The Conservative government is set to release a new £1bn landmark in Scotland’s countryside next week, despite warnings it could spark another independence referendum.
The £1.5bn, three-metre-high landmark in the Aberdeenshire town of Loch Ness, which will be built at the end of this month, is part of a plan to preserve Scotland’s wildlife and protect the environment.
In a speech on Monday, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the government would work “with local people and industry” to “build on the strengths of Lochnestown and its unique landscape”.
He said the £1 billion investment was part of the government’s “long-term strategy to transform our rural economy, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and boosting our economy”.
The project will be a “significant step forward in the UK’s long-term environmental plan”, said Paterson, who will visit Loch Ness in the coming days.
“The world’s biggest ocean and its natural heritage will be protected, and our environment will continue to be protected and preserved,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to walking the trails and exploring the Loch Ness ecosystem.”
He added that the project would also help to boost tourism in the region.
Paterson has previously said the landmass will be developed in “an environmentally sound way”.
“The Government is committed to protecting Loch Ness and its wildlife, its environment and our rural economies and communities,” he told the Sunday Herald.
“That means working with local people, industry and local communities to build on the strength of Loch ness and its landscape, including a new two-storey building that will house a new public toilets, new lighting, a new water system and a new visitor centre.”
He also said the project was expected to “reduce the impact of climate change on the area by 40 per cent”.
However, Scottish Environment Minister, Richard Lochhead, said the new landmark would be “unlikely to create an impact on wildlife or the environment”.
Lochhead said the “world’s biggest and best protected marine habitat” will be preserved, while “a significant portion” of the park will be closed for conservation.
“This will also give Scotland a chance to create the best-case scenario for Loch Ness that we could,” he added.
The landmark is the largest in the country and will be able to withstand the impacts of climate changes, including higher tides and warmer temperatures. “
It will be an important step in the Government’s long term plan to transform Scotland’s rural economy.”
The landmark is the largest in the country and will be able to withstand the impacts of climate changes, including higher tides and warmer temperatures.
The site is currently home to a small fish pond, which has become a breeding ground for a species of large squid.
Lochhead has previously warned that if the Government was to lose control of the site, it could be threatened by future storms.
He has also said it would be a disaster for the economy.