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Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project

Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project

An environmental first

The Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP) is a groundbreaking initiative to restore Native European oysters to the Dornoch Firth. It has been pioneered by Glenmorangie in partnership with Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society.

A project that will benefit nature, business and the community

The project’s vision is to restore long-lost oyster reefs to the Firth, to enhance biodiversity and also act in tandem with Glenmorangie’s new Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant which is purifying the by-products created through the distillation process – an environmental first for a Distillery. The AD plant is expected to purify up to 95% of the waste water that the Distillery releases into the Firth, with the remaining 5% of the organic waste naturally cleaned by the oysters – nature’s ecosystem champions. We look forward to sharing these exciting developments with you, as we continue to develop our most ambitious environmental project ever!

About the DEEP project

Learn more about our innovative triple-helix partnership with Glenmorangie, Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation society.

DEEPer understanding of our fragile ecosystem

Native oysters flourished in the Dornoch Firth up to 10,000 years ago before being decimated in the 19th century due to overfishing. Their return to the Firth for the first time in over 100 years will enrich the ecosystem of an important marine habitat. In March 2017, 300 oysters from the UK’s only sizeable wild oyster population in Loch Ryan were placed on two sites in the Firth. Over the next 18 months, they are being studied by Heriot-Watt University researchers with the aim of building an established reef within five years.

“Shellfish reefs are amongst the most endangered marine habitats on Earth and it is thanks to Glenmorangie’s foresight and long term commitment that we can create a pioneering reef restoration project in the Dornoch Firth.”

Dr Bill Sanderson, Associate Professor of Marine Biodiversity, Heriot-Watt University

Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project

Discover the progress of the project in this update:

DEEPly passionate about susTAINability

Glenmorangie Distillery is committed to sustainable development through:

  • Protection and enhancement of our cherished surroundings
  • Finding new sources of energy and efficient waste disposal (exemplified by our pioneering Anaerobic Digestion plant)
  • Working together with the Tain community and our environmental partners

DEEPly involved

DEEP aims to shift the ambition of marine conservation. This is not just about protecting the resources we have today, but restoring ecosystems to their full potential.

To achieve this, DEEP has brought together the best brains from the business, scientific and academic communities.

  • A powerful collaboration between Glenmorangie, the Marine Conservation Society and Heriot-Watt University
  • A research and action partnership unlike any other
  • A restoration model that has the potential to be replicated around the world

“Glenmorangie’s Distillery has stood on the banks of the Dornoch Firth for over 170 years – and we want to ensure that the Firth’s pristine habitat will be preserved and enhanced over the next 170 years. This restoration of oyster reefs will help us realise our long term vision of a Distillery in complete harmony with its natural surroundings.”

Hamish Torrie, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, The Glenmorangie Company

Hamish Torrie

National Geographic have taken an active interest in our DEEP project and you can read more about it here.

Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Glenmorangie’s pioneering new Anaerobic Digestion (AD) system provides an efficient method of waste disposal and a sustainable source of energy that can be cycled back to the distillery.

In the design and build of the AD plant, Glenmorangie partnered with several leading UK and international companies, as well as local businesses in the construction process. The membrane filtration technology used in the plant is also a first for any production plant in Scotland.

The facts

  • Reduces the biological load discharged into the Dornoch Firth by more than 90%
  • Reduces the distillery’s dependence on fossil fuels by 15%
  • Creates a copper-rich fertiliser that will enrich barley fields in and around the Distillery’s home in Tain

DEEP partners

The launch of this project marks the culmination of many years’ hard work, commitment and collaboration between three key players.


Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky originates in the Scottish Highlands where, at the Glenmorangie Distillery, it is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills in Scotland for a purer spirit, expertly matured in the finest oak casks for great depth, and perfected by the Men of Tain. The Distillery was founded in 1843 and is renowned as a pioneer in its field, uniting tradition with innovation. Glenmorangie has pioneered the DEEP project, providing seed funding and links to the local and wider business community.


Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt is a leading technological and business university, renowned for innovation in business, engineering, design and the physical, social and life sciences. It is ranked in the top 10 for Research Impact in the UK.

Within the University’s Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology, Dr Bill Sanderson’s work concentrates on the marine biodiversity research needed to support sensitive management and sustainable development. His team is responsible for the research and field work for DEEP.

Click here to find out more.

Heriot-Watt University DEEP research

Heriot-Watt PhD students Ana Rodriguez and Ashley Cordingley tell us more about their work on the DEEP project.

Heriot-Watt University

Marine Conservation Society

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK’s leading charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. MCS champions a vision of sustainable fisheries, abundant marine life and clean seas and beaches for the enjoyment of all.

MCS supports DEEP through community engagement, education, communications support and advocacy.

Click here to find out more.

Marine Conservation Society

DEEP Partners

L-R Dr Bill Sanderson, Heriot-Watt University; Hamish Torrie, Glenmorangie; Calum Duncan, Marine Conservation Society

Find out more

To find out more about our DEEP project, please send an email to: media@glenmorangie.co.uk