Standard Life Investments Property Income Trust announces Cairngorms ecological restoration project

Standard Life Investments Property Income Trust, having undertaken a full assessment of the environmental impact of its assets under management, set a strategy in motion to reduce its carbon emissions through improved energy efficiency across its portfolio and carbon offsetting.

The acquisition of a significant area of land within the Cairngorms National Park is part of a wider strategy of achieving net zero, but also provides an opportunity to do more with an ecological restoration plan that will deliver a raft of co-benefits beyond carbon sequestration.

The aim is to restore woodland and peatland over the 1,440 hectares, planting over 1.5 million trees. Focusing on native broadleaf and Scots Pine, the woodland creation element of the project will improve amenity, enhance biodiversity, mitigate flooding and improve air quality, while restoring the drained peatlands.

The land acquired by SLIPIT had been under traditional sporting management for red grouse and deer shooting but in recent years, the red deer and stag numbers have dropped significantly and there has been no hill sheep grazing.

The implementation of the restoration strategy will significantly boost the local economy with between 50 – 100 people involved in woodland creation and peatland restoration over the next six years.

Kilrie Trees has already begun seed collection from the site to ensure the establishment and provenance of the woodland. The trees from these seeds will be grown in Kilrie Trees’ cutting edge carbon negative tree nursery in Fife before returning to the site over the next few years.

SLIPIT, KF Forestry, and Kilrie Trees are committed to ensuring the establishment of a biodiverse native woodland that supports the local economy, improves access and amenity, and enhances the landscape, all while delivering on carbon goals.

Jason Baggaley, fund manager of SLIPIT, commented: “I am very grateful to Stuart Dobrijevic of Abrdn and Renwick Drysdale of KF Forestry for their work in securing this off market opportunity that will enable SLIPIT to advance its ambitions with regard to achieving a net zero carbon pathway at a known fixed cost. This is a significant scheme, with over 1.5m trees to be planted. I firmly believe that embracing ESG in our investment strategy will create value for our investors”.

Renwick Drysdale of KF Forestry, added: “We have been working closely with key stakeholders for over a year to design our science based native woodland and peatland restoration plan. We see this as a landmark step for the use of private capital in enhancing and regenerating the landscape.

“If we are to deal with the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, while improving the landscape, we need business and government working together with local communities and experts to deliver meaningful and ecologically sensitive change. We are delighted to be working with Jason, Stuart and the rest of the SLIPIT team on this project.”

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