Cash boost to protect Edinburgh Castle from climate change

Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh Castle.
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The crumbling rocky outcrop of Edinburgh’s iconic hilltop defence will be contained following a £6.6 million boost to protect against the effects of climate change.

Historic sites at risk of the ravages of warmer weather and deterioration across the country will benefit from funding from the Scottish Government and Edinburgh Castle has been labelled a priority project.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop today confirmed a �6.6 million capital boost to support investment in conservation work.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop today confirmed a �6.6 million capital boost to support investment in conservation work.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which manages properties on behalf of Scottish ministers, said climate change and extreme weather were putting “additional stresses” on historic buildings such as Edinburgh Castle and were “acting as a multiplier” to their natural deterioration.

Work to mitigate these effects has already begun at some sites, including the rock containment at Edinburgh Castle as well as coastal protection works at Blackness Castle in West Lothian.

The money is yet to be allocated to specific sites but HES bosses have also earmarked Edinburgh Castle’s stained glass windows for repairs.

David Mitchell, director of conservation for HES, said, “The £6.6 million announced today will be invested in conservation, maintenance and visitor facilities across the country.

“Some of the work we’ll be doing includes masonry consolidation, stained glass repairs at Edinburgh Castle, and energy efficiency investments.

“Given today’s funding announcement, we’ll be planning the allocation to specific projects in the coming weeks in line with our conservation report.”

Half of the 352 heritage sites managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) are at risk from climate change, according to a new report commissioned by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Analysis of the historic sites and monuments found 89 per cent were exposed to “damaging” environmental effects.

HES warned of “resource challenges” as it estimated investment of £65m will be needed over the next ten years to ensure the “satisfactory condition” of its properties, with an extra £2.1m needed each year thereafter to sustain that condition.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Historic Environment Scotland’s new conservation study gives us a detailed understanding of the impact on our own heritage sites and tells us what is required to protect and preserve them for the future.

“By their nature, they are often difficult to care for and require specialist expertise to repair. Adding to this challenge, it is well understood that climate change is speeding up the natural process of decay at heritage sites across the world.

“The funding I have announced today underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to protecting and promoting our rich history and heritage, and will enable conservation work to begin at several of our treasured heritage sites.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk