Murdo has highlighted the importance of maintaining Scotland’s historic buildings and also stressed the need for funding in order to do this.
During a recent Members’ Business debate on The Impact of Long-term Historical Site Closures Managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) at Holyrood, he talked about the impact of the country’s climate, with an increase in wet weather leading to the corrosion of stonework at the likes of Dunkeld Cathedral.
Commenting, Murdo Fraser MSP said: “It is clear that HES properties are an essential part of our history and culture, but they also give the country a huge economic boost by bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to Scotland - arriving from the rest of the United Kingdom and around the world. Therefore, it is really important that we do what we can to ensure that they stay open.
“There was a negative impact of closures of many historic buildings over the past few years – closures that were caused by Covid and then due to a range of issues. I visited Dunkeld Cathedral myself last October after being contacted by several constituents who were concerned that its grounds were closed to the public. I saw how the masonry was crumbling due to the impact of the weather.
“As the climate gets wetter, the stonework crumbles and this becomes a real risk to visitors, resulting in HES having no alternative but to close these properties until they are restored. I saw the work being done by HES to try to restore Dunkeld Cathedral but we shouldn’t underestimate the cost of this, and we also need to address the shortage of stone masons. Stone masons are in high demand, not just in Scotland but right across Europe. However, HES are trying to recruit apprentices and make it an attractive career option.”
Murdo continued: “This is a vital issue, which will require money from the SNP Government to support HES and to fund apprentice stone masons. It is vital to all our communities across Scotland that these historic monuments are maintained so that they will not only last for future generations but can also be enjoyed by local residents and visitors now.”
In Murdo's constituency, Dunkeld Cathedral has since re-opened with safety fencing being put up around the nave of the Cathedral. Doune Castle re-opened last year after some remedial work, with Aberdour Castle in Fife re-opening in April this year.