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Could Datasets Help Protect Scotland’s Countryside?

Duncan MacRae


Kilchurn castle, Loch Awe, Scotland

The Scottish Government has made £250,000 of funding available for projects that demonstrate how datasets can be used to support the local environment.

The Scottish Government is welcoming organisations to apply for a share of £250,000 for projects that support developer decisions in the Scottish countryside.

Scotland’s stunning, varied landscapes are among the most defining aspects of the country, and tourism in the Scottish countryside is worth £420 million per year. The Government believes that access to attractive and accessible countryside can make a significant contribution to peoples’ quality of life and wellbeing.

However, landscape damage and other changes can result in the loss of local distinctiveness and wildlife diversity, and erode the quality of nearby towns and cities.

Datasets are useful in informing decisions around land management, according to the Government, which has made the £250,000 available through an Innovate UK Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

The Government is looking for projects that can demonstrate how datasets can be used to support the local environment. Funding for the competition forms part of the GovTech Catalyst for Scottish National Heritage (SNH).

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A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “The competition is looking for projects that will investigate how technology can deliver better targeted information and advice to users – including landowners, developers and local authorities – to support proposals that limit, damage or benefit conservation efforts.”

Projects should detail how Scottish National Heritage can use new and current datasets in proposals to limit damage or enhance their environmental impact. They should also explore how data can be shared in non-digital formats, such as maps. On top of this, the projects must help users identify organisations involved in the development or approval of proposals where SNH is not the authorising body.

Around five research and development contracts are expected to be awarded, with projects starting on the 1st of October 2019 and lasting up to three months.

A second phase will then see up to £500,000 of research and development cash awarded to the two most successful projects, in order to create prototypes and conduct testing.

Duncan MacRae


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