Casting a spell on the media, thanks to a powerful potion made with Tale of Newts

by Chris Fairbairn

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Successful amphibious landing as quirky story brings an invasion of coverage

Property client banks are making the headlines after protecting a rare speciesWHO could have predicted the fascination and affection this nation has for an oversized, crested and rather ugly amphibian?

Believe it or not, we did – and in the process we helped our client Banks Property to gain positive and extensive media coverage.

Great Crested Newts are a rare and protected species surviving in just a few precious pockets around Scotland. So when one property developer went the extra mile to help the creatures thrive we helped ensure their efforts made major headlines.

The public imagination was well and truly captured when we revealed how a Banks Property plan to create special underpasses for newts had helped the firm win a special development licence from watchdogs at Scottish Natural Heritage.

The underpass will run beneath a new link road for a proposed 1046 flagship housing development in Glenboig, North Lanarkshire by Banks Property. The full plans will be submitted next month.

Initial site investigations alerted Banks to the presence of the largest newt species in the UK. So the company lived up to its ‘development with care’ ethos. Its innovative plan involves expanding an existing nature reserve, while also encouraging safe movement of the species between the old and new reserves by creating the underpass.

With newt tails once considered an essential ingredient in any witches potion, we proved that the Banks Housing newt tale cast a spell of its own – with the resulting story bewitching media including BBC TV, Scotland’s most serious radio news programme as well as a host of newspapers.

First up, the big national newspapers covered the hugely positive story: The Herald, The Scotsman, The Sun, The Daily Record to name but a few. Locally, a large feature was achieved in the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser. Online, the newts also made big news with the BBC, Deadline News and Scottish Construction.

Edinburgh PR agency guide to enjoying successful local public relations campaignsLocal and Loving it – why local press coverage is so important to our client Banks Group


Understanding we were on to a winner, we then helped facilitate interviews on BBC Radio Scotland, and on the Edinburgh PR Agency Banks - Glenboig Site Investigation, Russell Goodchild of Heritage with BBC Reporting Scotland. Quite simply the newts became a media sensation – and the positive work of our client Banks Property spread far and wide to a huge audience.

This isn’t the first time we’ve landed coverage with the amphibious story, because we believe the best stories are worth telling as often as possible.

In 2014 we also helped Banks into the headlines after revealing how heavy machines carrying out surveys on the site were on a go slow – so that a wildlife expert could crawl in front of them, combing through the grass for any sign of the protected creatures.

Edinburgh PR agency show how they help clients achieve more media coverageWe’ve had huge success with this story twice in a year – find out how this is no fluke because we always aim to get more bites of the cherry


As well documented, our work with the Banks Group has seen us win numerous awards – communicating the good work that the different aspects of the business does and the genuine local and business backing that its projects receive.

We know that we can achieve great coverage this way, creating positive news stories that resonate – and we often do it because we think ‘outside the box’, or more appropriately in this instance, ‘inside the purpose-built amphibian underpass’.

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    Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

    Chris Fairbairn

    Chris Fairbairn is an Account Director with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood PR. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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