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Public invited to feed into marine plan

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By Christie Breen
Farming
Public invited to feed into marine plan

PEOPLE across Dumfries and Galloway are being invited to give their views about potential investment in the region’s marine ecosystems.

The project known as Solway Coast and Marine Project (SCAMP), is an ambitious 15-year scheme led by the council’s environment team and the Solway Firth Partnership.

It hopes to explore how private sector investment might be secured to fund the restoration of coastal and marine habitats, such as seagrass, salt-marsh, coastal woodlands and native oyster beds.

The council have announced a series of community engagement activities due to begin next month to give people the opportunity to feed into the project at the earliest stage.

Consultant Barbara Chalmers, is leading the engagement discussions, which involves a series of in-person ‘walk and talk’ meetings led by environmental experts, online Zoom meetings and an online survey. Speaking about the project, she said: “Dumfries and Galloway has a huge coastline, stretching all the way from Loch Ryan in the west to the inner Solway Firth at Gretna in the east, and the coast plays an important role in the day to day lives of many of our region’s communities.

“Marine ecosystem restoration is really important in tackling climate change and the nature crisis, while also fostering sustainable economic prosperity for our coastal communities. One of the reasons I’m so pleased to be involved in this project is that this is all about getting it right for local people as well as doing good things for nature. The project is asking local people to be involved in developing a vision for coastal investment at the very earliest of stages.”

Clair McFarlan, partnership manager of Solway Firth Partnership, welcomed the consultation and added: “This is a really exciting opportunity for local people to help shape a project that could, in the decades to come, transform marine ecosystems in our region for the better. Our coastline is part of our shared natural heritage, and we should all have a stake in its future. I’m looking forward to hearing local peoples’ ideas for what natural capital investment could mean for local communities and local ecosystems, and I’d encourage everyone with an interest in our coastline to take part.”

The online survey opens today and will run till the end of January 2024. Members of the public can take part by visiting: www.surveymonkey.com/r/solway coast

Online Zoom meetings take place on December 4 and 5, while full details of walk and talk in-person meetings are available at: Eventbrite.co.uk and search ‘Solway firth partnership’.

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