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Case Studies > Ecological Conservation

Leys Estate

Case Study Ecological Conservation Leys Estate
Case Study Ecological Conservation Leys Estate, owned by Jamie Burnett, is nestled between the southern slopes of Hill of Fare and the River Dee. While the estate is focussed primarily on arable farming and forestry, expansion of the estate into the neighbouring town of Banchory has facilitated residential, leisure and commercial developments. Working together, the Bancon group and the estate are becoming more integrated into the community to fulfil expected responsibilities.

The Leys Estate Ranger Service was established in June 2001 and consists of one full-time ranger, Thys Simpson. Thys works in estate management to optimise economic and environmental benefit.

There has been a specific focus on red squirrel and water vole conservation, wildlife surveying, and on the planting and maintenance of trees and hedges for wildlife and the surrounding landscape. Simpson has also been involved in some work on the management of red moss and wild meadows.

However, on top of this ecological focus, Thys Simpson has contributed to the construction of the Deeside Way, a popular route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, and has worked on practical improvements to the Coy Burn without grants, as well as focally working to assist the forestry department in felling of appropriate trees. The Ranger is relied upon to work with students and volunteers, involving the local community and educating the younger dynamic.

Further centralising ecological conservation, the construction of the Hill of Banchory Biomass Heat Network was facilitated by the provision of land by the Burnetts of Leys.

With an objective to provide ‘affordable green heat’, a 900kW and a 700kW biomass boiler have been installed, with up to 100,000 litres of potential thermal storage. Not only providing the land for the biomass plant, Leys Estate has been the backbone to energy creation, as local forestry here has been used to produce the woodchip required to fuel the boilers.

This form of energy provision has facilitated energy at a competitive price with mains gas, green heat saving production of 2,000 tonnes of CO2, and has helped to stabilise energy security in the region with 100% of the biomass being locally sourced.
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