New centre will educate about biodiversity

The man charged with officiating at the topping-out ceremony for the new John Hope Gateway Visitor Centre at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has suggested it can be a vital tool in educating the public.

Made possible by a £10 million grant from the government and £3.2 million in funding from the Lottery Heritage Fund, the centre is almost completed.

Cabinet secretary for rural affairs Richard Lochhead will preside over todays (May 21st) ceremony and said it is great to see the investment coming to fruition.

"It is particularly apt that the topping-out is during Scottish Biodiversity Week," he commented, adding the department of rural affairs and environment wishes to stop biodiversity loss by 2010.

The politician explained one of the major challenges of halting biodiversity loss is getting the point across to the public and he spoke of his hope that the new centre would help achieve this.

Visitors to the RBGE have been able to watch the construction of the new facility from a special viewing chalet in the grounds.