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Caithness wild plant conservation charity to benefit from Landfill fund

12th February 2015

Photograph of Caithness wild plant conservation charity to benefit from Landfill fund

Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity which own and manage Munsary Peatland nature reserve in Caithness have been given a boost for their project to improve the visitor experience to a site of international importance.

Members of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee gave their support to the group's application for £9,914 from the Council's Landfill Communities Fund to go towards a £20,605 project to carry out work to make the site more accessible. This will include rebuilding a dry stane dyke, producing a trail leaflet and increasing access opportunities to the 1,238 hectare site for the local community and visitors to the area.

Landfill Operators, including the Council, pay a tax to the Government for every ton of waste that they dispose of in a landfill site. The Landfill Communities Fund allows the Council to offset a percentage of this amount by donating money to organisations who deliver environmental improvements.

Chair of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee, Councillor Deirdre Mackay said: "This is a good example of how money can be diverted to benefit local groups and community projects which would otherwise be going to the central government.

"Increasing awareness of the plants, birds and other animals that can be found in the Munsary Peatlands by introducing a nature trail guide leaflet will greatly improve the experience for local residents and visitors and the repairs to the dyke will restore this integral part of the Caithness landscape. I hope Plantlife are successful in securing the rest of the funding package for this project as I believe it will certainly add to the attractiveness and uniqueness of this special area."

Following a suggestion made by local councillor, Gillian Coghill, the Committee will encourage the charity to use the work to reinstate the dry stane dyke as a skills training opportunity with the local community. She said: "Publicity and public engagement will be important to the success of this project and I think this is the ideal chance for the group to introduce and build-in to their plans a training element which can also make use of the skills of the local community."

Munsary is north of Latheron and lies at Grid Ref ND2145 - It lies between the Camster estate on the east and Latheronwheel estate on the west. The small Kensary estate is north of it and Latheron Estate to the south. The tributaries of the Strath Burn start at Munsary and flow eventually into Loch Watten

Munsary Peatland Reserve, north of Latheron, was opened in July 2000. The 3,300-acre reserve is owned by
Plantlife - Wild Plant Conservation Charity, and run by a management group, including several local representatives.

Photo - Marsh Saxifrage by Ken Crossan.

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