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Environment Minister visits D&G to witness flooding

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, has arrived in Dumfries and Galloway to witness the severe flooding.

The Whitesands area of the town in completely submerged in water after the river Nith burst its banks.

He is currently in Moffat and will then be moving down to Dumfries.

The Whitesands area of the town in completely submerged in water after the river Nith burst its banks.

Water levels are expected to continue to rise until high tide around 10pm.

Consultation on national tree for Scotland

The public are being asked to decide whether Scotland should have a national tree Credit: PA

A public consultation is being launched by Scotland's Environment Minister to find out if the country wants a national tree.

Paul Wheelhouse is putting forward options such as the Scots pine, the rowan, the birch and the wych elm, but the Forestry Commission say any tree will be considered.

The idea of having a national tree for Scotland was put forward by a member of the public at a Scottish Parliament committee earlier this year.

The consultation runs until December 3rd and the public are being asked to have their say.

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Tweed Forum "delighted" with Ministerial visit

"We are delighted that the Minister took the time to see the restoration work going on the Eddleston.

"This is just one part of a long-term effort to restore the river and its catchment and measure the effects this has on reducing flood risk.

"Working with farmers and land owners we have brought about out wide scale planting of native trees in the headwaters, built flow restrictors and log jams, created wetlands and improved river habitats, including re-meandering and enhancement of the main river."

– Luke Comins, Director of Tweed Forum

Bends 'put back' into river

A project to prevent flooding in Eddleston and Peebles by putting the bends back into a river has taken a step forward today.

The Eddleston Water, which flows into the River Tweed, was straightened 200 years ago so a road could be built.

It is now being returned to its original meandering shape and it is hoped that the long-term project will prevent flooding in hotspots further downstream.

"The Scottish Government is committed to working with nature to manage the sources of flooding, and protect the environment. Natural flood management is an essential part of a sustainable approach to flood risk management and the Eddleston Water project will help us develop our knowledge base.

"It will help us assess how wetlands, woodlands and land use can lower the flood risk for communities like Eddleston Village and Peebles and also restore natural habitats to the river."

– Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Scotland's Environment Minister

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"Core area" of Galloway Forest infected by killer disease

An infected larch tree Credit: ITV News Border

John Dougan, the Forestry Commission's conservator in the area said:

"This is a worrying development and we are working with industry partners to manage its impact, both in terms of limiting its further spread and in dealing with the trees that have already been affected.

"There is a core area in Galloway Forest Park where it looks as if all larch has been infected and we are looking at how best to recover as much usable timber as possible.

"Beyond this core area, we are looking at taking further action to fell infected stands and those adjacent to it to try to minimise the further spread of the disease.

"Our aerial surveys have also identified suspicious sites in other parts of Scotland, however we think that the damage at these sites, most of which are well away from the main source of infection, could have been caused by canker - or reflects squirrel or deer damage of the tree.

"All of these sites will be visited so that our skilled surveyors can check for the disease."

Latest figures welcomed by environment minister

"I very much welcome the significant reduction in the number of birds of prey poisoned, which I hope signals the real change in attitude that is required to end this outdated and cruel practice.

"2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland and our birds of prey are both a vital part of the natural environment and a stunning spectacle which attract visitors to our countryside from home and abroad.

"It is our duty to protect them."

– Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Scotland's Environment Minister

'We have a duty to protect our natural resources' says Scottish Environment Minister

"We want both indigenous businesses and new businesses coming into Scotland to grow, but we also have a duty to protect our natural resources for the long term.

"That is why through the bill, we seek to ensure the marine environment is protected while we regonise the benefits of a successful and growing aquaculture industry developing side by side with wild fisheries.

"The bill is not a blueprint for assured growth but aims to ensure there is a regulatory framework to support and facilitate that growth."

– Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Environment Minister

Scottish Borders funding for rural development

More than one-million pounds in funding has been awarded to the Scottish Borders region from the Scottish Government Rural Priorities programme.

The Scottish Rural Development Programme led scheme is currently awarding £19 million across the country, of which the Scottish Borders will receive £1.25 million, to help boost agricultural and forestry industries.

"This is great news for the successful Scottish Borders farms and forestry businesses and provides them with essential funding for diverse issues such as new woodland planting in Selkirk, investing in local farmland and measures to protect native red squirrels as a priority species.

"The SRDP funding scheme has delivered a total of £568 million to thousands of projects across Scotland since its inception five years ago and I am delighted that the Scottish Borders is benefitting so greatly from this."

– Paul Wheelhouse, SNP MSP for South Scotland
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