Kate Mavor, the outgoing chief executive of the National Trust for
Scotland, has criticised the Scottish Government and local councils for not
doing enough to protect the country’s heritage.
Ms Mavor, 53, who takes up a new position as chief executive of English
Heritage next month, said not enough consideration was being given to the
impact that change and development has on Scotland’s heritage and
landscape, and that it had led to a monotonous uniformity in communities.
Speaking at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire in her final week as the trust’s
chief executive, Ms Mavor also said the Scottish Government has been in too
much of a rush to use wind farms to meet its climate change targets. In
some parts of the country, she said, wind farms were a desecration on the
“I do think the impact of change and development on heritage is not
considered enough,” she said in her final interview in the job. “Either
it’s not required for people to properly evaluate it, or, as has happened
recently with wind farms, there’s been environmental assessments done which
have strongly suggested this is not a good idea and they have been over-ruled.
“That’s just paying lip service. It’s particularly important when town
centres are looking uniform and the same chains of shops are appearing
everywhere and you have that whole monotonous uniformity of town centres.”
Ms Mavor, who is leaving the National Trust for Scotland after six years,
said she felt she had to speak out about the proliferation of wind farms in
Scotland. The trust has recently objected to proposals for a 67-turbine
wind farm south east of Fort Augustus, which Ms Mavor said was part of a
rush to wind farms that needs to be arrested.
“There’s too much of a rush to one kind of electricity generation, being
wind farms,” she said. “There are many other things that could be done to
bring down our carbon footprint which are not being emphasised such as
making sure everyone’s house is insulated and educating people – that would
be first thing to make the biggest dent.
“We also think wind turbines need to be appropriate and proportionate to
the landscape – in some ways, they can enhance the landscape but in other
places they would be a desecration.
“The one we did protest against recently was bigger than the size of
Inverness and visible from miles around in a stunning mountain landscape –
that is disproportionate. We don’t have to do it that way. We want to make
sure that it becomes normal to evaluate the impact on heritage of any
change. It’s the fact it’s not considered that we feel strongly about.”
Speaking ahead of her final day at the trust yesterday [Friday], Ms Mavor
also defended her record. When she joined in 2009, the organisation was in
a financial crisis and did not have the funds it needed to run its 120
properties and Ms Mavor said change was badly needed.
“It was like putting on a huge big brake to stop it careering over the edge
of the cliff, ” she said, “and because we did that, that stopped it
happening. It would have gone over the edge.”
Ms Mavor said the decision to cut 20 per cent of the staff was the right
one, and that, after a reorganisation, the trust was now in a healthy
financial situation again. She starts her new position at English Heritage
on May 4th.
XREF Kate Mavor talks love and money in today’s The Herald Magazine