Highland Council’s Environment Team has welcomed Nathan McLaughlan into a unique secondment post, jointly funded by NatureScot and the local authority.
The role of Biodiversity Partnership Officer has been created to support the Council in delivering their commitments on a range of biodiversity issues over the next two years.
Nathan, who was born and raised in the Highland capital, studied zoology at Aberdeen University.
He comes with 13 years of experience with NatureScot, working all over the Highlands.
This included managing a national nature reserve, site monitoring and surveys, partnership working and complex development cases. It has included work on species, habitats and geology from coastal habitats to the uplands and everything in between.
In the short-term, Mr McLaughlan will be overseeing the biodiversity mapping exercise aiming to identify possibilities for improving the value for nature of Highland Council owned and managed land. He will also work with the Highland Environment Forum, advise on the Nature Restoration Fund Grant Scheme, and review the council’s biodiversity policies.
Speaking about his new role, Mr McLaughlan who previously worked for the council as a seasonal ranger based at Inverness Castle, said: “I’m really excited at the opportunities this post brings. As a local lad I’ve always been passionate about the species and habitats of the Highlands. Utilising the strengths of the two partner organisations to benefit the fantastic wealth of biodiversity in the area, I’m looking forward to contributing to a range of exciting nature-based projects.”
Chairman of Highland Council’s environment and development committee, Councillor Trish Robertson said: “Following discussions with Francesca Osowska, chief executive of NatureScot it’s great to see this new post come to fruition. We wish Nathan all the best in his job which will strengthen the link between our two organisations and help us to deliver a wide range of biodiversity actions over the next couple of years.”
NatureScot area manager for south Highland, Chris Donald said: “We are delighted this post is up and running. It provides a wonderful opportunity for the council and NatureScot to work together even more closely on the twin challenges of the climate emergency and biodiversity loss. Biodiversity underpins healthy natural environments which provide multiple benefits for people and boost our physical and mental health and cohesion. Nature-rich land uses are better for wildlife and help us to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This post is coming at a crucial time and will work at the heart of the council to deliver positive biodiversity policies and actions in the Highlands.”