David Balharry, Rewilding Britain's Scotland director

David Balharry, Rewilding Britain's Scotland director

A group campaigning for parts of Britain’s countryside to be returned to their wild state has appointed a director for Scotland.

Scottish Government officer David Balharry will join Rewilding Britain next month.

He will take on the lead role north of the border for the organisation, which campaigns to restore nature and reintroduce missing species such as lynx, bison, beavers and eventually wolves.

Mr Balharry originally trained as a scientist at the University of Aberdeen and holds an honours degree in zoology and a PhD in ecology.

He is currently a branch head in the agriculture and rural development division of the Holyrood administration, working on rural policy issues.

He grew up in rural Scotland and his career includes two years in the private sector promoting sustainable management on sporting estates and more than 20 years in the public sector. He has held roles in research, administration, policy development and regulation with Scottish Natural Heritage, the Deer Commission for Scotland, the Crofting Commission and the Scottish Government.

He said: “I’m looking forward to joining Rewilding Britain and leading their approach in Scotland.

“Unlike many other parts of the UK, we still have areas free from industrialisation, urbanisation and intensive management. We’re in danger of allowing our natural assets to diminish if we don’t take action now.

“The time is right for new thinking. Scotland is growing in confidence and looking for opportunities. Community empowerment and land reform are on the agenda.

“I’m keen to hear people’s views on all sides of the debate and consult on how best to take this forward together.”

Rewilding Britain’s UK Director, Helen Meech, who was appointed in August, said: “We wanted to appoint someone with a real understanding of the unique issues and opportunities facing Scotland.

“David’s deep-rooted experience in rural policy making and his passionate commitment to the Scottish countryside make him the perfect fit.”

Mr Balharry will take up his new position on 2 November.