Scottish historical sites Edinburgh Castle and Fort George at risk due to climate change

Scotland is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, home to ancient ruins, towering castles, Viking settlements and sites from the Neolithic period. 

Scottish historical sites Edinburgh Castle and Fort George at risk due to climate change

Now, according to experts, due to the erosive effects of climate change Scotland’s heritage sites of rich historic beauty are at risk of being destroyed if they aren’t properly protected.

For the first time ever, a report conducted by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), and given exclusively to the newly formed tabloid, The Guardian, has studied Scottish sites to identify those most at risk to climate change, and the results are worrying. 

Using climatic data from The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), as well as HES surveys, and geological information from the British Geological Survey, HES has given red alerts to swathes of sites, reporting that almost a fifth of heritage sites are at risk of being damaged by climate change. Some 28 of these sites, such as the Viking and Pictish settlement island, the Brough of Bersay, and Fort George, near Inverness, are some of the most at risk. 

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 The HES has also flagged that 70% of the 340 sites have amber warnings, including Edinburgh Castle, Glasgow Cathedral, Skara Brae, Jarlshoff and Holyrood Park, which borders the Scottish Parliament and the Queen’s official home. 

Many of the heritage sites flagged with amber alerts are already being protected by HES, but would otherwise receive red warnings as they’re at risk of being damaged by landslides and flooding. While sites are being protected, they are still in danger of being damaged by severe weather which the teams are unable to control. 

HES has already receive an 8% cut in its grant, with SEPA, who looks after climate change, having their budget being cut further. 

Back in 2017, HES launched an international initiative to combat climate change across heritage sites in Northern Europe, bringing together countries like Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, Russia, Norway and Scotland. Through the initiative, they hope to help the countries in protecting their heritage sites from climate change. 

The report also comes as the world is put in an even more globally precarious climate change position after Donald Trump announced the US’ departure from the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Image: Ad Meskens

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