David Torrance MSP raises the Wemyss Caves in the Scottish Parliament and Fiona Hyslop (Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs) replies.SWACS would like to thank David Torrance for once again raising the profile and cause of the Wemyss Caves in Parliament.
David Torrance MSP:
Wemyss caves, in my constituency, are a site of great historic importance. The Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society has worked tirelessly to preserve the unique Pictish artwork that is found on the cave walls. The caves remain at risk from coastal erosion. Can the cabinet secretary advise me on what progress has been made in offering support for Wemyss caves so as to help provide security and stability for the future of the site?
The Wemyss caves are quite remarkable. After the member led a members’ business debate on the subject, he invited me to visit them. I saw at first hand the remarkable artwork in the caves, and I got a real sense of the caves’ vulnerability.
The management group that was brought together included local partners such as the Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society, Fife Council, the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and the Wemyss estate, which is the owner of the site, and is advised and supported by Historic Scotland and by Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion—SCAPE.
The group is taking forward the five recommendations of a report that was put together last year: jointly to resource a management plan, to provide support for a feasibility study for a cultural centre, to develop better integration between local and national bodies for long-term coastal management between East Wemyss and Buckhaven, to complete the scanning project for the caves, and for the main government partners to work together to empower local groups to deliver key management aims.
I know that David Torrance is passionate about the Wemyss caves. I share his anxiety about the immediate threats from some of the coastal work that is taking place around Fife and about the potential implications of that over the next few months and into spring next year, so I have asked Government agencies to identify some immediate issues as well as driving forward the management plan.
I think that more people should be aware of the Wemyss caves, and I thank the member for drawing the matter to the Parliament’s attention.