An Argyll and Bute councillor has been elected as UK chair of a Northern European organisation dedicated to eliminating marine pollution.
Councillor Len Scoullar, Argyll and Bute’s spokesperson for European issues, took over as chair of KIMO UK last week, and will hold the post for the next two years.
KIMO UK is the local branch of KIMO International, an association of coastal local authorities which currently boasts 150 members in countries including Norway, Belgium, the Faroe Islands, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Argyll and Bute has been a member since 1997. The other UK members are Highlands, Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.
Councillor Scoullar said he was delighted to take up the chairmanship of the UK branch.
“With 25 inhabited islands and one of the longest coastlines in the UK, Argyll and Bute has very good reasons for wanting to preserve the survival of our vulnerable oceans,” he said.
“This is an area which relies very heavily on the sea. Indeed, some 80% of our population lives within just one kilometre of the coast – an incredible statistic when you consider that this is the second largest local authority by area in Scotland.
“Being chair of KIMO UK is going to give me a unique opportunity not just to represent the UK in the European forum but also to promote Argyll and Bute’s profile among the other key players in the UK and throughout Northern Europe in what is becoming a major organisation.
“KIMO works passionately to encourage legislation to tackle problems such as marine litter and other pollution. Our view is that local government must work in partnership with national government and commercial companies to ensure all serious threats are addressed, and I will be doing all I can in this respect.
“I very much look forward to the next two years,and to putting Argyll and Bute, along with Scotland’s other coastal local authorities, in the European spotlight.”
Among Councillor Scoullar’s first duties will be to represent UK interests at the KIMO International Board meeting, conference and AGM. These events are being jointly hosted by Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City from October 7-9.