Scottish Natural Heritage Bid
24 December 2001

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The Highland Council will be asked on Thursday to set up a task force to promote the Highlands as a location for the future headquarters of Scottish Natural Heritage.

Convener David Green wants to present a compelling case to the Scottish Executive for the relocation of the Government agency from its two Edinburgh bases and one near Perth to a state-of-the-art headquarters in the Highlands.

The move follows the recent announcement by the Executive that SNH is on the list of services, whose office accommodation and location is being reviewed.

Given its strong environmental credentials, he believes the Highlands is ideally placed to provide a new home for the Governmentís environmental agency. He said: "Home is where the work is and we want to say to SNH: "Welcome home"."

The Convener says the Executive should honour its commitment to the dispersal of civil service jobs by backing the bid.

He said: "This Council fully supports the decentralisation of public sector jobs outwith Edinburgh. Some progress is being made, but nothing has come our way so far. The Executive now has the perfect opportunity to put this right by backing our bid. We will be working closely with the Highlands and Islands Enterprise network and the Scottish Council of Development and Industry to build up a compelling case for SNH to come to the Highlands."

He said the Highlands was home to: -

  • Almost two-thirds of the area of all candidate Special Areas of Conservation and possible candidate SACs in Scotland;
  • Almost two-thirds of Scotlandís total coverage of designated and potential Special Protection Areas;
  • And more than half of all National Scenic Areas in Scotland.

He added: "These statistics make powerful arguments for the Highlands to be given serious consideration as a potential headquarters of SNH."