£50m government funding confirmed to sustain Edinburgh Biomes project

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has secured £50 million of funding from the Scottish Government for its Edinburgh Biomes project.

£50m government funding confirmed to sustain Edinburgh Biomes project

Image courtesy of Smith Scott Mullan Associates, Architects

The Low Carbon Fund backing covers five years’ work on the development, creating world-class facilities producing climate, economic, wellbeing and environmental benefits.

By supporting the Edinburgh Biomes project in the institute’s 350th anniversary year, it will safeguard the Garden’s public Heritage Glasshouses while enhancing research facilities and addressing weaknesses in its aging infrastructure. It also creates important new green jobs, apprenticeships, training and investment in the construction sector post-COVID-19.

Redevelopment of the public and research Glasshouses, at the garden’s headquarter Edinburgh site, will safeguard the globally important collection of plants housed within them. A state-of-the-art plant health suite will allow further advancement in this burgeoning area of research. Installation of a modern heating system will cut carbon losses from the Glasshouses by 12%, and energy use by up to 50%, supporting the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030 and end Scotland’s contribution to climate change completely by 2045.

Announcing the investment, environment and climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been an unprecedented global crisis which has fundamentally changed every aspect of our lives. But this year’s Programme for Government makes it clear that our commitment to tackling the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss is unwavering. Indeed, it is central to our recovery.

“We will ensure our economic recovery will be a green recovery, one that creates green jobs and ensures a fair and just transition to net zero, leaving no-one behind.

£50m government funding confirmed to sustain Edinburgh Biomes project

Image courtesy of Nicoll Russell Studios

“The Scottish Government funding being provided for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Biomes supports this commitment. This significant infrastructure project promises to create 100+ new, green jobs each year, contribute to our emissions reduction, enhance the Botanics’ role as an important contributor to the local economy and preserve its global reputation. Its work to protect our biodiversity is critical and I look forward to the Biomes project ensuring this work remains world-leading.”

Simon Milne MBE, regius keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, commented that this was a landmark moment for the research organisation and visitor attraction: “Edinburgh Biomes is the most significant project in the Garden’s 350-year history to date. As one of the world’s leading botanic gardens, it will enable us to forge ahead with pioneering work for Scotland and the world, working towards a green recovery and reinforcing the Scottish Government’s reputation for strong leadership in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Amidst the many personal, social, and economic tragedies and challenges of the last few months, there is heightened awareness of interdependencies: the interdependence of human and environmental health and the interdependence of social justice and sustainable development. Collectively there is a compelling impetus for positive change for the benefit of humanity and the planet.

“This will be a global resource within an international framework to address biodiversity loss and associated issues of climate change. The work undertaken here reflects collaboration across international governments and organisations and can address the need for transformative change in how people co-exist with nature. With more than 20 per cent of the world’s plant species at risk from extinction our work is more important than ever. All known life depends on plants, and plants can provide the solutions to so many of the world’s challenges.”

Share icon
Share this article: