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The Coastal Communities Network Newsletter
January 2022

Happy New Year to all of our members, friends and supporters! 2022 has been designated Scotland's Year of Stories - we'd love to share your stories here.  Please send them to me!

This month: Welcome to the new CCN Coordinator, an update on recent CCN action and info on current government consultations and fundraising opportunities.

Welcome to the CCN Coordinator!
We're pleased to announce that FFI have recruited a dedicated Coordinator for CCN!  The Coastal Communities Network Coordinator will work alongside FFI’s team in Scotland to ensure dedicated support to the Coastal Communities Network and its constituent members, and undertake delivery of specific actions identified by the CCN Advisory Group.  We are delighted to welcome Alan Munro into the role from 7th February and look forward to introducing Alan to CCN's members and friends.

Alan is an ecology and marine management graduate, with research experience into how local authorities are preparing for coastal climate change impacts in the Forth Estuary and local stakeholder engagement in the marine spatial planning process. Alan has experience supporting project delivery including with Marine Scotland, Young Friends of the Earth and the RSPB. Alan has a professional interest in marine policy and believes local communities who rely on coastal and marine resources for their livelihoods, health, and well-being should be actively supported to be involved in their stewardship. Alan is also involved with the development of a new group which aims to empower young people to advocate for healthy seas and push for more youth involvement in marine decision making in Scotland.  Alan is currently the FFI Scotland Marine Restoration Intern, completing a piece of research into the potential for a scaled vision for marine restoration in Scotland.

SCA community learning exchanges
Scottish Community Alliance (SCA) seeks to build levels of mutual support across the sector – both by encouraging communities to support one another and by supporting our national networks and intermediaries to collaborate and to share resources to best effect. The Community Learning Exchange which is funded by the Scottish Government is one of the ways in which they seek to do this.
The Community Learning Exchange is a fantastic opportunity for communities who are planning new ventures or thinking about future possibilities, to learn from the experience of other communities. There is nothing so powerful as learning from your peers and the Learning Exchange offers an opportunity to do just that.
SCA are now offering a blended form of the Community Learning Exchange which can include either virtual or face to face visits.The Exchange will fund up to 100% of the costs of a visit by members of one community to another community project up to a limit of £750 to include travel, accommodation and subsistence.
If you are interested, get in touch with Rebecca.


ReSOW UK Project

This SMMR funded project will facilitate informed management and restoration of seagrass for sustainable social, environmental and economic net gains for the UK.The ReSOW UK project brings together teams from the National Oceanography Centre and the Universities of Cardiff, Swansea and Stirling.Project partners include the Marine Management Organisation, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency, the Global Oceans Accounts Partnership, the Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology, Natural England and the Scottish Coastal Communities Network.
I joined the kick-off meeting last week to hear more about the project. There is an impressive array of partners including statutory, academic, NGOs and CCN, and the project covers all of the UK. The project is made up of different workstreams, including natural capital assessment, habitat suitability modelling, ocean literacy, citizen science, extensive mapping, genetic analysis and policy integration. It’s not clear yet what the opportunities are for CCN, but I’ll keep members updated.
Loch Sunart
Loch Sunart arial image © Rowan Aitchison
Reviewing marine management structures in Scotland

From late April 2022, the FFI Scotland team will be hosting a student from the University of Cambridge Mphil in Conservation Leadership, who will be undertaking a project to review marine management structures in Scotland. 

This is an idea that arose during the last CCN workshop in October 2021, when CCN members noted they struggle to engage effectively with statutory agencies as a result of (i) lack of understanding and/or clarity about their roles and how they interact and (ii) some perceived weaknesses in the structures and/or operational delivery of key statutory bodies.  

This project will include desk-based research and key informant interviews, and the outputs are aimed to fill the identified knowledge gap, enabling CCN to engage more effectively on key issues.

CCN Meetings Update

NatureScot CEO, Francesca Osowska
Earlier this month, members of the CCN Advisory Group met virtually with Francesca Osowska, CEO of NatureScot, following CCN’s letter on marine restoration in October 2021.  CCN members were encouraged by the meeting, and by Francesca’s offer to meet on an ongoing basis (c. 6 monthly).  We've since pencilled in another meeting for late June. 

NatureScot Marine Ecosystems Team
CCN members met with the NatureScot Marine Ecosytems team in mid-November and late January, to discuss issues including marine restoration, MPA management, Aqauculture risk assessment, rewilding and collaboration.  There was some good discussion, and agreement to plan another meeting in the summer, in-person if possible.

