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Management Plan News Letter - March 2002

How you can help us plan for St Kilda's future

Your chance to tell us what you think

New World Heritage Site Bid
The National Trust for Scotland, in partnership with other organisations, is preparing a new management plan for St Kilda. The current management plan comes to an end this year. This coincides with the fact that in 2003, the Scottish Executive will bid to extend St Kilda's World Heritage Site status. St Kilda was of course designated a World Heritage Site in 1986, for its natural heritage - its cliffs and its internationally important colonies of seabirds. The Scottish Executive is now working with the Trust, and with Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland, to gain recognition for its underwater features and cultural landscape.

Marine and Cultural Treasures
Marine designation would recognise the spectacular underwater scenery of cliffs, caves and gullies - and the rich animal and plant life that it sustains. Cultural landscape designation would acknowledge the long and close relationship between people and the natural environment on St Kilda, still seen today in the amount of well preserved built remains visible in the landscape.

View over Gleann Mor towards Boreray

Management Plan - Comments Please!

The World Heritage Site bid will be submitted in early 2003 and must be accompanied by an up-to-date management plan. We are consulting very widely on the plan because we recognise that there will be much that we want to achieve on St Kilda that we cannot do without other people's support.
After several months' work gathering ideas, we are now starting to write the plan and have drafted the two statements that form its cornerstone - the Statement of Significance and Vision Statement. We now want to hear your comments on these.
So please do get in touch at the address below if you have any comments and let us know what you think about the future management of St Kilda.

Find Out More …
If you would like to find out more about the management plan work, please contact:

Lorraine Bell, Management Planner
National Trust for Scotland
28 Charlotte Square
Edinburgh EH2 4ET

We will also continue to post updates on the St Kilda website:

Being able to e-mail newsletters helps us to save money for conservation work. If we have sent this copy to you by post, please let us know if you have an e-mail address that we can use to contact you in the future. Thank you.

Western Isles Residents Have Their Say

Public meetings on Benbecula and Harris

Conservation organisations like the Trust know which special features have earned St Kilda a clutch of national and international designations. But until now we have had no real idea what those who live nearest to the islands value most about them. Two public meetings held towards the end of last year are starting to change that. We visited Lionacleit on Benbecula and Tarbert, Harris, and asked Western Isles residents to come along to give us their views on St Kilda.

The importance of St Kilda
We asked everyone to tell us what they think makes St Kilda important. People mentioned the unique story of the native St Kildans and the relationship between man and the environment. The remoteness of the islands is seen as a key factor and many people also mentioned the underwater scenery and wildlife. A lot of people also stressed the importance of an intangible sense of mystique - a real indefinable star quality.

What needs to be done?
Next we asked people whether there were any issues they thought needed to be addressed in the future management of St Kilda. We heard a strong message that people who live in the Western Isles would like more opportunities to visit St Kilda. Many have never been. Allied to that, people asked for more interpretation about St Kilda in existing centres across the Western Isles.

People were also concerned that the islands should be properly protected and a lot of people shared the view that the greatest potential threats to St Kilda were the danger of oil spill from tanker traffic and the introduction of invasive animal species - e.g. rats.

What Next?
We have taken away a lot of good ideas from both meetings and will be considering all of them as we develop the new management plan for St Kilda. Some of these ideas will be implemented over the five year period of the plan, alongside other Trust objectives. Others may only be realised over the longer term, as resources allow. One thing we have definitely learnt is the value of talking to people on the Western Isles about our plans for St Kilda and we hope that this is just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue.

Partner Organisations

The Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage

The National Trust for Scotland owns the islands of St Kilda, accepted as a generous bequest from the 5th Marquis of Bute in 1957. In the same year they were declared a National Nature Reserve and since then, the islands have been managed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Next year, the Trust will take management of the islands back in hand, but will continue to work in close partnership with SNH. SNH has a statutory obligation to ensure effective management of the site as a National Nature Reserve and the Trust will also tap into the knowledge, experience and Western Isles contacts that their South Uist office has built up over the last half century.

Other Partner Organisations

Historic Scotland
MoD QinetiQ Hebrides
Defence Estates
Scottish Executive
Western Isles Council
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Department of Trade & Industry

All the organisations directly involved in the management of St Kilda are taking part in the plan work. This includes the Scottish Executive, conservation organisations (Historic Scotland and JNCC) and the Ministry of Defence contractors running the guided weapons and missile range on the Western Isles and its radar tracking station on St Kilda.

Soay sheep on the main island of Hirta


© The National Trust for Scotland