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Executive's £1.7 Million Pledge Boosts Botanic initiatives

14 April 2005

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has received a major boost to its wide-ranging scientific, horticultural and visitor initiatives, with the news that the Scottish Executive will enhance its annual financial support by £1.7 million over the next three years.

The funding underscores the Executive's commitment to continued support of this national collection by enabling a far-reaching Corporate Plan allowing the organisation's further evolution as a visitor attraction, while pursuing its core commitments to conserve plant biodiversity - both in Scotland and around the world - and to promote science to the widest possible audience.

Announcing the pledge in Parliament on Wednesday 13 April, Deputy Environment and Rural Development Minister Lewis Macdonald acknowledged the diversity of the organisation and its ongoing commitment to strengthening its role within the wider community:

"The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a world-class visitor attraction which is popular with both tourists and Scots," he said. "It is dedicated to helping people explore the world of plants by educating them in plant evolution, conservation and biology. This funding will assist it to both develop its living collection of scientifically important species and promote the importance of plant science to a wider audience."

Welcoming the show of support Professor Stephan Blackmore, Regius Keeper of The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said the show of support came at a crucial point for the Botanics: "We have been improving all four Gardens for our visitors, though major initiatives such as the recent refurbishment of our Victorian Palm House, at Edinburgh, and the launch of the Windows on the World glasshouse experience. But, these are just the beginning. With the strong support of Scottish Ministers, our plans for the future come a step nearer. Ahead of us lie ambitious new projects, such as The Gateway development, which we see as Scotland's National Biodiversity Interpretation Centre.

"This announcement is particularly significant for the organisation, being made soon after First Minister Jack McConnell's announcement of government funding for the Garden's ongoing initiative at the Lijiang Field Station and Botanic Garden in south-west China, which is currently playing a key role in the Year of British Science in China. It is crucial that Parliament supports the work of the Garden and the potential for continued cooperation and partnership should not be under estimated."

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