Historic conflict

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The Scottish Government’s response to the proposal to build 16 houses near the battlefield of Culloden (your report, 8 January) will be the real measure of First Minister Alex Salmond.

Since 2007 Mr Salmond has taken every opportunity to destroy Scotland’s historic landscape, calling for the planting of wind farms and pylon lines on numerous sites of importance in our historic past, ignoring the fact that these sites can never again be restored.

In all these he has been ably aided and abetted by Historic Scotland, admittedly a quango, but a body to which the people should be able to look to support the protection of our treasured landscape.

Historic Scotland has contributed substantially to the restoration and preservation of our historic buildings but has failed utterly to protect the historic landscape from development.

Its failure to object to the plan to build near Culloden battlefield is only the most recent of its great silences.

The proposal, now before the Forestry Commission, to cover the Ochils above the battlefield of Sheriffmuir with commercial Sitka spruce, will destroy the Menstrie Glen, a rare remaining example of an 18th-century farming landscape, supported by the superb documentary study published by the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments.

Historians, including the Historiographer Royal, have protested at this act of cultural vandalism. The response from Historic Scotland: silence.

But perhaps the most striking example of its neglect is the ongoing devastation of the Sheriffmuir battlefield itself.

Here, Historic Scotland’s usual silence gave way to the statement that the construction of a giant pylon line with accompanying access roads would make no impact on this historic site, the location of an encounter, 300 years ago, of even greater importance than the battle of Culloden.

Three excavators work daily destroying the site, the burial place of hundreds of men who fell in the battle.

Come any day to witness what is happening here. Historic Scotland, however, even in its silence, echoes the wishes of the First Minister and Scottish Government policy.

It is critical that people respond to this continuing devastation before there is nothing left of our historic landscape.

Virginia Wills