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  Our Environment
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climate / conservation / ecology
The landscape of the Scottish Borders is one of its most stunning features and greatest assets. The natural environment contributes immeasurably to the lifestyle enjoyed by those who live and work in the area. The landscape is diverse: ranging from moorland, agrarian land, hills, valleys, rugged coastlines, estates, towns, villages, and hamlets

The county of Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders is one of the most sparsely populated areas of the Scottish mainland, and is an area of mixed upland livestock farming and lowland, arable farming, with approximately one third of the population living in coastal communities. 

Statistics relating to agriculture and forestry show the extent of the importance of landscape to the Borders way of life. Agriculture, one of the regions prime industries, accounts for the greatest area of land use. 81% of land is designated 'agricultural' and 15% of this land, namely the Merse area surrounding Kelso and the Tweed Valley, is classified as 'prime quality'. 17.5% of the Scottish Borders is covered by forest or woodland, representing 6.9% of the total afforested land in Scotland. Astonishingly, only 1.5% of the total landmass of the Scottish Borders comprises inhabited towns and settlements

Given the importance of the natural environment and resources to the socio-economic structure of the area, it is no surprise that Sustainable Development has become a primary motivator in planning the future of the Scottish Borders. The Local Agenda 21 programme, (Scottish Border 21) which evolved from the '92 Rio Earth Summit, progresses the Councils commitment to sustainable development.  Within Scottish Borders Council, a dedicated team of Local Agenda 21 officers can offer advice and information on a broad spectrum of environmental concerns and initiatives.  The Council's Countryside Ranger Service is also active in promoting environmental issues, particularly those relating to the natural landscape and education. The Rangers are also contacts for SBEP, the Scottish Borders Environmental Partnership, a forum for environmental organisations which co-ordinates the wide variety of environmental initiatives in the Scottish Borders, including the annual Environment Week and Tree Week which are fun, informative and raise awareness of key issues

Tweed Horizons, a Scottish Borders Enterprise funded project, is pioneering this approach, accommodating a diverse range of businesses operating across a range of disciplines, all within the field of sustainable development. The Scottish Borders Rural Partnership, a multi-agency group whose core funding is provided by Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Office, is based at the Rural Resource Centre at Tweed Horizons. The Centre works with community groups, promoting and developing funding and implementation of community based rural projects; improving rural transport; creation of children's play areas, and environmental and tourism initiatives are priorities for the Centre.

All of the groups working towards preserving and protecting the natural landscape of the Scottish Borders work in partnership: to ensure the needs of today's Borderers are met without jeopardising the future needs of our children.

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