Biodiversity

Biodiversity contributes to strong, healthy ecosystems that are essential to life.

We believe that there is a place for nature in all our towns, cities and local communities. This includes in and around the railway too. Our stations and depots are all key places that can support biodiversity efforts. You’ll find floral displays at stations across the country to encourage wildlife, and wildflower meadows, ponds and orchards planted across our depots.

Every year we invest £40,000 from our Biodiversity Fund on biodiversity improvement and research across Scotland. We have funded projects all over the country, which have offered learning and development opportunities to local communities, including school children, the long term unemployed and vulnerable individuals.

We value our continued partnership with environmental charity The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), who we work alongside on projects in stations and depots.

Together we have:

  • Supported biodiversity projects at four depots and 32 stations across Scotland
  • Enhanced habitats for foraging insects and animals
  • Created nine wildflower meadows and three ponds
  • Engaged with and upskilled 188 volunteers who dedicated 1200 volunteer hours
  • Engaged with schools in deprived areas to promote biodiversity learning and provided travel for 328 children and 191 adults to visit a biodiverse area

Our projects

RSPB COP26 Youth Climate Conference

We supported RSPB in delivering a series of youth events in the lead up to, and during, COP26 to ensure that local young people were able to influence and participate in the event, giving them a voice on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Earn Your Stripes Project

Scottish Badgers and Scottish Wildlife Trust joint “Earn Your Stripes Project – a skills development programme promoting diversity and social inclusion”, will continue to be supported through the fund. Aimed at those aged between 16 to 24, the programme consists of four virtual modules that focus on skills development, championing wildlife and gaining transferable skills.

Cumbernauld Living Landscape

Working with local community groups, Cumbernauld Living Landscape are developing an area near Cumbernauld station to improve the space for wildlife and make it look brighter for customers passing on their way to the station. The vegetation will be thinned to create an understory that can be turned into a wildflower meadow. Wooden posts around the area will be painted in colours chosen by local children.

Awards

In 2020 we were very proud to receive our first environmental award, recognising our activities to engage with local communities and enhance biodiversity.

Our work so far has won a Green Apple Award, been a finalist for the VIBES Award and shortlisted for the prestigious RSPB Nature of Scotland Award.

If you would like to get involved with our biodiversity efforts, or would like to find out more, please do get in touch with us using [email protected].

What you can do

Every single person can play their part in helping Scotland’s biodiversity. The smallest of positive actions can still make a big difference. Plus, it’s been proven that being outside can help your own health, so it’s a win-win all round.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Let dandelions grow. They’re an important early food source for queen bees emerging from hibernation.
  • Mow your lawn less often or leave a patch to grow. Reduced mowing allows wildflowers to grow and provides habitat and a food source for insects. Join in with Plantlife’s No Mow May and see how many wildflowers appear that you didn’t know were there.
  • Create a log or leaf pile in an unused corner of the garden. This will provide shelter for insects as well as frogs, toads and hedgehogs.
  • Create a wildflower patch using native seed species. You’ll get a colourful display that will be buzzing with insects.
  • Don’t have a garden? You can grow herbs in a window box – bees love them and you’ll have some tasty ingredients to add to meals.

Nearly 90% of species and habitat records in the UK come from Citizen Scientists (source, TCV) so it’s a really important source of data.

Get involved with citizen science projects like:

Or you can report sightings directly to the national database. iRecord collects records of sightings, and it doesn’t have to be anything exotic, all data is important. You can get help with identification on iSpot

You can investigate what species have been recorded in your area on NBN Atlas Just use your postcode to see what’s been found nearby.

If you would like to find out more information on ScotRail’s activity on Biodiversity, please contact [email protected]