Scotland is internationally renowned for the quality and diversity of its historic environment and as a nation, we have long placed a high value on it, celebrating the lives of our ancestors as well as recognising the contribution it makes to a modern, dynamic and flourishing Scotland. The past, which is all around us, defines who we are as a nation and as a people. Our heritage is hugely inspirational, helping to create a powerful sense of place and providing the backdrop to where we live, work and have fun. Our historic environment has a huge role to play in shaping a bright future for Scotland and it is up to us all to ensure that it is passed on with pride to benefit future generations.
I am, therefore, delighted to present the first ever Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland which sets out a common vision and ambition about how we will care collectively for this precious resource over the next ten years.
The Strategy has been developed collaboratively by a wide range of organisations and specialists in the historic environment sector and beyond and sets out a shared vision for our historic environment which is owned by the people of Scotland - and that is critical. The Strategy does not belong to government or any particular sector - it is for everyone and we can all play a part in helping to ensure it delivers positive outcomes for our historic environment. Indeed, the Strategy sets out how both individuals and organisations with an interest in the historic environment, and others, can continue to work together to build on existing achievements and help ensure that the historic environment is in a position to deal with the challenges it currently faces such as the financial downturn and the impact of climate change.
The Strategy will help ensure that our historic environment is understood and valued, cared for and protected, enjoyed and enhanced - from our great iconic sites to local, largely undesignated, historic assets which contribute so much to local distinctiveness and identity. Delivering the Strategy, however, will require the commitment and enthusiasm of everyone - from academics and professionals with specialist knowledge and skills, through all aspects of local and national government, to individuals and communities taking an interest in their local historic environment. In short, we need to adopt a Team Scotland approach - we simply cannot work in isolation if we are to achieve the best for our historic environment, and for Scotland, today. We need to collectively own and work together, aligning our efforts to successfully deliver the Strategy.
I am hugely excited by the Strategy and by the legacy we will help to create - a historic environment which is understood, cared for and valued, and one which continues to make a strong contribution to the wellbeing of our nation and its people.
Fiona Hyslop MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs