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Orkney World Heritage Site Management Plan launched

17 October 2008

The future management of Orkney’s world famous Neolithic landscape was outlined yesterday (16 October) by Culture Minister Linda Fabiani.

The management plan for the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site (WHS) sets out the significance of the UNESCO designated site.

The Minister said: “The World Heritage Site in Orkney is a truly exceptional place. During my visit to Skara Brae in May I was struck by the effect that seeing the 5000-year-old landscape had on me.

“It is very special to stand in a place that has such an incredible history and has been home to our ancestors, and realise that there is nowhere else in northern Europe where you can see villages and monuments like this.”

The Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments that form the World Heritage Site date from between 5100 and 3500 years ago. They include Maeshowe chambered tomb and the Barnhouse Stone; The Stones of Stenness; the Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae.

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site is cared for by Historic Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Its management also involves Orkney Islands Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The Management Plan sets out how the partners propose to manage the Site over the next five years. It also considers how the site has been managed since it was inscribed onto the World Heritage list by UNESCO in 1999.

The Minister added: “This plan sets out 46 objectives that cover everything from physical access to the sites to using the internet to make people better aware of the wealth of history we have here.

“Many people have been involved in preparing this report and I would like to thank them for their hard work and continued support for the World Heritage Site. I am sure the management plan will help preserve this unique piece of our heritage.”

The Management Plan clarifies the World Heritage Site’s Buffer Zone and defines a Sensitive Area.  The Buffer Zone is used to highlight an area where potential impacts need to be given careful consideration by developers and decision-makers.  Similarly, the purpose of the Sensitive Area is not to create a ‘no-go’ area for any type of development but rather to indicate an area where policies relating to the potential affect on the Orkney WHS and its Setting should be taken into account.

Notes for editors

  • World Heritage Sites are chosen for inscription by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. For more information visit

  • Register for media release email alerts from If you wish to unsubscribe at any time, please email  or telephone on 0131 668 8603

  • A transcript of the Minister’s speech to  welcome to the launch of the Heart of  Neolithic Orkney WHS Management Plan is available on request

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873