Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 14:09 UK

Extra protection for battlefields

Killiecrankie Pass
Government troops marched through the Pass of Killiecrankie in 1689

Historic battlefields across Scotland are to be given more protection.

A list of the country's most important battlegrounds is being drawn up and is expected to be complete by 2011.

Councils will then have to consider a site's history when deciding planning applications, although building on battlefields will not be forbidden.

The scheme was officially unveiled on the 320th anniversary of the Battle of Killiecrankie, the first major battle of the Jacobite Risings.

Culture Minister Michael Russell said: "There's a real passion and affection for Scottish history, not just in Scotland but worldwide, and names such as Bannockburn, such as Culloden, such as Flodden - failures as well as successes - are known worldwide and people want to know that we in Scotland are looking after these places and remembering their importance.

"This is not to say that there won't be change, there's always change in the every landscape, but the change has to be sensitive and the change has to take account of the fact that these are very important places."

It's been some time coming, England has had a similar initiative in place since the mid-90s
Dr Tony Pollard
Centre for battlefield archaeology

Dr Tony Pollard, director of the centre for battlefield archaeology at Glasgow University, told the BBC Scotland news website that he hoped this was "a first stepping stone" in providing legal protection for battle sites.

"It's been some time coming, England has had a similar initiative in place since the mid-90s," he said.

"If we do let development continue willy-nilly then we are not only doing past generations a disservice, because let's not forget these are hallowed grounds that people spilled their own blood on for causes they believed in, but we'll also be doing a disservice to future generations who'll be denied the opportunity to experience and learn from these sites.

"I firmly believe that the best way to understand these events, which are obviously important turning points in our history, is to actually have the ability to walk over the same ground that these soldiers fought on and if that's covered with a housing scheme or a railway, that's obviously impossible."

The Battle of Killiecrankie took place on 27 July 1689 in Perthshire when the government sent an army to deal with John Graham of Claverhouse, known as Bonny Dundee, and his newly formed Jacobite army.

The Jacobites won the battle, leaving 2,000 government soldiers dead.

However, 800 Jacobite troops were also killed, including Bonnie Dundee.

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