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Community / MP calls on government to support Fair Isle Bird Observatory rebuild

Crowdfunding appeal for the project has so far raised over £130,000

The original plans for the new Fair Isle bird observatory.

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has called on the UK Government to provide financial support for the construction of the new Fair Isle Bird Observatory.

A crowdfunding appeal was launched in August to address what was described as a “worrying shortfall in funding” to rebuild the world-famous observatory, which burned down last year.

It has so far reached over £130,000 of its £650,000 target. The total cost of the project is £7.4 million.

But Carmichael has called on the government to financially back the project, citing the support given to rebuild the Glasgow School of Art.

He has lodged a parliamentary motion at Westminster on the issue.

Commenting on the motion, he said: “The community suffered a devastating blow when the Bird Observatory was destroyed last year. It is testament to the dedication of the Trust that the rebuild appeal has gained such momentum already. The observatory is vitally important to the economic and social fabric of Fair Isle.

“The new facility will not only boost the tourism offer of Fair Isle but also secure the provision of world-class ornithological and marine biological research there. It is crucial we all get behind the rebuild appeal to ensure the future prosperity of this vital community.

“When I raised this issue with the then-Prime Minister last year she indicated that the government would support the rebuilding. There is a precedent here with the UK and Scottish governments helping to rebuild Glasgow Art School, and rightly so.

“Progress has since been made locally to secure planning permission for a new building; now is the moment for government to match their willingness of support with appropriate funding.”