Tweed Forum’s role in a post Brexit UK

Tweed Forum staff  who look after  the 5,000 sq km catchment of Scotlands second largest river. Pictured are: Emily Iles, Janet Landells, Director, Luke Comins, Derek Robeson, Hugh Chalmers and Alistair McDonald.
Tweed Forum staff who look after the 5,000 sq km catchment of Scotlands second largest river. Pictured are: Emily Iles, Janet Landells, Director, Luke Comins, Derek Robeson, Hugh Chalmers and Alistair McDonald.

The charitable company set up to promote and effect sustainable land use across the River Tweed catchment wants to work with the Scottish Government to ensure the Borders does not lose out as a result of Brexit.

The multi-interest Tweed Forum, which has seven full time staff and is based at Drygrange, celebrated its 25th anniversary last year during which it has protected and improved the 5,000km2 catchment area of Scotland’s second largest river.

Looking to the post-Brexit era, Tweed Forum believes it has a key role to play in shaping national policy on land and water management after the UK leaves the European Union.

“We have a proven track record of working with farmers, foresters, landowners and communities to get practical works on the ground and, crucially, to get the right measures in the right place at the right scale,” said forum director Luke Comins.

“The need for this role will be crucial in the post Brexit landscape.

“That is why we are keen to work with the Scottish Government and other bodies and agencies to help shape a new system.”

Mr Comins said some EU directives – such as those covering river basin habitats and water management – had brought positive benefits to the environment.

“However, others, such as aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy have caused environmental damage over the decades – as well as a good deal of bureaucracy – and Brexit offers an opportunity to build a new system that helps us make the most of our land and water assets,” said Mr Comins.

“Tweed Forum has many years of experience of dealing with agri-environmental support measures and we know what has worked and what has not been so successful so we feel well-placed to contribute to the debate.

“If money is going to get tighter after Brexit, as is generally accepted, then we need to ensure any support mechanisms are targeted to bring about the maximum positive effect.

“We are keen to input the lessons we have learned to achieve multiple benefits to the economy, the environment and society.”