Call for more protection for Midlothian battlefields
The Scottish Battlefields Trust (SBT) is lobbying all parties to pledge to protect Scotland's Historic Battlefields, including two in Midlothian.
Midlothian includes the sites of two of the 40 designated battlefields. They are: Roslin, 24th February 1303, Scottish victory, First War of Scottish Independence; and Rullion Green, 28th November 1666, Royalist victory, Scottish Covenanter Wars.
Herbert Coutts, chairman of the Scottish Battlefields Trust said: “We are careful to preserve historic artefacts, archives and books for what they can tell us about Scotland’s past. Yet the sites of battles that shaped our national story and character remain under threat of inappropriate development.
"We call on our political leaders to pledge to protect our historic battlefields, and we have suggested how they can do it.”
The SBT urges Scotland’s political parties to include in their manifestos concrete commitments to protect and preserve historic battlefields of national importance, and to introduce measures to promote their interpretation for school students, members of the public and tourists.
Herbert added: “To achieve these objectives we recommend the incoming government establishes a Historic Battlefields Acquisition Fund: to provide financial support to local or national heritage charities to purchase key areas of designated battlefields, to be held in trust for future generations.
“Sets up a Historic Battlefields Research, Preservation and Interpretation Fund to grant-aid research into the history of battlefields, restore day-of-battle conditions where possible, and introduce 21 st century technology to interpret them.
“And create a Historic Battlefields Educational Visits Fund to enable school students to visit our historic battlefields, by providing 100 per cent grants to meet the transport and other costs.
"By this means, at the sites where they were fought, young people would be given accurate accounts of the historic context of the battles, and told the stories of those who participated in them.
"The current arrangement which claims to provide “protection” through the planning system for battlefields designated by Historic Environment Scotland as being of national importance has been shown to be a mirage.”