We, the public, often have very little say in habitat protection. It is done for us by our representatives who have precious little understanding or desire to know about ecology and environment (magnificently exemplified by former Westminster environment secretary Owen Patterson and now Liz Truss is showing that she is no different) and yet are obliged to balance those (ecology and environment) with the requirements of business, economy, employment and the pursuit of prosperity. They are barely compatible.

I think the best thing we can do is learn as much as we can about our surroundings so that we become local experts to whom the authorities come when they need information. We have done this! When the Scottish Government was preparing its recent Marine Protected Areas (MPA) bill, we locals told SNH (the appropriate government representatives) what natural treasures we knew we had in Lochs Slapin and Eishort and also made sure they remembered that those lochs had been missed out of a seabed survey begun in 2007, abandoned somewhere just south of the Cuillin because of bad weather and then not continued. SNH heard our request that the south Skye lochs should be included in the Small Isles MPA, and though they did not agree with that, they sent out a team to survey the lochs with excellent results.

We should do our utmost to collect biological information, submit records and lobby the statuory authorities, the Highland Council and the Scottish Government until they listen to what we have to say. We are the local experts. We also have councillors and members of the Scottish and Westminster parliaments responsible to us, who need to be in no doubt that we know what we are talking about and are a force to be reckoned with. 







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