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Orkney public consultation starts - have your say on the world heritage site's future

8 May 2008

The public are being asked for their views on two key documents that will shape the future of Orkney’s World Heritage Site.

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney Management Plan 2008-13 Consultation Draft and its accompanying Environmental Report will be published 8 May.

The Plan will affect the running of an area which contains some of the islands’ – and the world’s – most precious ancient monuments and which plays a vital role in the local economy.

Residents and a range of national and local bodies have all had an input into the draft management plan.

The Environmental Report looks at whether the proposals it contains could have an impact on anything from water quality to wildlife habitats – and suggests ways to minimise any potential negative effects.

Sabina Strachan, World Heritage Site Co-ordinator, said: “The World Heritage Site is important to the life, culture and economy of Orkney and we would love as many people as possible to look through the draft plan and let us know what they think.

“We would also like to hear what people have to say about the Environmental Report.

“We want to make sure the community gets the greatest possible benefits from the World Heritage Site while ensuring that it is managed in a sustainable way so it can be enjoyed by future generations.”

The draft management plan is the work of the World Heritage Site partners which are Orkney Islands Council, Historic Scotland, the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

A public meeting was held on 28 February 2008 where residents were also able to have an input.

This resulted in changes being made including a commitment to be more explicit about public benefits.

Another meeting will be held on Saturday 7 June where the public can comment on the draft.

The Environmental Report has been put together by a team of experts from Historic Scotland with advice from SNH and SEPA.

The documents will also be available on the internet and printed versions will be available to consult at a series of locations.

Notes for editors

● The management plan is a framework document which sets out how the World Heritage Site will be managed for the next five years. It focuses on issues including:
  • Protecting the WHS and its setting
  • Conserving the site, its monuments and natural heritage and addressing matters like coastal erosion
  • Developing high-quality research, education and interpretation
  • Improving access for all
  • Clarifying the roles of the four partners and resourcing the implementation of the management plan
  • Developing opportunities, and encouraging engagement, in ways that account for  community interests
  • Ensuring that sustainability underpins all aspects of WHS-related work.

● The recommendations of the Environmental Report will be built into the management plan and an annual review will be carried out to ensure they are being followed.

● The public meeting will take place at Stenness Community School at 10.30am.

● Copies of the consultation documents will be available at:

● Responses can be given in writing or in person at the public meeting.

● An analysis of responses to the consultation will be published which will also show how they were taken into account for the final version of the plan.

● The consultation period begins on 8 May and lasts for six weeks. The final plan will be published later in the summer.

For further information

Matthew Shelley
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8734