2.8 SNH CEO’s response

SNH’s CEO in 2016 was Ian Jardine.

We informed Ian Jardine about Niall Corbet’s investigation and explained what went wrong. We made clear that the investigation omitted an important bit of information that highlights the fact that there was no basis to close Birk Knowes. We also explained that Colin MacFadyen had been Niall Corbet’s advisor during the investigation, and that he had brought at least one of his friends/associates along as a reviewer. This showed that the investigation was rigged.

As we were primarily interested in gaining access to Birk Knowes at the time, we asked if he could resolve this matter.

Unfortunately, Ian Jardine did not respond favourably:

Notice his wording: “I do not think it is fair to assert that we have deliberately misinterpreted the [NMS report]“.

It almost sounds as if he acknowledges that the NMS report had been misinterpreted.

However, we do not believe he meant this, because if he did then it would mean that the investigation was not carried out properly.

Here he makes clear that he trusts the opinions of the “two independent and respected professional geologists“. The fact that he does not mention the third reviewer seems to indicate that he was not informed that Colin MacFadyen was one of the reviewers.

This is a notable twist.

Because the earlier narrative that was used by SNH/Colin MacFadyen to justify the closure of Birk Knowes has no basis in truth, SNH changes its version. This time SNH claims that there is no evidence either way to prove the extent of the fossil bed.

This differs significantly from SNH’s earlier versions, as it was previously claimed that the fossil bed is “limited in extent“, “only contained within the SSSI area“, or that it has been “almost totally removed by unauthorised collectors”.

This raises the question; by changing SNH’s narrative, is Ian Jardine acknowledging that Colin MacFadyen had been untruthful?

While he may be acknowledging this indirectly, SNH’s new narrative is nonetheless aimed at supporting the earlier versions. Ian Jardine is still maintaining the same restrictive collecting policy, except that he is providing a new reason for it. SNH is now saying that there is a possibility that the fossil is bed small/almost depleted and that, to be on the safe side, the collecting policy needs to be restrictive because of it.

This is chameleon behaviour. It seems that whenever SNH is caught lying, it simply changes its narrative to fit the new environment.

[On a side note, SNH’s new version still has no basis in reality. Contrary to what Ian Jardine claims, it is untrue that there is no evidence either way about the size or extent of the fossil bed, as one would need to ignore chapter 2.2, as well as the data contained within the NMS report indicating a sizable fossil bed, as shown in part 6 of chapter 2.4. Furthermore, was it not the main goal of the NMS survey to assess the extent of the fossil bed??? To justify the closure of Birk Knowes, SNH is now using the fact that the NMS survey did not carry out its main goal, even though it was SNH (=Colin MacFadyen) who was responsible in the first place for ensuring that this was carried out.]

This shows that Ian Jardine approved of the investigation. Therefore, one of the following is true:

1. The SNH boss was aware of what Colin MacFadyen had done but chose to protect SNH.

2. The SNH boss was not properly informed about the matter.

At the end of correspondence with SNH it states that if we disagreed with the outcome we could take the matter to the ombudsman in Scotland.

If the SNH boss was either unwilling or unable to take action, then we would need to look elsewhere to see this matter resolved.

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