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Nature in Shetland

winner of a Shetland Environment Award 2004


Living Shetland



Outline of the Living Shetland Project Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP)

Brief Summary

The Living Shetland Project aims to engage communities in developing priorities for safeguarding local biodiversity and utilising this biodiversity to contribute to the socio-economic well-being of Shetland. The main objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Encourage local communities to work in partnership with relevant agencies and organisations to evaluate the biodiversity of their areas, so as to agree priorities.

  2. Develop habitat, species, sectoral and area-based local biodiversity plans with targets and proposal for action; and identify educational, economic and community development benefits.

  3. Promote the concept of biodiversity as a key component of sustainable development in Shetland

  4. Raise awareness through education and training of the need and responsibilities for biodiversity conservation and enhancement at a local level.

The Living Shetland Projects will:

  • raise awareness of the environment and wildlife;

  • raise awareness of the issues affecting the environment in a national and local context;

  • raise awareness of the importance of environmentally sustainability as a contribution to rural sustainability;

  • increase community involvement in environmental management;

  • increase community liaison with decision-makers;

  • enhance partnerships in public and private sectors;

  • increase appreciation of the local landscape;

  • increase community confidence and capacity;

  • increase income into the local community through other activities associated with biodiversity

  • and increase tourism, marketability, public and private sector investment.

Living Shetland Project Outline, by steering group

The Steering Group perceives the principal functions of an LBAP to be:

  • to promote effective local working partnerships to facilitate the LBAP process

  • to engage the community in the process so that it delivers what the community wants. Without community ownership the steering group feels this important initiative will fail.

  • to contribute to sustainable development within Shetland

  • to explore possible mechanisms for utilising biodiversity initiatives to contribute to the economic and social well-being of Shetland

  • to raise awareness through education and training, of the need and responsibilities for biodiversity conservation and enhancement in a local context

  • to identify locally agreed targets for species and habitats and translate them into effective action at the local level

  • to translate national targets for species and habitats, as specified in the UK Action Plan into effective local action where appropriate

  • to explore the possibilities for funding local biodiversity projects and provide a basis for monitoring progress in local biodiversity conservation.

The LBAP process forms an essential part of Shetlandís Local Agenda 21 by converting the broad desire for sustainable development into specific actions aimed at protecting certain species and habitats, whilst also providing economic, social and wider cultural benefits.

Ultimately, the Steering Groupís strategy is to:

  • conserve biodiversity through community involvement and action driving the process and setting objectives

  • offer guidance when required and ensure funding from the partners to enable the employment of appropriate project staff.


 An LBAP will highlight the contribution of local wildlife to Shetlandís heritage and culture and help in marketing Shetlandís character; this is certainly relevant to tourism but, in a broader sense, holds opportunities for other marketing activities, most obviously in the food sector.  Some likely benefits are that it would:

  • help relevant organisations agree costed Action Plans so as to increase opportunities to exploit available funding for biodiversity initiatives.

  • help relevant organisations create a platform for influencing national policy so that Shetlandís interests are taken fully into account.

  • create a forum so that all interested parties/individuals feel they have an opportunity to influence biodiversity issues both at a community level and at a Shetland-wide level.

  • utilise Shetlandís clean, productive environment and its rich biodiversity to help focus on relevant initiatives e.g. heritage tourism and to position local products to take maximum advantage of environmentally-friendly labelling so as to maximise their potential to contribute to the economy and social fabric of Shetland.

  • form an essential part of the Local Agenda 21 process by converting a desire for sustainable development into specific actions and by providing indicators of the health of the environment.  This may also contribute to arguments for local control of resources (e.g. fishing)

  • illustrate the importance of biodiversity conservation not only for the economic and social well-being of Shetland but also for the quality of life for its residents.


Contact: Living Shetland Project, c/o SCFWAG, Agricultural Marts, Staney Hill, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0QW  Tel. (01595) 690832


This site is not directly connected to any of the organisations mentioned, so comments  may not necessarily reflect the views of the organisations, clubs or societies  involved. The pages on this website remain the intellectual property of the authors. They may be freely downloaded, quoted or used for any purpose, providing acknowledgement is given to the website and/or the author/s. No liability is accepted for the accuracy of this information.