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SCOTLAND: Finnie focuses on sustainable development

June 27, 2004 12:00 AM

Building rural business while protecting Scotland's environment through sustainable development was praised today.

Minister for Environment and Rural Development Ross Finnie said that a commitment to sustainable development is critical to the regeneration of our rural economy.

Mr Finnie was speaking during a visit to the Strathmore Farming Company (SFC) at Glamis which has a long history of initiatives to improve environmental protection and animal welfare. SFC also has a land management agreement with RSPB to promote habitat development for owls and other bird species.

The visit was one of a number that the Minister undertook in the Perthshire and Angus area. At Pitlochry Hydro-Electric Power Station Mr Finnie welcomed plans to upgrade the Visitor Centre for the 2005 season.

The Minister later travelled to the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration (SEER) Centre at Enochdhu near Blairgowrie. The Centre has been carrying out pioneering field trials using rock dust as a natural fertiliser.

Mr Finnie said:

"The Scottish Executive is committed to increasing the prosperity and quality of life in rural Scotland and promoting sustainable development.

"The work I have seen here today in Angus and Perthshire demonstrate conclusively that these objectives go hand in hand.

"Scotland enjoys an international reputation for high quality produce and a pristine natural environment. Through environmentally sensitive management and a commitment to the highest standards of animal health and welfare, the farms of The Strathmore Farming Company at Glamis have set the standard for Scottish agriculture.

"A commitment to conserving and enhancing the environment in which they operate has enabled Scottish Hydro Electric to attract half a million visitors each year to Pitlochry power station. The visitors' centre, soon to undergo a £20,000 refurbishment plays a vital role in raising awareness of renewable energy issues and supporting the local economy.

"The Scottish Executive is investing heavily in innovative responses to protect our environment. Groundbreaking research at SEER where residue from local quarrying is being used to regenerate soils and enhance crop productivity is generating a great deal of interest. This work, supported through a Scottish Executive grant of £95,000, is a model of the sustainable practices we want to see developed across Scotland."