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Formation of the Scottish Geology Trust

The Scottish Geology Trust is being established to promote and celebrate Scotland’s geology and its value to society, and encourage its conservation. This initiative has wide support within the geological community, including from the various geological societies in Scotland, the Geoparks, universities and museums, and geoconservation groups and the Scottish Geodiversity Forum.

The Trust will be a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) and a membership organisation, seeking subscriptions and donations from individuals and organisations. We intend to build capacity to employ professional staff who will lead the organisation and raise funds to support the work of the Trust and our partners.

The key aims of the Trust are:

1. To promote the role and value of Scotland’s geology by increasing recognition of the importance of geology in Scotland and its contribution to sustainable economic development, including tourism, the responsible utilisation of natural resources, water supply and safe disposal of waste, and its role in underpinning our landscape, heritage and supporting biodiversity; to encourage promotion of geological sites of local, national and international importance.

2. To encourage geoconservation and the best stewardship possible of Scotland’s geological sites of local, national and international importance; to support local communities and organisations to achieve this including by coordinating activities and sharing information on best practice.

3. To encourage exploration, understanding and enjoyment of geology as a science; to support learning about geology and landscape in schools and colleges and a better understanding amongst the general public; to encourage industry and university sectors to support geological education and providing resources to help inspire enlightenment in the next generation of geoscientists and engineers;

4. To promote the cultural value of Scotland’s geology, by creating a sense of place, and its importance in public health and well-being and to collaborate with others on geology related projects engaging the arts.

Constitution and structure

A draft constitution has been drawn up and agreed, and will be submitted to the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) for approval.

The new charity will be managed by a board of up to 12 trustees, some directly elected by the membership and others co-opted represent key sectors or to fill skills gaps. Trustees will all be appointed for fixed terms, with a limit on the number of terms that can be served. It is expected that the board will appoint an executive committee who will be responsible for day-to-day operations.

What will the Trust do?

An initial call for suggestions has highlighted many opportunities for the Trust to work with other organisations to achieve its aims. These include supporting the Geoparks, preparing educational materials, encouraging more interpretation, promotion, facilities and better access at key geological sites such as Siccar Point and Fossil Grove. However, the Trust will be more than just a fund-raising body, and will aim to have an active membership that are kept informed with regular communications, are offered training and networking opportunities, and will be encouraged to contribute to projects.

Relationship with the Forum and Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter

The Forum fully supports the development of Scottish Geology Trust and the Forum will be dissolved when the new charity is established. We are working to ensure that the strengths and reputation of the Forum feeds in to the new charity.

Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter was first published by the Forum in 2012, and encourages the promotion and management of Scotland’s geodiversity and better integration of geodiversity into policy and guidance, consistent with the economic, social, cultural and environmental needs of Scotland. The Charter is supported by more than 90 organisations, and is in close alignment with the aims of the Trust.

Ongoing development of the Charter is being taken on by a new “Strategic Geodiversity Committee”, which seeks to have broad representation of all sectors involved in geodiversity in Scotland and to promote the Charter, engage with signatories and plan follow-on activity and development of the Charter beyond 2023. The Strategic Geodiversity Committee will be independent but is expected to have a close working relationship with the Trust.

Further information

To find out more about the Scottish Geology Trust aor if you wish to be kept informed about future developments, contact Angus Miller, chair@scottishgeodiversityforum.org.

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Scotland needs an Environment Act that rocks!

Brexit has the potential to unravel critical environmental protections in Scotland. The Scottish Geodiversity Forum has joined 35 environmental charities to ‘Fight for Scotland’s Nature’ and foster support for a Scottish Environment Act.

New legislation would provide the opportunity for a more integrated, holistic approach to the environment that recognises the importance of geodiversity – the variety of rocks, landforms, sediments, soils and the natural processes which form and alter them – both in its own right, and as ‘nature’s stage’, providing essential supporting services to maintain biodiversity.

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Siccar Point, a geological SSSI and one of the world’s most important geological sites.

There are a range of existing protection measures for Scotland’s geodiversity, in the networks of geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Local Geodiversity Sites. However there are inconsistencies in the application of these measures, and many sites of national or local importance have no formal recognition in the planning system. This is particularly acute in the stalled process of designating nationally important Geological Conservation Review sites as SSSIs. However, if Scotland adopts new frameworks for monitoring, measuring and reporting on environmental outcomes under a new Scottish Environment Act, there are opportunities for improvement and to recognise the value of geodiversity as part of our natural capital and the benefits and services it provides for society.

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Gannets on the Bass Rock. Scotland’s geology creates a wide variety of habitats.

Scotland’s geodiversity supports a complex mosaic of habitats that host a wide range of species. However, the value of geodiversity as part of nature and natural diversity is not only in the presence of rocky crags and islands, and a varied landscape that provides a range of habitats. It also lies in the ongoing processes that are continually shaping our slopes, river banks and dynamic coasts. The impact of climate change on Scotland is now becoming very obvious, and attention needs to be given to these ongoing geological processes to help inform natural solutions and to give nature the best chance of adapting to change.

A Scotland Environment Act would present unique opportunities to lead the way in giving due attention to the interactions of all parts of nature. This is particularly relevant in Scotland, given our unique and world-class geoheritage that has played a part through the work of the likes of James Hutton and John Muir in recognising the “Earth system” and the interconnectedness of all things.

Scotland has world-class geodiversity that provides the foundation of our remarkable geoheritage and essential benefits for people and nature. It has a profound influence on landscape, the economy, historical and cultural heritage, habitats and species, education, health and well-being.

35 environmental charities from across Scotland, including the Scottish Geodiversity Forum, have come together to ‘Fight for Scotland’s Nature’ and foster support for a Scottish Environment Act. Join us in calling for a Scottish Environment Act to protect and enhance our nature now and in the future!

Local Geodiversity Sites Training Day, Saturday 27 April 2019 Dunkeld

Scottish Planning Policy specifies that Local Nature Conservation Sites designated for their geodiversity (known as Local Geodiversity Sites) should be selected for their value for scientific study and education, their historical significance and cultural and aesthetic value, and for their potential to promote public awareness and enjoyment (SPP3, 2014, policy 198).

This training day is aimed at volunteers who would like to get involved in identifying Local Geodiversity Sites in their area, and Local Authority planners looking for support in enhancing recognition of geodiversity in Local Development Plans and Biodiversity Action Plans. This will be an informal day to facilitate discussion between interested parties, and involve a visit to a potential LGS to get hands-on practice in assessing the geodiversity value of a local site.

Date: Saturday 27 April 2019

Location: Birnam Arts & Conference Centre Station Rd, Birnam, Dunkeld PH8 0DS and the Hermitage, Dunkeld

Train from Glasgow / Edinburgh arrives 11.33am; from Inverness 11.37am. Birnam Arts is two minutes walk from the station, follow signs through the underpass and on down to the main road, turn right and Birnam Arts is 100 metres further on the right.

12 noon Indoor session: Introduction to Local Geodiversity Sites, the planning context and the process of identifying and recording sites.

1.30pm Lunch (included – please notify any dietary requirements).

2.15pm Visit to the Hermitage, practical session to assess a potential LGS.
(Car share to/from the Hermitage car park, just off the A9. From there it is a 800m walk each way on a good path to the Hermitage site).

4.30pm Finish.

Train to Glasgow / Edinburgh departs 4:35pm; to Inverness 4:33pm.

Places are limited, and must be booked in advance. Contact Angus Miller – chair@scottishgeodiversityforum.org | 0131 555 5488.

Cost: Free, although a donation of £10 per person on the day would be appreciated to cover costs.

Further information:
Scottish Geodiversity Forum – Geodiversity for Local Authorities
Scottish Natural Heritage – Local Geodiversity Action Plans
British Geological Survey – Geodiversity, geoheritage and geotourism

82 organisations support Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter

charterScotland has unique and special geology, important not just in its own right but also in its contribution to many different aspects of today’s society. This ‘geodiversity’ – the non-living part of nature – is celebrated and acknowledged in Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter, relaunched this week with the support of 82 signatory organisations.

Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter highlights the importance of geodiversity to Scotland. Our rocks, landforms, sediments and soils, and on-going geological processes, contribute to the environment, the economy, to cultural heritage and to future development. When the Charter was drawn up in 2012, it was the first of its kind internationally. In the last five years, the Charter has inspired and contributed to many successful projects that have celebrated and promoted our amazing geodiversity, and many positive steps have been taken to protect and manage important sites.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform contributed the foreword to the Charter. She said: “I am delighted to support the relaunch of this charter which celebrates Scotland’s dynamic geodiversity. Clearly the need to manage and adapt to the impact of climate change is becoming more and more crucial, and understanding natural processes, including the relationships between geodiversity and our wider ecosystems, is an important part of this.”

Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter has been drawn up by the Scottish Geodiversity Forum, with support from Scottish Natural Heritage, the British Geological Survey among 82 signatory organisations representing a wide range of charities, local authorities, community groups and businesses from across Scotland.

Angus Miller, chair of the Scottish Geodiversity Forum said: “Geodiversity is about our environment, about how and where we live now, about the character of our landscapes, rural and urban areas, and about how we will cope with future changes brought by climate change. We are very pleased with the wide support for this renewed Charter, which demonstrates the growing appreciation of the importance of geodiversity to Scotland.”

Launch event at 10am, Thursday 16 November at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh.

The 51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology revealed!

Our big 51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology project is coming to a close – check out the results at www.scottishgeology.com/best-places/. The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to encourage the public to engage with the best of Scotland’s geology. ‘Revealing the stories in the rocks: raising awareness of Scotland’s outstanding geoheritage’ is linked to the HLF ‘Stories, Stones and Bones’ programme, and in partnership with the ‘Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology’.

Part of the project has involved organising Scotland’s first Geoheritage Festival, which runs throughout October with more than 50 events throughout the country.

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Scotland’s Geoheritage Festival, October 2017

This October, the Scottish Geodiversity Forum is organising Scotland’s first Geoheritage Festival. The programme is now live at …

www.scottishgeology.com/geoheritage-festival/

More events will be added in the next few weeks, if you’re organising an event that celebrates Scotland’s geoheritage this autumn, please get in touch!

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Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter to be renewed for 2018-2023

The Scottish Geodiversity Forum has worked with partners to revise and update Scotland’s Geodiveristy Charter during 2017. Organisations are now invited to sign the renewed Charter by Friday 15 September 2017. This renewed Charter will then be launched at an important conference at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on Thursday 16 November 2017 – this conference will celebrate what has already been achieved and encourage further activity.

Charter web page: further information about signing the Charter

Further information about the Charter launch and conference, 16 November 2017

Contact: Angus Miller, Chair – Scotsh Geodiversity Forum chair@scotshgeodiversityforum.org / 0131 555 5488