ANNE GRAY has taken over the takes reins of the Heather Trust from outgoing director, Simon Thorp.

Ms Gray is from a farming family in Berwickshire and has worked in the rural land use sector for the last ten years with Scottish Land and Estates, latterly leading on their land use and environment portfolio. She has a first class honour degree in Environmental Science and has a particular interest in the emerging natural capital agenda.

Commenting on her new role, Ms Gray said: “I’m incredibly pleased to be taking up this role. I was attracted to the Heather Trust because I instinctively felt we were a great match. It is about integrated land management, so finding the right balance between living and working on the land and ensuring the natural world thrives. This is something I’m very keen on.

"I’m taking over from Simon Thorp who has built the reputation of the Heather Trust over the last 16 years,"she continued. "It is recognised throughout the UK for the role it plays in consensus building and in demonstrating good practice. It sits in the space between a number of different land use interests, and uses objectivity and science to help broker a way forward. I am very happy with that and I want to build on the excellent foundations Simon has created.

"We are not saying goodbye just yet to Simon – He will for a time continue with Scotland’s Moorland Forum and will complete one or two other projects for the Trust that he has been an integral part of," she added.

“This is a very uncertain time for the UK’s moorlands and uplands. Michael Gove last week launched DEFRA’s consultation on the future of farming policy. His proposals signal change, but he is listening to calls for the uplands to be given particular consideration.

"His desire to see public money deliver for the environment may well be a good thing for the uplands since they have a large role to play in delivering things like natural flood management, carbon storage and improved biodiversity," noted Ms Gray. "However, as yet we just don’t have enough detail to know whether this will be the case. I intend for the Heather Trust to be fully involved in demonstrating the case for the UK’s uplands and moorlands not just to DEFRA but in all relevant arenas.”