Education Secretary welcomes progress on future of Millport facility
Work to secure a future for the Millport marine station has moved forward following a meeting of key partners to discuss funding options.
Education Secretary Michael Russell chaired a meeting to help prospective new owners the Field Studies Council - who have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with existing owners the University of London to take on the marine station.
Work is continuing to maximise potential funding available to them to secure and develop the base and the contribution it makes to the Island.
North Ayrshire Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are supporting the development of the project.
Mr Russell said:“The marine station on Millport can continue to play a key role in both environmental science teaching in Scotland and the economic future of the island. That is why we will continue to work with partners including North Ayrshire Council to find a viable solution, following the University of London’s decision to close it.
“It is good news that the base is being transferred to the Field Studies Council by the University of London and I believe this can help to secure a new life for the facility. The meeting looked at ways we can help the FSC maximise available funding to continue to develop, plan and deliver a sustainable future.
“We will continue to work with them and others to do all we can to help deliver their vision for Millport and preserve this historical resource.”
Douglas Cowan, HIE area manager, said: "Generations have benefited from studying marine science up close in Millport's remarkable natural setting. HIE is delighted to work with partners including North Ayrshire Council and the Field Studies Council, to support the plans for the creation of a new centre to continue this valuable work."
Depute Council Leader at North Ayrshire Council, Councillor Alan Hill said: “I am delighted that the hard work and combined efforts of all parties involved have now borne fruit.
“The Field Studies Council has an excellent track record in this area and has displayed a positive attitude and willingness to develop the long term sustainability of Millport Marine Station.
“We recognised the potential impact on the island community early on in this process and have been involved with many organisations to reach this stage. Indeed, the unity of purpose which has seen ourselves, the Scottish Government, politicians from all parties, the University of London, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Field Studies Council, Cumbrae Community Development Company and the wider community work towards a common goal has been extremely heartening.
“We will continue to work with all parties to ensure we reach the best possible arrangements for the Marine Station and for the community of Millport.”
Rob Lucas, Chief Executive of FSC said: “The FSC Trustees approved the plans on July 3rd and the University’s decision allows us to complete the detailed plans. It’s a very exciting time for field studies in Scotland and we look forward to working with a range of partners to build on the station’s achievements over the last 40 years.”