Tweed’s Derek aims for balance

Derek Robeson. Senior project officer for Tweed Forum.

Derek Robeson. Senior project officer for Tweed Forum.

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Borders environmentalist Derek Robeson has joined the popular conservation charity Tweed Forum based at Drygrange Steading.

The Kelso-born conservationist worked for the now-defunct Borders Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group for 15 years and has been a consultant with SAC Consulting, part of SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, for the past four years.

The senior project officer will be working on two areas initially: a Scottish Government land use strategy pilot for the Borders and flood management.

The dad-of-two, who has a doctorate in geology, said: “It’s an exciting opportunity. I’m very pleased at the prospect of working on these agendas.

“Tweed Forum is at the cutting edge of river management and is already demonstrating that by working closely with land managers, it is possible to achieve multiple benefits at the catchment scale.

“I’m looking forward to working in partnership with all the organisations active in the Borders. Local farmers are very good at producing food and at the same time we are required – legally and ethically – to look after the environment. It’s about getting balance.”

He said there is already a lot of pressure on the land, and, with the world facing climate change, an increasing population and extreme weather events, he hopes to help the region makes the best use of its land, such as producing food on the best land, growing trees on poorer ground, finding the right place for housing and implementing flood management measures.

He explained: “I have always been interested in the environment, since I was a child.

“Conservation, land use, farming, forestry, flood management – all these things are inter-related. Any one aspect has an impact on everything else.”

The land use strategy pilot is being managed by Scottish Borders Council and aims to see land-based businesses working with nature to contribute more to Scotland’s prosperity, responsible stewardship of natural resources, and urban and rural communities being better connected to the land.

Tweed Forum director Luke Comins said: “We are pushing the boundaries on a number of land and water management areas and Derek is very well placed to assist with these endeavours.”