£4.2m lifeline for Scotland’s most vulnerable species

Wednesday 29th June 2022

Threatened species in Scotland have today received a £4.2m lifeline from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The funding will support urgent action to help save 37 of Scotland’s most vulnerable coastal and island species, including the Great Yellow Bumblebee, Scottish Primrose and Little Tern.

NatureScot received the £4,232,000 award for its ground-breaking Species on the Edge partnership project with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, the Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife Scotland and RSPB Scotland.

The four-and-a-half year programme will support seven project areas, from the Solway to Shetland and from the East Coast to the Outer Hebrides, benefitting species including midge-munching Soprano Pipistrelles, vital pollinators like the Great Yellow Bumblebee, rare amphibians such as the Natterjack Toad, wading birds including terns, Lapwings and Curlews and the ‘jewel of the north’, the Scottish Primrose.

Working with some of Scotland’s most geographically remote and diverse communities, the partnership will draw on their expert scientific knowledge, local networks and unparalleled experience to create opportunities for people and communities to get more involved in protecting local wildlife. This will provide a vital lifeline for some of our most nationally vulnerable and internationally important coast and island flora and fauna.

The State of Nature Scotland Report 2019 showed that, from 1994 to 2016, 49% of Scottish species have decreased. Of the 6,413 species found in Scotland that have been assessed, 11% have been classified as threatened with extinction. Species on the Edge will work as part of action urgently required to halt further losses by 2030 and restore and regenerate nature by 2045.

Of the 37 species targeted by the project, 19 are threatened by land use change, eight from climate change and the remainder through a combination of influences such as pollution, invasive non-native species and exploitation.

Francesca Osowska, NatureScot’s Chief Executive, said:  “Scotland’s biodiversity is in decline and, combined with the climate emergency, some of our most vulnerable species are now on the brink of extinction. Their survival isn’t just important for conservation. Biodiversity loss is a global threat to human wellbeing so it’s vital we take action to halt this decline now.

“Species on the Edge is one of the UK’s most ambitious nature projects and an essential part of our response to the nature and climate crises. We are incredibly grateful to receive this support today from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“This funding will support our work to boost Scotland’s species recovery, combining knowledge, expertise and resources to protect, restore and enhance Scotland’s nature for future generations.”

Caroline Clark, Scotland Director, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:  “Scotland’s coastline is dramatic, rugged, wild and beautiful. At the same time it is home to a fragile ecology, a natural heritage that we have a duty to protect.

“I am delighted that thanks to National Lottery Players we are able fund Species on the Edge. NatureScot and their partners bring huge amounts of expertise, experience and enthusiasm to this ambitious project to safeguard and encourage some of our most vulnerable coastal inhabitants.”

In addition to the £4.2m The National Lottery Heritage Fund award announced today, Species on the Edge is receiving £500k from the Scottish Government, £133,136 from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, £120,000 from the Dulverton Trust and £30,000 from the Bannister Trust.