By Lucy Ashton 

Jackie Baillie, pictured right, attended an event held to highlight the role Scotland’s unique heritage has to play in the country’s economic and green recovery.

The session at the Scottish Parliament was hosted by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the lead public body that investigates, cares for and promotes the country’s historic environment, including over 300 properties in care.

It came as HES revealed that it would be reopening Dumbarton Castle this spring after a period of closure and repair following high-level masonry inspections.

The event, ‘How Scotland’s Past Can Support Its Future’, championed the important role that Scotland’s historic buildings, sites and heritage sector plays in creating jobs, promoting tourism and supporting the environment.

The French Prison, which held Mary Queen of Scots at Dumbarton Castle, hosts visitors.

Figures from Historic Environment Scotland show the historic environment sector generated £4.4 billion for Scotland’s economy in 2019 and supported 68,000 full-time equivalent jobs in heritage, tourism and construction sectors.  As many as 86 pe cent of people also reported a well-being benefit from their local heritage.

Dumbarton constituency MSP Jackie Baillie said: “It was a pleasure to meet with Historic Environment Scotland. The organisation has a key role in the local economy and our transition to net zero.

“It was particularly fitting that this event came as the re-opening of Dumbarton Castle was announced.

“I am delighted that the jewel in Dumbarton’s crown will be open to visitors again, helping to boost our local economy.

“I was also keen to raise with HES the need for a comprehensive marketing strategy to put Dumbarton Castle on the map and attract tourists to the town.”

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive at HES, said: “Scotland’s historic environment is a part of our everyday lives.

“It’s our homes and high streets, schools and hospitals. It’s also transport infrastructure like canals and bridges. The historic environment is central to our lives and our sense of place, identity and to our well-being.

“There is clear economic value in investing in the historic environment to deliver these core agendas, with the reuse and adaptation of existing heritage assets being integral to a net zero transition. I would like to thank all the MSPs who came to find out more about how Scotland’s past can support its future”.

Top of page picture: The French Prison, gun battery and Eagle Rock at Dumbarton Castle.

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