Ariane Burgess MSP
Ariane arranged a meeting to hear from CCN members, to take away key issues to raise in Parliament, and to discuss the Revitalising Coastal Communities campaign. CCN groups gave a brief overview of their projects or focus, including the benefits it has brought to the community and local nature, the challenges they face, and what support is required to achieve more. Ariane gave an overview of the Revitalising Coastal Communities campaign, and invited contributions and ideas from everyone.

Planned CCN meetings
TBC – Marine Scotland – HPMAs
TBC – Follow up meeting with Cab Sec Mairi Gougeon and Minister Mairi McAllen
TBC - Aquaculture specific meeting with NatureScot


Revitalising Coastal Communities

You may have seen that there is a Parliamentary motion from Ariane Burgess MSP (H&I, Greens) due to be debated in Parliament on 3rd February:

“Revitalising Coastal Communities
Submitted by: Ariane Burgess, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Green Party.
Date lodged: Friday, December 24, 2021

That the Parliament recognises what it sees as the importance of restoring Scotland’s coastal environment to tackle the climate and nature emergencies; considers that nature restoration presents economic opportunities for coastal communities; believes that communities must be at the heart of nature restoration and the stewardship of their environment; commends the work of the Coastal Communities Network, which consists of 19 community groups across Scotland, and which, it understands, works to preserve and protect the marine environment and to promote sustainable economic activity, based on this natural asset; celebrates, in particular, the community-led seagrass and oyster bed restoration at Loch Craignish, and recognises the potential for further community-led nature restoration across Scotland’s coastlines.”

If you are interested, please do email your local MSPs and ask them to support the motion.
  Find their contact details here.

CCN response to NPF4 call for views

Thanks to John Aitchison for submitting a response to the call for views on the draft National Planning Framework (NPF4), on behalf of CCN.  The response focuses on the impacts of aquaculture, although also touches on issues such as lack of ecosystem-level assessment.  Read the response.

Note, this is separate from the larger NPF4 consultation, which is open until 31st March 2022. SPICe have prepared briefings on NPF4 in relation to different topics, including aquaculture, nature emergency and climate change.

Friends of Loch Hourn website and call to action

CCN member Friends of Loch Hourn have recently launched a fantastic new website.  Please do check it out and share widely.  Friends of Loch Hourn used the website to increase community support for representations to the planned expansion of Mowi’s salmon farm in the loch, by creating a step by step guide
Image © COAST
Welcome to COAST’s new Director

COAST has an action-packed year ahead, which kick-started last week as they welcomed a new Executive Director, Áine Purcell-Milton, who takes over from Andrew Binnie.
Áine is a diver, kite surfer and open water swimmer with an MSc in Marine Systems Management from St Andrews University and the Scottish Association for Marine Science. Joining us from the An Taisce Environmental Education Unit in Dublin, Áine is experienced in liaising with communities, local authorities, NGOs and corporations to deliver positive outcomes for the marine environment, and brings a wealth of skills to COAST.
On joining COAST, Áine says: “It is an immense honour to be appointed as the new Executive Director of COAST, especially at such an exciting time of development and expansion for the organisation. I am deeply committed to supporting the highly skilled and passionate team at COAST and look forward to continuing the excellent work already completed.”

Scottish Biodiversity Programme Stakeholder Engagement Group

CCN has been invited to join this stakeholder group for the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Programme.  The SBP is a joint endeavour between Scottish Government and NatureScot and has been created to oversee and coordinate all current and planned activity on biodiversity, to secure a common understanding of priorities and an agreed approach to delivering them.

The Programme covers all aspects of biodiversity work in Scotland including preparing for a new biodiversity strategy which we are committed to publishing in October 2022 and a delivery plan shortly thereafter. 

The purpose of the Stakeholder Engagement Group is to bring together a wide range of interests including local authorities, businesses, eNGOs, land and sea management associations, public bodies and youth groups. Meetings provide a forum for open and constructive dialogue, sharing information, updating on progress and exchanging views to help achieve the objectives of SBP. 

Here are some of my takeaways from the December meeting:
  • The high-level strategy is due by Oct 2022 and a delivery plan by April 2023.  There will be public consultations May-July 22 and Dec 22-Feb23. 
  • Ministers have agreed milestones: immediate action now to halt biodiversity loss at the latest by 2030; and restore and regenerate biodiversity by 2045. 
  • Marine groups are really underrepresented. I noted a comment that Lorna Slater made about being unsure where marine issues fit into her remit, and where the overlap was with her colleagues.
  • We noted that there are no fisheries reps at all on the stakeholder group.
  • The majority of participants were focused on different issues to CCN, like deer management, agricultural land, land related planning, and the conversations reflected this.
  • CCN are the only community-led/focused group that I could see on the call – however I did note that other breakout groups raised the lack of community focus.

