Edinburgh heritage: Johnstone highlights UNESCO concerns

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, today (24 Feb) urged Edinburgh city council and the Scottish Government to act upon reports that Unesco has expressed “deeply worrying” concerns that the quality of new developments is affecting the city’s World Heritage status.

Alison spoke at the recent planning hearing into the Old Royal High School development, warning that Scotland’s capital city was at risk of damaging a key aspect that makes it so special – its historic built environment.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian and candidate for Edinburgh Central, said:

“This report is a wake-up call for local and national government. We have a developer-led system that leaves our fantastic built heritage vulnerable to inappropriate development.

“There is a balance to be struck to ensure Edinburgh is a city that works for local people but also continues to draw visitors from around the world. The way that new developments are handled is clearly causing concern at Unesco and the threat to our world heritage status must be taken seriously.

“Our capital city needs a clear plan for how to make best use of potential development sites in a way that adds to our unique qualities, rather than detracting from them. There are certainly examples of good practice we should be using as inspiration. New housing and economic activity is vital but as these comments from Unesco show, the scales are being tipped too far in favour of development driven purely by profit.”