One of Scotland's leading conservation bodies has appointed a woman to its top job for the first time, with Anne McCall becoming director of RSPB Scotland at the end of the month.

She has already been with the RSPB for nearly 19 years, having joined in 1998 as a member of the society’s planning team, working on cases like the Lingerbay superquarry on Harris, the giant Lewis windfarm and the inquiry into Donald Trump golf course in Aberdeenshire.

Most recently she held the role of regional director for south and west Scotland.

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Last year Stuart Housden, who has been at the helm since 1994, announced he would retire from the director's post at the end of May.

Ms McCall, brought up near Stranraer, studied politics, history and law at the University of Edinburgh, before completing a post-graduate course in town planning at Heriot-Watt University. She is an accredited member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and was a Convenor of the institute in 2004.

She said: “The natural world is under threat like never before but for many of the problems there are also solutions, if we can find the resources and the will to apply them.

“I aim to work with other organisations and individuals from across all sectors, through collaboration and partnership, with the ambition of reversing the current downward trajectory for so many of our species and habitats. Consigning future generations to lives without the critical mental and physical elements a healthy environment provides would be a shameful legacy and I will do my utmost to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

RSPB Scotland’s landholding amounts to 77 nature reserves from Shetland to Galloway, totalling some 177,985 acres. It is the biggest nature conservation estate in Scotland and supports thousands of rare and threatened species. it employs around 350 full time staff.