nd (see poster below). The SWT Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Local Group Committee is worried about these plans, and will be responding through an additional organisational consultation process which we have been told will begin when a hydrology report has been received to inform comment. In the meantime, we encourage you all to express personal opinions using the on-line questionnaire available here.

Although the details of our organisational response will depend on the proposals and supporting information received, please find below some points which we are likely to make that you might like to consider when formulating your personal response to the questionnaire.

Feel free to copy this message to non-members if you think it would be of interest to them.


Roger Owen
Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Local Group

  1. Scotstown Moor is one of only three Local Nature Reserves owned and managed by Aberdeen City Council and as such it plays an important role for biodiversity and the people of Aberdeen City. The Scottish Wildlife Trust (the Trust) welcomes the attention given to improving the long-term management of Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve (LNR) but is strongly opposed to the large-scale tree planting proposed.
  2. The vision presented in the consultation (turn Scotstown Moor into Scotstown Forest) runs counter to, and will prevent opportunities for the realisation of, an alternative vision already developed by the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership (NESBiP) and NatureScot for the site (return the ‘Moor’ to Scotstown Moor) which envisages large-scale restoration of the original heathland and protecting the existing wetland. We urge respondents to the consultation to ask that no long-term commitment to woodland planting be made until an agreed position can be reached about the long-term direction of management of the LNR.
  3. It is disappointing that the public consultation made no mention of this competing vision, nor of alternative changes that could be made to improve the biodiversity of the grassland on the site (as Aberdeen City Council has to its credit achieved at Den of Maidencraig Local Nature Reserve).
  4. The statement on the questionnaire “The Site of Special Scientific Interest in the southern part of Scotstown Moor won't be affected by the new planting” is surprising given the likely impact of extensive tree planting on ground water and the consequential impact on the wetland features of the LNR.
  5. Question 7 asks: “This new woodland would be part of the Council's Climate Change Plan and will contribute towards a Net Zero and Climate Resilient City. What do you think about this?” Tree planting for mitigating climate change should be appropriately sited and needs to take account of local conditions and the impact it has on other biodiversity. In this case, the potential for impact on the LNR wetlands and their associated rare plants, is a great concern. Additionally, the opportunity to help redress the biodiversity crisis by restoring the original heathland, which is a rare habitat within the city, will be lost.
  6. Some modest expansion of the number of trees on Scotstown Moor may be appropriate, but the scheme being consulted on is much too extensive. A gradual expansion of tree cover in selected areas, leading to an increase in the cover of locally native tree species with a mixed age structure, would be more in keeping with the Local Nature Reserve status of the site.
  7. Of concern too is a separate proposal submitted to Scottish Forestry by Aberdeen City Council for restocking the woodland block towards the north end of Scotstown Moor LNR following clearance of storm damage and thinning. These proposals include a large proportion (51%) of Sitka spruce amongst the conifers, and a substantial proportion of sycamore (30%) amongst the mixed broadleaves. Whilst such species may be suitable for planting at other sites, their use at Scotstown Moor is not in keeping with the LNR. [Proposals submitted to Scottish Forestry, on which SWT will comment are available here with deadline Tues 23rd August, though you have to ask what “mixed broadleaves” means to find out about the sycamore.]
Scotstown Moor Planning Consultation Poster

Esther Woodward Legacy.

We are delighted to share with you the news that a memorial bench in memory of Esther Woodward, one of the founders of the local Scottish Wildlife Trust group, will be placed in Gight Wood. For those of you who did not know Esther, Dr Mark Young has prepared a short biography that highlights her drive and energy – a conservationist ahead of her time.

Photo of Gight Wood
Gight Wood
Esther Woodward was for many years a leading light among conservationists in NE Scotland. Originally from Northern Ireland, Esther trained as a landscape architect and moved to Scotland in the 1960s, where her first major project was to design the tree planting, and other facets of the landscape, surrounding the new town of Cumbernauld. As you drive down the main road to Glasgow, think kindly of Esther as you pass.

Esther then moved to NE Scotland, joining Grampian Council and becoming involved in environmental planning, especially in Aberdeenshire. She stayed with Aberdeenshire Council until her retirement. Esther joined what was then the most active natural history group in the area, The Northern Naturalist’s Club, with its fortnightly excursions to local places and its monthly indoor meetings in the winter, led by the amazing energy of John Coutts. There she met others who moved with her to become the founders of the local Scottish Wildlife Trust group. These included Mark Young, Walter Henrickson (both like Esther ex-chairs of the group), a patron Patience Badenoch-Nicolson, a forester Oonagh Watt and Sandy Payne, an expert botanist, who became the local secretary. Esther’s key role was to sift through planning applications and forestry proposals to identify those on which the Trust would make comments, and her planning experience was vital to ensure our efforts were well directed.

One of Esther’s main initiatives in the Council was to establish what became known as SINS sites scheme (Sites of Interest to the Natural Sciences), which identified and listed those places of slightly more local importance than SSSIs, but which still deserved protection. Under a different name the system survives to this day and if planners notice that an application is on or near a SINS site, there is a panel of experts, who can be called on to offer an opinion on the likely impact of the plans. The scheme was well ahead of its time and is much admired.

Esther was rightly proud to be one of four local naturalists who together bought The Crannach, a hill and bordering streams just on the right as you approach Ballater from Aberdeen. At the time this was typically over-burnt and grazed, and the quartet began a very ambitious and successful scheme to restore natural woodland, planting thousands of trees and protecting the best examples of what was already there. This is now a wonderful place for wildlife. As they all began to realise that older age meant less strength for heavy outdoor work, the hill became an RSPB reserve.

With others from the Trust, and helped by her great experience in tree planting, Esther was influential in the purchase and management of Gight Woods, a local Trust reserve. She advised on planting and also took part in many planting sessions, using locally native trees sourced from tree seed at Gight, raised by local Trust members, and then planted back into the wood. Esther loved Gight and was very proud of the Trust’s work there. It is, therefore, very appropriate that she should have a seat in her honour at Gight, positioned with a view that she really loved. It is a very suitable acknowledgement of her work for the environment of NE Scotland and for the Trust.

-- Written by Mark Young, June 2022
Photo of Gight Wood
Mature trees alongside young trees, sourced from tree seed at Gight.
Moth Quiz Answers

Spring 2021 Newsletter - Moth Quiz Answers.

The Answer Sheet to the Moth Identification Quiz in our Spring 2021 Newsletter.

Annual General Meeting - National SWT

Saturday 12 September, 10.30am – 12 noon

Join us as we celebrate the Trust’s achievements over the previous year and discuss how we have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, and announce our new Council members following this year’s election. Full details and registration here. Again grateful if you could share this on any group social media and websites.

National Members' Day Live

September 5th 2020, 1pm to 3.30pm

Award-winning photographer Charlie Phillips is guest speaker at our National Members’ Day as we celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters brought to you live and online, full details and registration can be found here.. Grateful if you could share this on any group social media and websites.
Aberdeen Climate Action Talk

Aberdeen Climate Action Talk

20th March 2020, 19:30 at Queens Cross Parish Church. What can Individuals do about Climate Change? With Prof. Pete Smith, Aberdeen University.
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