Orkney Islands Council has published its Biodiversity Report. Some of the actions which have taken place you may have begun to notice.
Tree planting has taken place in many parts of Orkney over the years. In 2016 as part of the centenary commemorations on the sinking of HMS Hampshire volunteers planted 746 trees provided by the Woodland Trust to create the HMS Hampshire Wood, Kirkwall.
Pond areas with wildflower planting have been established at the junction of the Old and New Scapa Road and in the grounds of the Pickaquoy Centre.
These actions will take some years before people see the difference they can make although the wildflower planting at Pickie was particularly bonnie last summer.
Community, schools and young people have been instrumental in the success of Orkney’s biodiversity projects:
- a wildflower and bumblebee event in the island of Egilsay (with RSPB)
- courses on identification and recording run by the Orkney Wildlife Information and Records Centre (OWIARC)
- ‘Bag the Bruck’ and ‘Pick Up Three Pieces’
- Happy Valley, declared as a Local Nature Reserve and looked after by the Friends of Happy Valley
Also noticeable to members of the public and which sometimes provokes criticism is allowing some grass verges to grow in order to encourage wildflowers. Selected verges are left to be cut in September.
There are also policies which Orkney Islands Council incorporates into its planning:
- Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan
- Orkney Open Space Strategy
- Orkney Outdoor Access Strategy
- Procurement Strategy 2016-18
The report is the second one completed by Orkney and is for the 1st January 2015 to 31st December 2017.