Real Ministerial engagement at Scottish heritage conference

The event held in Glasgow on 3 November not only engaged representatives of a wide range of heritage organisations but demonstrated the commitment of Culture Minister Michael Russell MSP. A morning of stimulating presentations was concluded by discussions Chaired by the Minister roaming the room with a hand held microphone, encouraging very open debate.

“This was a very unusual sight.” commented HTF Director, Chris Winter, who attended the event. “We are struggling to engage the UK Government in meaningful discussion about the historic environment, and this hands-on approach was very refreshing.”

Many of the same issues which are faced south of the border are challenging Scottish colleagues – the impact of VAT on the care and maintenance of historic buildings in particular. However, what was also evident was the emphasis on castles and museums as epitomising heritage, and Chris was at pains to make the point that the everyday historic environment – the houses, shop fronts, town centres and public spaces – were just as important, and the responsibilities of local authorities (which were under represented at the conference) to maintain and manage these places needed support. View the conference presentations and speeches

Although the links between heritage management and tourism are obvious, other disciplines - traffic management, housing and retail development - must be integrated into the conservation agenda if contemporary agendas and sustainable outcomes are to be achieved, which is how the Forum operates and offers guidance, based on good practice.

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