Less planning, more delivery

As the impact of climate change becomes evident across the Firth of Forth, Frazer McNaughton of NatureScot urges fellow stakeholders to come together to “make good things happen”.

· Sustainability,Partnerships

Like many people with a professional interest in the Forth, Frazer McNaughton (pictured below) also has a personal attachment to the area. Living in Portobello, he loves getting out and about along the coast, and is a member of the local community council. Issues involving the beach and promenade often feature prominently on the agenda.

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He also feels a connection with other communities along Edinburgh’s shoreline. “The Firth of Forth is a wonderful place and people are drawn to living and congregating on the coastal edge,” says Frazer. “However, that edge is changing and, collectively, we need to learn more about what future paths we might face under various climate change scenarios, and how we protect adapt and change our coast accordingly.” It’s a conversation he also engages with daily in his role as Projects and Partnerships Manager at NatureScot.

Frazer began his career as a landscape architect, working in social housing and public realm renewal in Glasgow, before joining what was then Scottish Natural Heritage to address controversial proposals for the so-called Harris Super Quarry. He’s since been with NatureScot for 25 years, spending much of that time working on landscape visual impact assessments for major developments. That has involved extensive work with local authorities, developers and other stakeholders developing projects and ensuring best practice for infrastructure design and implementation – all good preparation for his current role.

We need to reach out
“Today, I help to manage and oversee our statutory work, such as planning and protected areas, across Edinburgh and Lothians,” he says. “And secondly, I’m very much working on the partnerships side. NatureScot recognise that we need to get more proactive in addressing the issues of the nature and climate crisis. To do that, we need to reach out to work with more people and to get into new areas across both the public and private sectors to implement some of the plans and strategies we've already developed. In terms of nature restoration issues, we’re arguably at a stage where we need to do less work on plans and more working out how to deliver projects and make good things happen. It’s time to focus on delivery and implementation to build a more progressive agenda on climate and nature.”

We need to think bigger
Achieving this needs conversations that capitalise on a wealth of goodwill among stakeholders. “In terms of the Forth Estuary Forum, I’d like to see us ramp up activity and bring people together from all spheres of interest to start conversations, share information and formulate collaborations so that we can develop that positive and action-orientated cross-party vision,” says Frazer. “And the good thing is that there's every indication that people want to do the right thing – after all, nearly all of us want a healthy natural environment for the Forth. But we need to think bigger and more strategically to create that vision through partnership working.”


With its strapline of ‘Scotland’s Nature Agency’, NatureScot’s official role is “to protect and promote Scotland’s national heritage, which contributes so much to our nation’s prosperity and well-being”. That includes promoting, caring for and improving Scotland’s natural heritage (e.g. through ensuring the areas of protection for nature that cover the Firth of Forth are looked after), helping people to enjoy nature responsibly, enabling greater awareness and understanding of nature, and promoting sustainability.

NatureScot also advises local authorities, and works with the Scottish Parliament and public, private and voluntary organisations. The organisation is currently actively involved in several initiatives along the Firth of Forth, including Restoration Forth and advising on the major flood protection schemes at Musselburgh and Grangemouth.