Nature conservation and biodiversity

Biodiversity is the term which describes all varieties of life on the Earth, including any genetic variation within species and the ecosystems in which they occur. This provides the support that humans require to survive. Whether it is the essentials of life or the pleasures that can be gained from nature's beauty, biodiversity is of significant value.

There is an increasing threat to biodiversity - within the United Kingdom more than one hundred species have disappeared over the last century, the majority of which having occurred during the post war period.  This is mainly due to increasing urbanisation and intensive land management, causing a loss of living areas for species. If no action is taken, it is predicted that many important global processes will be seriously impaired. This will in turn affect the economic and social well-being of our society and have profound consequences for our future as we know it.

South Ayrshire Council is committed to the protection and conservation of the area’s biodiversity. As a main partner in the development of the Ayrshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan (which has recently undergone its first review, The Conservation and Enhancement of Ayrshire's Biodiversity - Ayrshire Biodiversity Action Plan 2007 – 2010) the Council commits to preserving and enhancing the its natural environment. For general information relating to biodiversity in Ayrshire, or if you would like to comment on any part of this document, please contact the relevant officer for your Council area as outlined in the document, or email:

To enhance and raise awareness of biodiversity within its borders, South Ayrshire Council has implemented a number of initiatives as follows:

Education and awareness-raising

  • Running public awareness sessions on bats.Successful bat walks have been held in Rozelle estate, Ayr
  • Running briefing sessions for professional grades, to raise awareness of sustainability issues including biodiversity and energy efficiency.
  • Encouraging and supporting all South Ayrshire schools to become Eco Schools Many schools have developed their grounds to encourage biodiversity, under this initiative.


  • Working with Carillion, and Mitie, the schools public, private partnership contractors (PPP) to ensure biodiversity is addressed before, during and after building the new schools.  For example this would be ensuring the protection of bats and installation of new bat boxes at the new Alloway primary, and Kyle Academy; planting school grounds to benefit wildlife; developing classroom gardens.
  • Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Forestry Commission are proposing the creation of a new Biosphere Reserve based on the Galloway Forest Park and associated designated nature conservation sites which would extend from Dumfries and Galloway into both South and East Ayrshire. Although there are no fixed boundaries, it is likely that the Transition Zone could extend north within South Ayrshire to the environs of Girvan and Maybole. Consultants were appointed by SNH and the Forestry Commission, with funding support from South and East Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway to assess the potential of the current reserve to meet the new criteria, and the likely impact of a successful designation. It was concluded that the criteria would be met, and that impact on the local economy was likely to be positive, but success would be critically dependant on community, local government and local enterprise buy-in. An economic feasibility study has been completed and due to be considered by partners.
  • Working with Belleisle & Seafield golf courses to resolve environmental issues such as burns maintenance, future planting and grounds maintenance


  • Acts as non-statutory consultee on biodiversity and ecology of planning applications


Working with a small group of volunteers in Rozelle Estate in Ayr to erect bird boxes, undertake a bat survey and identify areas for specific planting or management, to improve biodiversity.

Interactive map