The Perth Nature & Biodiversity Conference

24th January, 2022

In December 2019, the Perth City Leadership Forum (PCLP) held a conference to discover how Perth might become the most sustainable small city in Europe. This second conference, in 2022, went a step further with a specific focus on biodiversity, bringing delegates together to discuss ideas and highlight some of the work already underway in the city. A comprehensive Expo Booth featured ten videos to widen the subject even further.

The conference had an international feel about it, with the Mayor of Lahti showing how his small Finnish city became the European Green Capital in 2021 and Elizabeth Mrema, the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity Executive Secretary, also speaking.

Murray Lyle, Leader of Perth & Kinross Council opened proceedings, with Mike Robinson of the PCLP introducing the conference itself. Following Denise Reed of NatureScot’s talk on ‘Making Perth the Biodiversity Capital of Scotland’, six workshops debated a wide range of topics:

'ENHANCE' - blue and green infrastructure

'RESTORE'- looking at four nature-connected partnerships for ecological restoration

'NURTURE' – Integrating biodiversity into urban settings (biodiverse neighbourhoods)

'PROTECT' - natural flood management

'CREATE' - Perthshire tree corridors

'NOURISH' - community growing opportunities

Perth & Kinross Council and the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership hosted the Nurture Workshop. Quickfire sessions outlined the Scone best practice development site, the new B-Lines across Scotland and how to safeguard amphibians in an urban setting. Guest speakers Dusty Gedge and Edward Mayer again gave an international flavour with their ‘living roofs’ and ‘buildings and biodiversity’ talks. Over 50 people attended the workshop and there was an enthusiastic response to the interactive Perth mapping session. We will be using the latter to take our ideas further.

Many Perth & Kinross Council staff also attended the Perthshire Tree Corridors Workshop where street trees and community orchards were discussed in connecting the heart of the city with the Perthshire countryside.

There were two closing addresses – one from Jim Fairlie MSP and the other from Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.

The conference doesn’t remotely end the discussions. It will, in fact, just be the start of encouraging as many people as possible, from every background possible, to feedback their ideas and to take things further.