Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has welcomed news that the Ythan Seal Viewing Project will receive the lion’s share of Aberdeenshire Council’s Coastal Community Funding.
A host of exciting North-east coastal projects are to benefit from the first tranche of marine-sourced funding from the Scottish Crown Estate.
The project has been awarded £100,000 to help improve access and parking at Newburgh Links to support the ever-increasing numbers of visitors to the grey seal colony.
More than 2,000 grey seals regularly use the site and it is the largest seal haul-out site in the UK. It attracts hundreds of visitors- who come to see the grey seals and other wildlife in the area.
The North-east tourist hot spot will see improvements to the car park along and footpaths and the creation of a new all abilities trail, making the viewing site more accessible to disabled visitors.
The project is a partnership between Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the newly formed Newburgh and Ythan Community Trust which has been established to support the arts, heritage, culture, recreation and the environment in the Foveran Community Council area.
Ms Martin said: “The Coastal Communities Fund is an invaluable resource for communities in my constituency and I am delighted to see so much funding being allocated to local projects.
“The Fund was created to meet the needs of local communities across our coast line and I am particularly pleased to see the lions share going to Ythan seal viewing project.
“As the grey seal champion I have been working closely with Ron Macdonald, and know how transformational this funding will be to improving the car park and making viewing the seals more accessible and safe.
“The rapid increase in tourism along the coast has inevitably put pressure on parking, toileting and accessibility and the Coastal Community Fund has targeted funding at the places that need it most.”
In welcoming the award Ron Macdonald, the Secretary of the Newburgh & Ythan Community Trust, said: “The project will greatly improve access for all-abilities to watch the seals and other wildlife of the area.
“Presently disabled groups have very limited access to the estuary.
“In addition, enhancing seal watching opportunities at Newburgh will also lead to less people feeling the need to watch them from the north side of the estuary which can lead to accidental disturbance.”