Scotland’s Environment Web (SEWeb) provides access to environmental data and information held and managed by a wide range of organisations across Scotland. The SEWeb partnership has been successful in securing €4.9 million through Life+, which is the European Union's funding instrument for the environment, providing funding to support the development of the website until March 2015. This is the first in a series of SEWeb newsletters which will help keep you up to date with the progress of the project.
What's new for SEWeb...
New map search tool coming soon
SEWeb has created a new working partnership between Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission Scotland to develop a new interactive mapping tool on the SEWeb website. This will allow anyone applying for land use grants and applications to abstract environmental information and data from multiple sources through an online map-based system. It is anticipated that the longer term users of the tool will include developers, planning agencies, local authorities and the general public. This project is being delivered using an innovative approach to the agencies working together and sharing expertise, knowledge and effort to deliver the new web-based tool for SEWeb. The result will be an easier and quicker way to access environmental information for land use planning and development.
Life+ project section launched on website
A new section has been created on the website offering information and updates about the Life+ project. A description of the project, progress updates, information about the workstreams and deliverables, documents, reports and materials can all be accessed from here.
New promotional materials
A new SEWeb brochure has been designed and produced which gives an overview of what the project is about and what information can be found on the website. A small number of brochures have been printed however it will mainly be made available and distributed in digital form. Noticeboards have also been produced and are on display in the reception areas of a number of the partners head offices. The noticeboards explain what the project is about and the frames for these are made from recycled materials. Watch this space for new briefing notes which will explain the range of different areas of activity which the SEWeb project will be delivering.
State of Environment group established
A State of Environment (SoE) editorial group has been established with membership from a range of organisations. Drafting of the SoE text is delivered by a wider network of expert authors. Four new topics: fishing & fishstocks, aquaculture, water supply and agriculture are being written for the State of Environment report which is published on the 'Our Environment' pages.
The editorial group will also be working to include more interactive data, graphs and information, using new data presentation and analysis tools developed by the Life+ project, within the State of Environment report. More information on the SoE and its editorial group members will be uploaded to SEWeb soon.
SEWeb action 4: Identifying public interest in the environment
Public Engagement Evaluation Strategy
The SEWeb project has an ambitious objective to engage Scotland’s public through environmental monitoring, debate and action. A strategy has been developed to help evaluate how this can be done, with particular interest in measuring the impact of behavioural change interventions. A report was commissioned that summarised theories of behavioural change and what implications they might have for the SEWeb project. This was followed up with a workshop for project partners who identified priority behaviours that the project should try and influence, helping shape the focus of this part of the project.
Findings on public attitudes to the environment
A programme of activities have been undertaken to identify the public’s interest in the environment and environmental data. This has included quantitative surveys, such as targeted questions in the Scottish Omnibus Survey and qualitative surveys through general public focus groups. This work has provided a rich source of information to help guide the next stage, which is a series of tools to be developed on SEWeb which have the specific purpose of engaging Scotland’s people.
A four day workshop with young people from Stirling High School has given the project insight and ideas as to how SEWeb could help and support young people to enjoy, understand, protect and improve Scotland’s environment. Young people have been recognised as an important target audience for the project; surveys show they are less likely to engage with the environment yet they are the most adept at using digital media. Techniques were used to ensure that the young people themselves lead the structure and output of the workshop. This exciting piece of work resulted in ‘5 Big Ideas’; a game, mobile phone app, a quiz, youth designed web pages and a social networking site. The young people are now working with one of our partners, Abertay University, to turn the ‘5 Big Ideas’ into reality.
An important action towards the project’s objective of engaging the public is to encourage and enable public monitoring or ‘citizen science’. Following preparatory work with partners, an important role was identified for SEWeb to provide a gateway to citizen science projects active in Scotland. A register of citizen science projects in Scotland is being developed along with a system to match up volunteers with projects and a toolkit of resources and guidance. The project is also investigating how SEWeb could provide a platform for citizen science data input and display. This will include supporting projects where a gap has been identified, for example, outdoor air quality monitoring. SEWeb would be interested in sharing experiences with other projects that aim to encourage and increase the numbers involved in citizen science.
For more information on any of the public engagement/citizen science news please contact rachel.harding-hill
We encourage anyone using the site to provide feedback by contacting us. Partnership working and public engagement are at the very the heart of this project. If you are interested in finding out more information about any of these news items or want to get involved, please contact us
Please forward this newsletter on to friends or colleagues you think may be interested so they can subscribe to future Life+ newsletters.