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New restoration project officer for Whitesands Quarry

Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell of RSPB Scotland to lead next phase of restoration work at Tarmac site

MARK Mitchell has been appointed as restoration project officer for RSPB Scotland and will work alongside Tarmac on the Whitesands Quarry project, based at Oxwellmains, Dunbar, where he will lead the delivery of the next phase of restoration work at the site.

Mr Mitchell’s role will see him writing and implementing a management plan for the quarry, which will include enhancing and managing a variety of habitats. He will also be monitoring and reporting on the site’s wildlife to find out more about what is living in and using Whitesands Quarry.

Mr Mitchell previously worked for the RSPB at its wetland nature reserve in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire. Before that he worked on the Lake District Osprey Project, a partnership project run by the RSPB, Forestry Commission and the Lake District National Park Authority, at Bassenthwaite, in Cumbria.

David Hurcombe, Tarmac’s quarry manager, said: ‘We have worked with RSPB Scotland for the past four years to restore the quarry in a way that enhances and encourages biodiversity, as well as creating a great amenity for the local community in the future.

‘We are pleased to welcome Mark to the project and look forward to working with him to further develop Whitesands Quarry as one of the most important wetland habitats in this area.’

Commenting on his new role, Mr Mitchell said: ‘I’m very much looking forward to working on this project and getting to know both the site and the local community over the next few months. There are some fantastic opportunities here for making the quarry a better home for nature, as well as creating a place that people can visit and enjoy.’

Just 12 months ago, Tarmac and RSPB Scotland launched a new nesting raft to encourage bird life, such as terns, to rear their young at the site. This followed research that showed that many secure nesting habitats on the east coast of Scotland had suffered from loss and nest predation.

The raft, which measures 16 square metres in area and is covered in gravel, is moored on a water body near the quarry’s public viewing area. There are plans to increase the size of this structure later this year to make it even more attractive to nesting birds.

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