Getting to know... Brian Rae

A blog post by Brian Rae

Brian Rae
Survey and Data Coordinator

Posted 08/12/2020

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My name is Brian, and I’m currently Acting Survey and Data Coordinator.

I first started working for Keep Scotland Beautiful way back in 2006 as a Survey Officer and I have spent my career working on our Local Environmental Quality and Management System (LEAMS).  This system provides us, and those we work alongside, with unique data sets on levels of litter, dog fouling, flytipping, flyposting, graffiti and vandalism, and weeds and detritus.  

I’ve always loved the outdoors and so it just made sense to choose a career looking after it.  Lucky for me, my job means I get to travel around Scotland to conduct surveys and meet people so my office view quite often looks like this instead of a desk:

Before I joined Keep Scotland Beautiful, I spent time at the Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) learning skills to care for the countryside like dry stone dyking, outdoor education, land conservation and lambing.  During this time I also helped guard Peregrine Falcon nesting sites (and chased stray sheep out of the rangers’ caravan!).  I then lived in Canada for five years where I tried downhill skiing (poorly) and wild camping on the Great Lakes.  I also spent time at Stirling University studying Environmental Science.

Nowadays, I coordinate the logistics, and help to carry out environmental quality surveys on randomly selected streets every year before analysing the 14,000 data sets that we gather from those surveys and writing reports. It’s detailed work but worth doing.

We also survey parks and beaches in a similar way, and I carry out some of that work too. This often means I’m outside in all weathers, rain, sleet, hail and even the rare Scottish sunshine but I don’t mind at all because the data that is collected from these surveys helps us to get a picture of Scotland’s litter problem and provides us with the information we need to develop, evidence the need for and to target campaigns and programmes to get address the root problems.  

When I am in the office (or for now at my desk/dining/kitchen table at home) I spend my time analysing data and writing reports for local authorities and partners.  I also provide training to enforcement and duty body staff on Abandoned Vehicle legislation, the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 Section 89 and LEAMS. Like everyone, we’ve had to adapt to coronavirus restrictions, so things have changed somewhat, but we have adapted and are now active again. 

My hope for the future is that our natural environment is given more importance because it has the power to improve health and wellbeing and our general outlook on life. Right now, we’re working on a new auditing methodology with our partners at Zero Waste Scotland and I’m looking forward to delivering that in the coming years.

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