Conservation ‘casework’ covers a wide range of activities, from planning and development casework (in relation to wind farms, power lines, forestry proposals etc.) through to land management and recreational activities (forestry felling management and major recreational events).
NatureScot and FCS are statutory consultees when it comes to planning. Both organisations regularly use SRMS data in conjunction with SRSGs and others in relation to ‘casework’, allowing informed advice and responses to be given. Advice and responses are generally development specific and may include mitigation measures to avoid or minimise disturbance. For example, SRMS data are invaluable in terms of helping FCS reconcile forest management and recreational activity with raptor protection and conservation – during the breeding season, forest operations and recreational events are not allowed within exclusion zones that are established around known raptor nests. SRMS data are also used to inform planning, surveys and assessments for development and planning related projects.
RSPB uses SRMS data on species such as Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Peregrine and Merlin when evaluating whether RSPB is going to object to proposed developments, such as wind farms and other major constructions that might affect the habitat and/or mortality of these raptors. In general, RSPB does not object to wind farm applications, but if they are located close to important breeding sites of the species listed above, objections will be submitted. A dialogue with developers can often resolve potential conflict situations, but as a science-led organisation, RSPB relies heavily on objectively collected data (i.e. SRMS) and studies assessing the risks of such developments.