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Biodiversity champion who was born and raised in Inverness joins Highland Council's environment team on a secondment jointly funded by NatureScot

By Louise Glen

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Nathan McLaughlan pictured with his fox-red Labrador Nala.
Nathan McLaughlan pictured with his fox-red Labrador Nala.

Highland Council’s environment team has welcomed an officer into a unique secondment, jointly funded by NatureScot and the local authority.

The role of biodiversity partnership officer has been created to support the council in delivering its commitments on a range of biodiversity issues over the next two years.

Nathan McLaughlan, who was born and raised in Inverness and studied zoology at Aberdeen University, took up the role earlier this month.

He comes with 13 years of experience with NatureScot in 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 Nathan 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.”

Welcoming Nathan to his new role, the chairwoman of Highland Council’s environment and development committee, Councillor Trish Robertson, said: “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’s area manager, 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.”

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