j.Site Management Plan and statement of objectives

St Kilda is already a World Heritage Site on account of its terrestrial natural heritage, and in addition is a National Nature Reserve: both of these designations include a commitment to produce and maintain a Site Management Plan, and both Scottish Natural Heritage and The National Trust for Scotland have had and continue to have an active Site Management Plan for St Kilda. The 1996-2001 St Kilda Management Plan recently expired, and is being replaced by a 2002-2007 Plan (Annexed to formal Revised Nomination Document submitted to the World Heritage Committee, and available for comment from: The National Trust for Scotland, Wemyss House, 28 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4ET, Scotland, United Kingdom. It is hoped to make the Management Plan available electronically through the Trust’s St Kilda website www.kilda.org.uk.

The most relevant guiding principles of management are as follows:

  1. St Kilda will be managed as a model of integrated conservation management, where natural and cultural interests are considered together.
  2. The principal land-use of the islands will be conservation.
  3. For natural heritage interests, natural processes will normally be allowed to continue without intervention.
  4. For cultural heritage interests, conservation action will proceed on the basis of minimum intervention required to retain the significance of the site.
  5. The sheep on St Kilda will continue to be treated as wild and unmanaged animals.
  6. For the marine natural heritage, the same level of protection as that on land will be sought.
  7. New developments will only proceed if judged to have minimal detrimental effect on the site.
  8. Scientific research that improves the understanding of the property in order to guide its management will be encouraged.
  9. Education and interpretation programmes will instil a long-lasting appreciation for the qualities of this unique site and for the importance of sustainable conservation on St Kilda and across the globe.
  10. Access for visitors, whether in person or through interpretative materials will continue to be provided.

Objectives and prescriptions will address immediate management priorities to deliver:

  1. Extension of World Heritage Site status to include the marine environment and cultural landscape.
  2. A framework to involve partner organisations in supporting the integrated conservation management of the property.
  3. Enhanced staffing and financial resources to meet the operational needs and vision for the property.

In addition, there will be a focus on continuous improvement of conservation management as well as the provision of access and benefit, to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Continued conservation of historic and natural features to maintain them in favourable condition, ensuring no loss or damage to significant features.
  2. Acting to mitigate threats to key features.
  3. Enhanced knowledge and understanding of the islands and their cultural and natural features, and greater promulgation of the research results to share knowledge and understanding.
  4. Continued provision of informed, responsible, virtual and enjoyable access.
  5. Establishment of education and interpretation programmes that promote a greater understanding both of St Kilda and of sustainable conservation management amongst visitors and non-visitors, particularly the establishment of interpretation facilities on the Western Isles.
  6. Regular liaison with the local Western Isles community to understand each other’s aspirations for St Kilda.
  7. Assessment of options for increasing the property endowment.