Monday, 6 August 2012
South Ayrshire Council welcomes Richard Lochhead to celebrate Scotland’s first Biosphere
Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment was at Culzean Castle in South Ayrshire last week to celebrate the Biosphere status which has just been granted to Galloway and Southern Ayrshire by UNESCO.
[A piece of cake! Pictured with Richard Lochhead MSP Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment (centre) are: Councillor Graham Nicol, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Prof Roger Crofts, Chair of Biosphere Partnership Board, Councillor Robert McDill, East Ayrshire Council Councillor Peter Convery, South Ayrshire Council, Chris Savage, Chair of Ayrshire LEADER and Peter Mason, Chair Carrick Community Council Forum.]
The designation which includes large parts of East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, is the first of its kind in Scotland and has 3 distinct zones covering an area of over 5000sq km. The new Biosphere joins two other reserves in the UK, one in North Wales and the other in North Devon.
The Biosphere contains areas of outstanding natural beauty but aims to support sustainable economic growth instead of restricting development which can have a negative impact on local economies.
The Cabinet Secretary met with some of the key individuals who have worked hard since 2005 to secure Biosphere status for the area and commented: “The UNESCO Biosphere is an internationally recognised brand for outstanding natural environment – and I’d like to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to secure this marvellous achievement.
“Galloway and Southern Ayrshire have special landscapes, wildlife and most importantly communities that care passionately about environment and culture and want to do something to develop the area in a sustainable way.”
Councillor Graham Nicol, Biosphere Spokesperson for Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “The UNESCO Biosphere status can be used to promote the region and open doors for communities living in and beyond its boundaries. As well as the anticipated increase in visitor numbers, the Biosphere will provide a catalyst for learning to ensure the area is protected.”
Councillor John McDowall, Depute Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “The establishment of the UNESCO Biosphere dovetails very well into our plans and policies for the future, which will enable us to drive forward sustainable economic and tourism development.
“Young people are our future, so it is vital we continue to educate them about the importance of respecting and protecting our environment for future generations. By working with them and other people in our communities we will ensure that South Ayrshire flourishes while conserving our environment.”
Councillor Robert McDill, Spokesperson for Delivering Community Regeneration, East Ayrshire Council said: “The UNESCO Biosphere region covers a very large area and it is significant that East Ayrshire is part of this as it features some of our most stunning natural landscapes. The natural environment offers many social and economic benefits for local people and local communities and this Biosphere designation will support our existing regeneration initiatives and provide new opportunities in the future.”
The Cabinet Secretary enjoyed a presentation of the work leading up to Biosphere designation and met a number of young people on a residential outdoor learning course.
[Good sports! Pictured with Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment at Culzean Castle, South Ayrshire are: Carolyn Baird, Emma Hair, Fraser Kingan, Karina Aitken, Emma Reid and Cameron Bryce.]
The Cabinet Secretary concluded: “The Biosphere designation offers a very exciting opportunity to demonstrate how to do things differently and I’m sure it will allow local businesses and communities to thrive whilst protecting and conserving our environment for future generations.”
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.