Page last updated at 23:45 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 00:45 UK

Concerns for battlefield heritage

Robert the Bruce
Robert the Bruce defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn

Scotland's largest conservation charity has voiced concern that proposed legislation may not protect the country's ancient battlefield sites.

The National Trust for Scotland said there needed to be an adjustment in the proposals to ensure sites like Bannockburn were protected.

The concerns were raised after Historic Scotland's published criteria for the Scottish Historic Environment Policy.

The proposals aim to boost protection of sites through the planning process.

Under the plans, Historic Scotland - the government agency with responsibility for safeguarding the historic environment - will draw up an inventory of historic battlefields.
The inventory aims to reduce the likelihood of inappropriate development at the sites.

We would argue that at sites - like Bannockburn - where parts of the battlefield have already been lost, there can be an even greater need to protect what survives
Robin Turner
National Trust for Scotland

To appear on the list, sites must be able to be located accurately and be considered nationally significant because of historical importance, archaeological potential or the value of the undamaged landscape.

Responding to a consultation on the Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP), the National Trust for Scotland said that as it stands, Bannockburn might not qualify for inclusion on the inventory because large areas of the site had been given over to development.

Head of archaeology at the trust, Robin Turner said: "As the owner of some of Scotland's most important battlefield sites, we welcome these moves which will help protect key historic sites for the future.

"However, we would like to see the criteria adjusted to better reflect the full range of factors that combine to make a battlefield of national significance - including recognising the importance of what the public value, regardless of the state of preservation.

"We would argue that at sites - like Bannockburn - where parts of the battlefield have already been lost, there can be an even greater need to protect what survives."

Mr Turner said the charity would continue to work with Historic Scotland to ensure its concerns were addressed.

The trust, which owns major battlefields sites at Bannockburn, Culloden and Glen Shiel, has interests in other sites such as Killicrankie, Auldearn and Fyvie.


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