Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has sought the support of his parliamentary colleagues for a national project which aims to protect Scotland’s heritage sites from the threat of coastal erosion.
Rising sea levels brought about by climate change could erode many heritage sites across Scotland, including a number of high-risk cases in Orkney.
Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project (SCHARP), managed by the SCAPE Trust at the University of St Andrews, aims to find instances where interventions are required through empowering members of the public to identify, record and monitor coastlines. Over 1000 volunteers across the country have already been trained by the project to carry out the surveys.
Mr McArthur has lodged a parliamentary motion recognising the importance of SCHARP and has also written to MSP colleagues urging them to use the summer recess to visit ‘at risk’ sites in their constituencies and regions to learn more about how the project works and meet local volunteers.
Orkney’s MSP commented:
“Scotland is fortunate in having heritage sites that are genuinely world class. Sadly, many are under threat from coastal erosion and the effects of climate change.
“SCHARP is doing brilliant work engaging communities with this issue and working to identify and protect sites across Scotland, including a number here in Orkney. Without the work of volunteers, however, this would simply not be possible. Those who get involved, devoting their time, energy and local knowledge, are due an enormous debt of gratitude.
“For example, volunteers in Sanday helped to move and rebuild eroding structures from the Meur Burnt Mound to the local heritage centre, preserving an important cultural and historical attraction. This is just one example of the invaluable work carried out by volunteers that will allow current and future generations a better understanding of their heritage.
“I know there is similar great work being undertaken in communities across Scotland and I’ve written to my MSP colleagues encouraging them to find out more about what is happening in their constituencies and regions. The summer recess provides a perfect opportunity to get out and learn more about these projects and the volunteers that make them possible.”