A once familiar name in rural Scotland has been re-born with the re-launch of the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG).
While the original Scottish FWAG, a charity run by a network of employed advisers, folded in 2009, the old name is being given new life in Scotland by a group of independent farm conservation advisers.
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“The new Scottish Farming & Wildlife Advisers’ Group is a very different animal,” said chairman Richard Lockett. “The current network of conservation specialists is similar, but this is now in the shape of fully independent consultants running their own businesses.”
He said that ex-FWAG advisers had come together with other independent consultants to form an association aimed at collaborating to promote the farm conservation message.
Lockett, who runs his own consultancy business as well as a small-scale farming operation near Dingwall, said that things had moved on since the original FWAG disappeared.
“The need for skilled conservation advice remains – but how that happens now is totally different. Scottish FWAG members today run their own businesses and have the flexibility to decide what best works for them and the needs of their area, whether it be farms, estates, crofts, nature reserves or smallholdings.”
Lockett said the organisation’s 12 members covered most of Scotland, adding: “Farming and conservation in Scotland are completely interwoven.
“Many of the issues we face today – biodiversity loss, water quality, climate change, flood management – are directly linked to land use decisions.”