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Report highlights importance of wildlife in cities - 04-OCT-2013 : Press Release Details


Report highlights importance of wildlife in cities


A new report issued today (4 October) stresses that brownfield sites are important for wildlife in cities, and urges planners to look after nature right in the heart of Scotland's cities.

Called "brown" because they've been developed on in the past, these areas are quickly re-colonised by insects, flowers and birds. A surprisingly high number of rare species have been recorded from the UK's brownfield sites, including approximately half of rare solitary bees and wasps and a third of rare ground beetles.

The report was commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and written by Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust.

The report provides step-by-step guidance on how to identify the best brownfield sites for wildlife. It recommends that local authorities re-develop brown field sites in a coordinated way to ensure that, as some brownfield sites are lost, others within a city are created. Co-ordinating redevelopment of land will ensure that brownfield areas can contribute to a network of green spaces in town and cities, such as parks, gardens and cemeteries.

Only about 2.5% of Scotland's land is considered urban. But with about 80% of Scotland's people now living in cities, towns and villages, it's within these areas that most of us encounter wildlife.

Other wildlife found on brownfield sites includes brown hares, meadow pipits, marmalade hoverflies, buff-tailed bumblebees, burnet moths, oxeye daisies, black knapweed, clover, ivy, and honeysuckle.

Craig Macadam, Director for Buglife in Scotland, said: "Brownfield sites act a bit like stepping stones, allowing wildlife to move from one part of an urban area to another. Using that analogy, it's possible for local authorities to move stepping stones about in such a way that wildlife can still move from one area to another."

Iain Macdonald, Policy and Advice Officer with SNH, said: "Although the study concentrated on the importance of brownfield sites for wildlife, we found that a lot of these areas are also used by people for walking. Some people might look down on these areas as scruffy or abandoned, yet the truth is quite different. As part of the wider green network, these areas are greatly benefiting people, as well as the nature and wildlife, in our cities."

For the full report, see


Media queries

For more information, contact SNH press & public relations officer,

Vicki Mowat, on 0131 316 2659 or (Tues to Fri) or the Inverness press office on 01463 725 022 (Mon).

Airson na meadhanan Gàidhlig cuiribh fios gu / For Gaelic media enquiries contact Emily Edwards, SNH Inverness, 01463 725 148,


Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at SNH media is also now on Twitter at

Buglife is the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, actively working to save Britain's rarest little animals, including everything from bees to beetles, worms to woodlice and jumping spiders to jellyfish. There are more than 40,000 invertebrate species in the UK, and many of these are under threat as never before. For more information, see

Author: Vicki Mowat
Contact: SNH Press Office