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Richard Baynes

Glasgow, United Kingdom
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About Richard
I am a journalist based in Glasgow in Scotland, which is currently part of the UK. I have a wide range of skills from sub-editing to live radio and sound-rich audio packages, and can take a photo if needed. I specialise in Scottish environmental issues, land management, tourism, outdoor activities and sports, but my work as a producer and editor also takes me into politics, local government, planning - every sort of story. I do work for outlets ranging from the relatively small Scottish Nationalist press to the BBC to the Daily Mail.
I am British but not a Scot and can take a broader outsider's view of the place while being very familiar with the country, its culture its politics and its geography.
Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast) Vox Pop
Politics Current Affairs Technology

Scientists are using AI to save hedgehogs. And they need your help

13 May 2024  |  www.countryfile.com
The UK's hedgehog population is receiving a significant boost from a project that combines artificial intelligence with volunteer efforts. The National Hedgehog Monitoring Programme, led by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, is using trail cameras and a special AI algorithm developed at Liverpool John Moores University to gather and analyze data. This initiative aims to provide the first reliable estimate of the UK’s hedgehog population and understand habitat preferences and causes of decline. Volunteers are invited to sort through images online via MammalWeb, contributing to a robust annual population estimate and long-term conservation efforts.

Farmers' fury as beavers head for Cairngorms!

28 Sep 2023  |  This is Money
Expanding Scotland’s wild beaver population into the Cairngorms National Park is facing opposition from local farmers who fear devastating impacts on their land. The Cairngorms National Park Authority plans to apply for a licence to release beavers in the upper Spey valley, aligning with Scottish Government policy. While the authority highlights benefits such as enhanced wetlands and flood prevention, farmers express concerns about potential flooding and damage to farmland. The National Farmers Union Scotland and local estate owners voice significant apprehensions, despite public consultation showing majority support for the reintroduction.

Devil's Pulpit called 'Scotland's best trail' – but rescuers hit back

20 Jun 2023  |  www.thenational.scot
A survey by Damart controversially named Finnich Glen in Stirlingshire as Scotland's best trail, surpassing renowned walks like the West Highland Way. Despite its popularity, the site has significant safety issues, including difficult access and frequent rescue incidents. Local authorities and rescue teams criticized the survey for promoting the site without adequate warnings. The owner, David Young, is attempting to sell the site, which has been plagued by litter and anti-social behavior. The survey's methodology and accuracy were questioned, leading Damart to pause its distribution and correct errors.

Highland lairds warned official hired guns will cull deer herds if they refuse

26 Feb 2023  |  www.sundaypost.com
Two Highland estates, Glenisla House Estate and Auchavan and Glencally holding, are resisting NatureScot's voluntary plan to reduce deer populations in the southern Cairngorms to protect the Caenlochan Special Area of Conservation. NatureScot may resort to using hired marksmen to cull the deer if the estates do not comply, which would be a first under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. While eight estates have agreed to the plan, the two holdouts face potential legal obligations to reduce deer numbers. NatureScot aims to decrease the local red deer density from around 16 to fewer than 10 per square kilometer by March 2026. The agency has received support from the John Muir Trust and Scottish Land and Estates, while Nicholas Gibb of Glenisla House claims NatureScot is using bully tactics and expresses concern for the impact on their stalking business.

Scientists reveal a lonely hearts club… for trees

27 Nov 2022  |  sundaypost.com
A conservation effort led by Dr Max Coleman from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, in collaboration with the Borders Forest Trust, is underway to find and propagate disease-resistant wych elm trees in Scotland. The project aims to create a resilient population of elms that can repopulate the countryside, combatting the widespread devastation caused by Dutch elm disease. Volunteers are identifying mature wych elms that have survived the disease, with plans to cross-pollinate them to produce a strain of super-trees. The initiative also includes the first full genome sequencing of wych elm to understand the survival mechanisms against the disease.

Beavers get right to build a new life

20 Sep 2022  |  thetimes.co.uk
Beavers, once extinct in Scotland, are now officially sanctioned to repopulate the nation's rivers and lochs as part of climate change mitigation efforts. NatureScot's 23-year strategy outlines the expected thriving locations for beavers and the management of their spread, including a translocation policy. NatureScot's CEO, Francesca Osowska, praises the significant ecological benefits of beavers.

Are we right to demonise plastic?

03 Feb 2018  |  www.heraldscotland.com
The article discusses the issue of plastic pollution, particularly in marine environments, through the lens of beach clean-up activities at Killiedraughts Bay and Linkim Shore in Scotland. Volunteers, including the author, collect various plastic debris, highlighting the problem of microplastics and their impact on marine life. The article features perspectives from Sarah Russell of the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, Catherine Gemmell of the Marine Conservation Society, and Kevin Ross of Impact Solutions and the Scottish Rubber and Plastics Association. While Gemmell advocates for reducing plastic use and increasing public awareness, Ross emphasizes the value of plastics and the importance of improving recycling systems. The article also touches on government initiatives and industry responses to the growing concern over plastic waste in the oceans.

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