Introduction   Overview   The shape of the debate   Themes Theme 1 - A National Heritage Collection Theme 2 - Heritage for Communities Theme 3 Making heritage accessible Theme 4 Heritage and Tourism after 2014    
Introduction Connecting with conservation Case study Land Reform
Advocating Community Interests The options for the Trust Video Package Your views 

As an independent charity, the National Trust for Scotland is not tied to any political party or philosophy.

As stated in the Trust’s five-year strategy Securing the Future of our Past, ‘the purpose of the National Trust for Scotland is to conserve and promote our heritage.’ The word ‘our’ was chosen deliberately in order to signify that the Trust is an advocate for all of Scotland’s heritage, not just the properties it happens to own.

Collage of imagesThis has led the Trust to work alongside other conservation organisations on such matters as the protection of wild land and climate change. The Trust has also been vocal about national planning processes and developments felt to be threatening to Scotland’s heritage, and works with elected representatives of all persuasions so long as it is of benefit to Scotland’s treasured places.

In a local community context, the Trust has various formal and informal partnerships in place but one of the most important initiatives of recent times was a survey of members and non-members in communities throughout Scotland.

The Land That We Love was published in September 2013 and was based on findings gathered through surveys of 700 National Trust for Scotland members, around 1000 members of the Scottish public and the attendees of a major landscape conference which took place in late 2012.

72% of people surveyed said they had “no influence” in response to the question ‘do you feel you are able to influence how your local landscapes are managed?’

The research also found that there was a strong connection between perceived influence over local planning issues, with 46% of the wealthiest groups feeling they had some, compared to just 16% amongst the least wealthy group.

Industrial development, pylons and neglect were the development issues of most concern to those surveyed from outwith the Trust, while Trust members were most concerned by pylons, onshore windfarms and industrial development.

From the survey we can infer that large numbers of people feel disconnected from the means of shaping, conserving or improving the environment and landscape that surrounds their community.

The questions are – should the Trust best respond to these concerns in its advocacy role, and, if so, how?