Green light for £10m St Andrews marine lab

An artist's impression of the Gatty Marine Lab at St Andrews East Sands
An artist’s impression of the Gatty Marine Lab at St Andrews East Sands

A new marine laboratory for the University of St Andrews has been approved by Fife Council.

Set to be built at East Sands, the £10 million state of the art marine biology lab will replace the internationally renowned but now outdated Gatty Marine facility.

To allow the new laboratory to be constructed, the current institute will be partially demolished from the same site.

St Andrews Community Council had objected on the grounds that the new development would fail to adhere to the East Sands Urban Design Framework, while Fife Council’s own heritage team had reviewed the application and recommended refusal, declaring the loss of the existing building as “regrettable”.

However the project looks set to go ahead following a meeting of Fife Council’s North East Fife Planning Committee.

Once constructed, the new facility will provide a global hub for marine research focused on conservation and understanding the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans.

It will be the permanent base of the Scottish Oceans Institute which includes the world leading Sea Mammal Research Unit, and the executive office of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS).

The new aquarium will cater for extensive environmental monitoring and control of temperature, lighting, pH, oxygen, salinity, ammonia and nitrates.

Specialist rooms with climate control will allow electronic and optical equipment to co-exist with culture facilities supplied with running seawater.

This will support sophisticated long-term experiments on adaptation of organisms to climate change.

The building will also incorporate a Public Outreach Centre, taking advantage of its location on the Fife Coastal Path, allowing St Andrews to play a lead role in furthering public interest in and understanding of the oceans and the unique ecosystem of the North Sea.

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