Another workshop is planned for 2022.  I have also sent a letter to the programme team requesting that they invite more marine and community-led groups to engage.

S&TCS response to SEPA Sea lice consultation

Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland have shared their response to the SEPA consultation on its proposals for a risk-based spatial framework for managing interactions between sea lice from marine fish farm developments and wild Atlantic salmon in Scotland.  They urge everyone to respond to the consultation (which closes on 14 March 2022), making it clear to SEPA and Scottish Government that what is proposed is nowhere near acceptable.
Sea Kintyre
Sea Kintyre is a nascent project to run marine conservation weeks on the west coast of Kintyre. Typical activities will include shore walk and snorkel biodiversity surveys (looking for signs of priority marine features, and monitoring any changes in their extent), beach cleans, boat based marine surveys, and species ID sessions.The aims of the project are twofold: To educate consumers about how their choices can affect the marine environment (wet wipes, farmed fish, dredged fish etc), and to carry out meaningful citizen science to ascertain the current health of the local marine environment, and monitor any changes. This data may be used to campaign for a Sound of Gigha MPA.
In future these weeks will be aimed at the uninitiated, but this year the plan is to trial them with those already familiar with the issues and with spending time in and around the sea. The initial dates are 28/5 - 4/6 and 25/6 - 3/7, but more weeks can be scheduled.Anyone who is happy to spend a few days in Kintyre and go snorkelling and/or wading about in the chilly Atlantic is invited to email for further information!
Argyll Hope Spot

National (marine?) Parks

I shared a request recently to vote in the Scots Magazine poll on which National Park designation you would most like to see selected as Scotland's next National Park.  The results are in, and, thanks to you all, the Argyll Coast & Islands moved to third place and Wester Ross to fourth!

The Scottish National Parks Strategy Project have also shared their recent briefing with us, on the next steps for National Parks – attached.  If you’re busy, here’s a quick summary:
“In summary: we welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to designate more National Parks.  Community groups in Galloway and the Scottish Borders have already demonstrated clear local community demand for National Parks in those areas.  Proposals for new National Parks should be set in the context of national strategy, informed by historical background and expert advice.  We are ready and willing to support this process in any way we can.”
Nature Restoration Fund

NRF is a competitive fund launched in July 2021, which specifically encourages applicants with projects that restore wildlife and habitats on land and sea and address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. The second round of funding launched on the 14th January 2022.

Expressions of Interest are invited from projects seeking capital funding in the range £25,000-£250,000 and must be received by noon on 18th February 2022. Fund priorities are:

Habitat and species restoration – management for enhancement and connectivity
 Freshwater restoration, including restoring natural flows in rural catchments
Coastal and marine management to promote restoration and resilience
Control of invasive non-native species impacting on nature

More about NRF and how to apply.
Funding Opportunities
Highland & Islands Environment Foundation
The closing date for the next round of HIEF grants will be 9am, Monday 7th March 2022.

British Ecological Society Outreach grants
The British Ecology Society is offering grants of up to £2,000 to support projects that promote and engage the public with the science of ecology. The application deadline is the 18th March at 17:00 GMT.
Information about the grants and how to apply
Community-led Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Equipment Fund
The NatureScot Monitoring Equipment Fund is still open and accepting applications on a rolling basis. Information about the Equipment Fund and how to apply.  Feel free to contact Maddy with any questions.  Please share this funding opportunity widely amongst your networks.
Sea-Changers Coastal Fountain Fund

The purpose of the fund is to reduce the impact of single-use plastic water bottles on coastal habitats by funding communities to purchase water drinking fountains and install them for use by the public in busy or environmentally important areas.  Grants of up to £2,000 are available, per applicant, towards the cost of a fountain.  The closing date for applications is 13th February 2022.
Too many emails?

CCN use googlegroups to power the email discussions amongst the sub-groups (see CCN initiatives).  Did you know: you can change the frequency of these emails, or unsubscribe, by using the link at the bottom of each email (you may need to login to googlegroups using the same email address).  To unsubscribe from the CCN newsletter, use the link at the bottom of this email. 
The CCN Community Support Fund

The Community Support Fund is a dedicated small grant fund operated by Fauna & Flora International to support member groups of the Coastal Communities Network.  Grants can be sought by Network members for discrete projects, to build the capacity or governance of a group, or to support learning and development.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and there is no deadline - feel free to get in touch to discuss any ideas!
Find out more
CCN Facebook Group

Did you know that the Coastal Communities Network has a Facebook Group for Members?  If you are a Member, Supporter or Friend of the Network, then join the group!
Join here
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