Ecology

 

Progressing towards goals 7 and 10 of the Outdoor Friendly Pledge 

 

Our events take place within some of Britain’s finest upland areas that often contain features of considerable ecological interest and biodiversity value. In many cases this interest is reflected in formal designations that recognise habitats, vegetation, and species of flora and fauna of national and international nature conservation importance. We provide participants with fantastic opportunities to access these areas, but the passage of participants has the potential for adverse effects on ecology and biodiversity, principally through erosion of soil and vegetation and disturbance of wildlife. For most locations within an event area, these adverse effects will be short-lived and of no significance for maintaining the conservation status of the area. 

 

However, there is the potential for these effects to be of greater significance by causing more significant disturbance to features of special ecological interest. There is also the potential for persistent effects of disturbance through erosion of soil and vegetation to detract from the wild land character and quality of the event areas. When these issues are considered, it is important to ensure that Ourea Event’s planning and course setting demonstrates a high level of accountability to biodiversity conservation objectives.

 

Berghaus Dragon_s Back Race - Day 1 - 2019-117
The Dragon's Back Race® passing through the Snowdonia National Park - A site of considerable ecological interest and biodiversity value ©No Limits Photography 

 

We have had a detailed Environment and Ecology policy since 2015. Our policy guides an approach to event planning that identifies ecological sensitivity assessment as a specific issue, clearly identifying stages in the event planning process where ecological considerations may influence planning decisions. The aim of this policy is to describe a process that reassures statutory agencies, other interested parties and participants that reasonable action has been taken to avoid the risk of significant adverse ecological effects within an event area. This approach requires that a qualified ecologist is involved throughout the process to provide further reassurance that a suitably informed interpretation of ecological sensitivity issues has underpinned event planning and course setting.

 

What we already do:

  • Employ an ecologist to conduct an ecological risk assessment for all events.
  • Have an ecologist in attendance at Skyline Scotland® to directly observe and measure the ecological footprint of the event, and to take charge of course waymarking in certain highly sensitive areas.
  • Liaise with statutory agencies like Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales throughout the course planning process.
  • Publish ‘Ecological Briefing Notes’ for the participants to advise them about the special features of the event area and behaviours they can undertake to reduce their impact. 

What we are pledging to do:

  • Widen the remit of the ecologist to include ecological risk assessment of each of the Event Centres and Overnight Camps (in addition to the race routes) for the Great Lakeland 3Day™, Dragon’s Back Race® and Cape Wrath Ultra®.
  • Improve our contingency planning with a thorough review and update of our Pollution Incident Response Plan and Water Protection Plan.