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22 Sep 2021

Threave biodiversity project gets boost from HSBC UK

Group of people standing in long grass at the top of a hill. It's grey and overcast.
HSBC UK has come on board to support the National Trust for Scotland’s pioneering Threave Landscape Restoration Project.


Hello, I’m Sam Gallacher, I’m the Operations Manager for Threave. We’re at our Kelton Mains site, which is part of the Threave Estate in Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway, and this place is home to our Threave Landscape Restoration Project.
Today we’re welcoming our new partners, HSBC UK, onto site for the first time. It’s an orientation for the team from HSBC UK, to see what we’ve been doing over the last couple of years. It’s a really good opportunity for us to share our enthusiasm and excitement for this project and talk about the different habitats we’re restoring: wetland, woodland, grassland.

My name is Caroline Bourne and I am a Sustainability Manager at HSBC UK.

People love this place because of the millennia of human history that it contains. It’s all about our relationship with the land and the project today is about how we write the next chapter in that long history.

We’ve welcomed National Trust for Scotland onboard to our climate solutions partnership. We all understand that climate change can only be tackled in collaboration and our climate solutions partnership aims to unlock barriers to finance and to help scale up nature-based solutions such as this and innovation projects.

The biggest benefit this project is going to bring is a big increase in biodiversity to this site. From being ecologically exhausted, it’s going to be vibrant, full of life. It’s a really exiting chapter for us, to look to the future and look at new ways of land management.

We are delighted to be here today, and to welcome National Trust for Scotland to be working with them on this pioneering project.

What I want to say to HSBC UK is thank you. We are so grateful for the support and we are so grateful you are joining us on this journey. I think it’s going to be really interesting for both organisations and hopefully really fun that, together, we are finding new ways to combat climate change.

In the next couple of months we are going to making our first big landscape interventions, so we’re going to be removing part of the bund, and allowing the Galloway Dee to restore into a wetland area and we are going to putting in some beautiful boardwalks that will allow visitors to engage with this new habitat in a way that they have never been able to do before.

Our ambitious, century-spanning conservation project to restore habitats in Dumfries & Galloway has received a major boost today, as HSBC UK has come on board to support our charity’s pioneering work.

The banking and financial services organisation has pledged a significant donation to the Threave Landscape Restoration Project, which will transform 81 hectares of land at Kelton Mains, part of our Threave Estate in Dumfries & Galloway, into rich habitats for flora and fauna.

Over the coming months, more than 4,000 redundant fenceposts will be removed, opening up the site visually; 125 metres of boardwalk will be laid enabling people to explore the area’s wetlands in a whole new way; and a herd of Belted Galloway shepherded by GPS will graze the site in a trial to explore how sustainable livestock management can be balanced with nature recovery.

“In our 90th year, our charity’s work to protect Scotland’s special places has never been more urgent.”
Philip Long, National Trust for Scotland Chief Executive
A man in a navy suit stands in a garden beside a sundial, on a sunny day. Kellie Castle can be seen in the background.

Mr Long continued: ‘Throughout 2021, we’ve all seen the impact of the climate crisis whether that’s through record temperatures or rainfall. This puts into sharp relief the need for action. We all have a responsibility to work together to care for the places, the habitats and the habits that can help ensure our heritage survives for future generations. We’re grateful to HSBC UK for joining us in these efforts.’

The gift is part of HSBC’s new global Climate Solutions Partnership, which aims to unlock barriers to finance for companies and projects that tackle climate change.

Ian Stuart, Chief Executive of HSBC UK said: ‘A challenge as significant as climate change can only be tackled in collaboration, and we are very excited to welcome National Trust for Scotland to the global Climate Solutions Partnership.

‘Nature-based solutions can provide a third of the global climate mitigation needed by 2030, protecting nature as well as meeting people’s needs. Our ambition is to help open the door for National Trust for Scotland to explore new areas of agroforestry management and how nature-based solutions are being scaled and delivered to tackle climate change internationally.’

Woman in black and red jacket and man in green gilet stand in a farmland setting, holding a sign that reads love between them.
Caroline Bourne from HSBC UK recently met Sam Gallacher, Threave Operations Manager at Kelton Mains to learn more about the project.

Sam Gallacher, the Trust’s Operations Manager at Threave said: ‘Every action that we take as part of this project is an action that contributes to the fight against climate change. All these interventions, from restoring the wetlands, to planting trees and encouraging the return of native flora, encourages a natural process that captures carbon and that’s what the world needs right now.’

Data gathering and information sharing are also integral to the project, as the Trust aims to share its experience globally.

Support for this phase of the project also comes from the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and HSBC UK.

Ted Leeming, Chair of the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, said: ‘The Galloway Glens scheme is absolutely delighted that HSBC UK is joining the Threave Landscape Restoration Project. As our funding cycle ends, seeing this new investment and support from HSBC UK come to our region could not be a better testament to the value of this project and what we have achieved together with National Trust for Scotland.’

Keep an eye on the website for further project updates.

Two black cows and two calves stand in a field. The cows have a wide white band around their middle.
Belted Galloway cows will graze the site at Kelton Mains.