The bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site status for the Flow Country has been bolstered by the endorsement of SNP Minister John Nicolson.
Mr Nicolson, the party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), recorded a message of support for the Flow Country Partnership’s ‘Keep Us Covered’ campaign to enlist the support of all party political leaders across Scotland and the UK for the bid.
If successful, the Flow Country will become the world’s first peatland World Heritage Site, giving a significant global boost to Scotland’s and the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change and protect the biodiversity. Not only does this vast 190,000 hectare swathe of land store more carbon than all the trees in the UK combined; it will continue to actively extract CO2 from the atmosphere for generations to come and create new economic and cultural opportunities for rural communities in the region.
Urging others to “get behind the bid”, MP John Nicolson, who has close ancestral ties to Caithness, commented:
“It has been a great pleasure to support the Flow Country Partnership’s Keep Us Covered campaign and help secure this extraordinary site’s rightful place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
“I am delighted to offer my enthusiastic support for The Flow Country’s bid to be Scotland’s next UNESCO World Heritage Site and our first site listed solely on natural criteria.
“The Flow Country, in addition to being an area of outstanding beauty, is particularly important for biodiversity and for carbon capture.”
Political leaders from all major parties in Westminster will have the opportunity to voice their support for the bid and meet Flow Country representatives at a reception hosted by the office of the Secretary of State for Scotland in Dover House in Whitehall on Tuesday September 13. .
Flow Country Partnership project coordinator Dr Steven Andrews said:
“The project team is thrilled that political leaders like John see the potential benefits to the environment, communities and natural economy that listing the Flow Country as a UNESCO World Heritage Site can bring.
“The more public support we can get, both in Westminster and in Holyrood, from politicians willing to back the bid, the stronger our case will be with UNESCO that this is a place that deserves the highest level of international recognition.”
The application, which includes a detailed application dossier and a management plan, will be submitted to UNESCO by the UK government (DCMS) at the end of 2022 and, after a site visit, the outcome will be decided in mid-2024.