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Formerly known as Dumfries and Galloway Environmental Resources Centre (DGERC), the South West Scotland Environmental Information Centre (SWSEIC) is the local environmental records centre (LERC) covering Dumfries & Galloway and Ayrshire. LERCs are not-for-profit organisations that collect, collate and manage information on the natural environment for a defined geographic area. LERCs support and collaborate with a network of experts to ensure information is robust, and make information products and services accessible to a range of audiences including decision-makers, the public, and researchers.

The Centre aims to further the appreciation, understanding and protection of the natural environment of SW Scotland by collecting, collating, managing and safeguarding information about the natural environment and providing a focal point through which anyone may access the information. It is hosted by the Southern Uplands Partnership.

The Centre maintains a central database of wildlife and habitat records in Recorder 6 software. The software is a standards-based tool for managing collections of biological data. The Centre also uses ArcGIS and QGIS mapping software to display and analyse this information alongside other geographical datasets, including designated sites, reserve boundaries, habitat datasets and local wildlife sites.

The Centre is hosted by the Southern Uplands Partnership and is based at Kirkgunzeon in Dumfries & Galloway. We currently have 2 members of staff.

SWSEIC is a member of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres (ALERC).

Background and development

The Centre was originally established as the Dumfries and Galloway Environmental Resources Centre (DGERC) in 2004 and was officially launched by Mr Allan Wilson, former Deputy Minister for the Environment and Rural Development, on Monday 13th September 2004.

The need for a local repository for environmental information had been highlighted in the development of the Dumfries & Galloway Local Biodiversity Action Plan. The initial development of the Centre was funded by a number of sources, including Scottish Natural Heritage, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Landfill Tax Credits Scheme, Leader +, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. The Centre was originally hosted by Solway Heritage and moved to the Southern Uplands Partnership in 2011. The ongoing development of the DGERC and its services has been funded through Service Level Agreements with Dumfries and Galloway Council and grants support from Scottish Natural Heritage. A range of projects have been undertaken in partnership with other local organisations. Previous project work has also been supported by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government and the European Community, Dumfries & Galloway LEADER 2007 – 2013 Programme.

In November 2014, Southern Uplands Partnership hosted a regional conference ‘Planning for a Greener Scotland’ in East Ayrshire. The conference was addressed by the then Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, and discussed the use of environmental information in decision making in the region. The conference led to talks between SUP and local authorities in Ayrshire to extend coverage of DGERC into Ayrshire, initially through the development of an Ayrshire-wide citizen science project to raise awareness of wildlife recording and the valuable role it plays in safeguarding our natural environment.

In Spring 2017, DGERC formally began to adopt our new SWSEIC identity for the Centre.

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SUP is registered in Scotland as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Registered address: The Southern Uplands Partnership, Studio 2, Lindean Mill, Galashiels, TD1 3PE. Company No. SC200827 / Charity No. SCO29475

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