Scotland politics

Atlas authors: Scotland could be 'gateway to the north'

Pages of atlas Image copyright sony
Image caption The authors of the Atlas of Productivity believe it is the first of its kind in the world

Scotland should look at itself as being the "gateway" to northern Europe rather than on the periphery, according to the authors of a new atlas.

The Atlas of Productivity encourages Scots to "look afresh at the potential of their nation".

Published by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, it maps Scotland's natural resources and explores how they could be better utilised in the future.

Its creators believe the book is the first of its kind in the world.

The atlas also explores topics including population distribution, employment patterns and transport links.

Researched and designed over nine months by Glasgow-based architects Lateral North, and comprising 35 different maps and an array of visuals, the atlas has been described as a "renewables manifesto" by its creators.

They said it was the first dedicated atlas of Scotland published since the 19th Century.

Image copyright Jimmy Reid Foundation
Image caption Land marked in purple on this map is privately owned, while blue shows public ownership

Among the illustrations are those showing:

  • 83.1% of land in Scotland is owned by private landowners - and of the private land 50% is owned by 432 people
  • Scotland has 25% of Europe's offshore wind resources
  • Scotland has 25% of Europe's tidal potential and 10% of its wave potential
  • Scotland's peak energy requirement is 10.5GW. The full wind energy capacity of Scotland is 159GW.
  • In 2013 Orkney generated 103% of its renewable capacity, but a lack of connection with the mainland meant a £3m loss in energy
  • There are 7,000 possible 5MW hydro schemes available in Scotland
  • Scotland lacks ferry connections with the Nordic countries despite European ferries already passing between Orkney and Shetland
  • How Scotland would and should contribute to the Arctic region
  • How Scotland could become the "gateway to northern Europe"

The maps also explore ways in which Scotland could improve its commercial links and trading routes with the Nordic countries.

And it calls for more population distribution from the central belt to the Highlands and Islands.

Atlas author Graham Hogg said the aim of the project was to "allow Scotland to think of itself differently".

Image copyright Jimmy Reid Foundation
Image caption The atlas suggests Scotland's population would be better split more evenly between the Highlands and central belt

He added: "All too often we think of ourselves as on the periphery of northern Europe - but if looked at it differently we can realise that we are actually the gateway to northern Europe for the Nordic and Arctic regions.

"With many new opportunities arising within these regions we believe that we should be looking to the north as a new frontier.

"Changing patterns in shipping and renewable technologies mean that Scotland sits strategically placed to take advantage of these huge opportunities.

"Also at a national level we can begin to realise that we are a country that is too focussed on urban economies and our perception of how we inhabit the Scottish landscape should change - many of the industries and resources of our country's future lie within the Highlands and Islands."

Robin McAlpine, director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation, added: "What is so important about this atlas is that it forces us to look at our nation again based on its resources and its opportunities.

"If we want a prosperous future for Scotland it is simply mad that we're not properly looking at our land, air and sea resources and our geostrategic position."

The Jimmy Reid Foundation was established in memory of Jimmy Reid, who rose to international prominence during the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-in which took place between June 1971 and October 1973.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites