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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Director of RSPB Scotland to step down

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RSPB ​Director Stuart Housden will retire from the charity next year

After twenty two years leading the Scottish arm of the biggest wildlife conservation charity in the country, Stuart Housden is to step down as director of RSPB Scotland at the end of May 2017.

Stuart will continue working for the RSPB until he retires in October 2017, focusing on strategic corporate projects to help the organisation’s transition through the impacts of Brexit.

Stuart Housden

I am confident that RSPB Scotland will continue to go from strength to strength and build on past success for the future - Stuart Housden

Stuart Housden

RSPB Scotland is now a key player in bringing forward ground-breaking conservation solutions to the problems that are causing declines in nature and impacting the wider environment, with its influence extending well beyond its own nature reserves where its ideas are tested and costed. In recent years the organisation has played a pivotal role in the defence of important sites and habitats from damaging developments, the extension of Marine Protected Areas around Scotland’s world-renowned coastline, helping to make forestry and farming practices more sustainable and wildlife-friendly, the restoration of vast swathes of the Flow Country, helping to shape and deliver the Wildlife and Natural Environment (WANE) Act, and tackling on-going wildlife crime.

Under Stuart’s leadership RSPB Scotland’s landholding has grown to encompass 77 nature reserves, from the far north of Shetland down to the Galloway coast, and from the Western Isles to the coast of Aberdeenshire, totalling some 177,985 acres (72,028 hectares). It is the biggest nature conservation estate in Scotland and supports thousands of rare and threatened species.

Professor Colin Galbraith, the Chairman of RSPB Scotland’s advisory committee and one the Board of Trustees that governs the RSPB, said: “Stuart has made a great contribution to nature conservation in Scotland over many years. He has been instrumental in shaping the work of RSPB across the UK, and has been a fantastic advocate for the organisation and for wildlife conservation more generally. He leaves a legacy in the organisation to be proud of; providing a sound basis for the future. Whilst the next few years will undoubtedly be challenging, the new structure and ways of working being put in place now will help continue to demonstrate RSPB’s commitment to working locally across all parts of Scotland and the UK”.

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said: “I feel so enormously privileged to have had the opportunity to lead such a dedicated and outstanding team of people striving to improve the fortunes of Scotland’s magnificent nature and environment for these past 22 years. Scotland has the very best of the UK’s nature – from the majestic peaks of our Munros to the teeming mudflats and wetlands of our unrivalled coasts – there is simply no other part of the UK with the rich diversity, scale and importance of the habitats that are here. We must treasure and invest in this resource for all our sakes.

“So much of Scotland’s business and commercial interests rest heavily on the outstanding quality of its environment and landscape; ensuring that this quality remains and that it can continue to underpin and contribute to the country’s economic success and prosperity whilst delivering much needed wider benefits for the public’s enjoyment and recreation is absolutely critical. I am confident that RSPB Scotland will continue to go from strength to strength and build on past success for the future.”