Council welcomes investment to protect Geoparks in Scotland

The Highland Council has welcomed an announcement by the First Minister Alex Salmond confirming funding for the North West Highlands Geopark over the next two years.

The investment of £280,000 - to be shared with Shetland Geopark - will allow the Geoparks to continue as valuable members of the UNESCO-supported Global and European Geoparks Network and boost the local tourist economy.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Geoparks are a fantastic place to investigate our rocks and terrain, to discover how our history has helped shape the landscapes we see across Scotland today. We know that our geology in Scotland is unparalleled across the world in terms of its quality and we should all value our geodiversity. I am delighted to announce funding of £280,000 to support these two Geoparks in Shetland and the North West highlands.

“This announcement demonstrates that the Scottish Government is delivering on a national and local level for communities across Scotland especially in this year, the Year of Natural Scotland.”

Council Leader Drew Hendry said: "This is great news.  On our doorstep we have an area of outstanding geological heritage, which will benefit local people and promote sustainable development via tourism and education initiatives. The funding support we have received from the Scottish Government will enable us to return Scottish Geoparks to the centre stage of global geotourism and geodiversity, under the auspices of UNESCO.”

George Farlow, Chairman, North West Highlands Geopark said: "The communities of North West Sutherland and Wester Ross are absolutely thrilled at this new opportunity to demonstrate to the world our Geopark as the “cradle of geology”. The partnership working across the communities here in the North West Highlands Geopark shows what can be achieved by recognising the best practices of Geopark Shetland and the European Geoparks Network, whilst still retaining and enhancing our individuality and unique qualities.

26 Jul 2013