Shetland’s Geopark status secured for now after funding is found
The future of Shetland’s Geopark status has been secured for the next two years.
The funding, which includes a grant of £18,000 from economic development and European LEADER funding, will mean a permanent project officer can be employed for a period of two years.
The isles gained European Geopark status in September 2009, making it one of 35 regions in 13 countries with rocks considered important, and the further accolade of Global Geopark status in April last year.
However, the viability of the status was thrown into doubt earlier this year when a lack of funding meant no-one could be employed to continue the work.
Members of the Amentiy Trust heard this week that funding meant a project officer could be employed for two years, which chairman Brian Gregson said was “very good news”.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Gregson said however that he would hope the project officer could become a permanent member of the amenity trust team and that the position would be core funded. Not having one was “unthinkable”.
He said: “It’s virtually a pre-requisite of the Geopark network that there is a full time officer in place. Gaining and retaining the status – as it is evaluated every four years– is dependent on having an officer in place.
“But at the same time just being a Geopark requires a considerable amount of time and effort, it doesn’t just happen.
“We need to have it established that we need a Geopark officer and that the post is core funded so we don’t have to go scratching around looking for funding.”