Associate Feature: Rangers are renewable
Scotland’s developing Renewables sector has opened up an opportunity to apply the skills and experience of an established profession to new and perhaps surprising circumstances. There are examples of the land based wind farm sector having employed Countryside Rangers to promote site based activities. Were proof needed of the adaptability of Rangers to meet new challenges then being site based on a wind farm must surely be a prime example.
Despite the presence of huge wind turbines and the associated infrastructure, these remote and upland locations retain importance as habitats for the specialised flora and fauna that can be found there. This includes some of the more vulnerable UK populations of plants and insects where careful management can help protect them. These can be threatened by the need to access the site by heavy machinery, by the erection of temporary and permanent structures, but most of all by lack of awareness. Biological survey work and the implementation of habitat management plans are often at the core of a Rangers duties and the application of these skills is pertinent here too.
Establishing a windfarm creates well engineered access routes too. This presents an opportunity for Rangers to encourage and support public access to parts of our landscape which previously had limited appeal. This enhances the tourism potential of the area, opening it up for mountain biking, trekking and environmental education.
By managing visitor pressure and seizing the opportunity to engage with the visiting public, Countryside Rangers add significant value to the site and help to engender some stewardship towards the biodiversity found there. This in turn helps reduce the intimidating presence of large wind turbines and allows the public to see them in a more positive light.
These are powerful examples of the benefits our profession can deliver for a Renewables sector looking to achieve meaningful community mitigation as part of their development work.
This article is sponsored by the Scottish Countryside Rangers.