Managing Change in Scotland’s Landscape: Perth Conference, November 2012


Conference Proceedings-Managing Change in Scotlands Landscape 2012_Page_001Scotland’s diverse and distinctive landscapes and seascapes are of great importance and lie at the heart of our national identity. The uniqueness and beauty of their scenery is acknowledged internationally. They are fundamental resources which serve a wide variety of purposes. They are subject to natural and man made change. It is the Nation’s responsibility to look after these assets and pass them onto future generations in a way that will show that proper care and attention has been taken to retain their inherited attractiveness and amenity.

One of the key aims in organising the programme for the Conference, Managing Change in Scotland’s Landscapes, was to raise awareness of the contribution that Scotland’s landscapes make to our lives and livelihoods. Many questions arise regarding our continuing ability to manage the unprecedented uncertainties we face from climate change to a range of issues including tree pestilence, wind farms, enlarging farms engulfing their historic footprints and the inexorable pressures of urban expansion. Unmanaged changes will degrade the landscape as we know it, and this will call for new thinking and concerted action.

Such thinking was embraced at the Conference, the first to comprehensively debate the subject on a national policy basis since its precursor, fifty years ago. The two day event, the brainchild of the Landscape Institute Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland was held in Perth on 27-28th November 2012.


As was demonstrated at the first Conference, held at Cambusnethan Priory in the Clyde Valley in 1962, the responsibility for managing change crosses many disciplines. In effect stewardship of the landscape is shared between those responsible for the public interest, landowners, their agents, foresters, farmers, developers, statutory undertakers, land use planners, civil engineers, architects and landscape architects to list the main stakeholders. At the time, there was no overall body to co-ordinate all of the interests and set priorities for action. One of the most significant realisations was that no single discipline could claim supremacy over any other in the arbitration of landscape change and out of that was born the need and concept of interdisciplinary collaboration to achieve long term and sustainable solutions.

It was interesting for those landscape architects who were present at the 1962 National Landscape Policy for Scotland to recall the widening perspective and heightened public awareness of the threats facing Scotland’s landscapes and countryside at that time. They understood that a laissez-fair approach to the conservation of our natural heritage had to be replaced with positive action based on deeper understanding of the processes of landscape change and how to manage such change.

The first National Landscape Conference, arranged jointly by the Institute of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) debated the need for a ‘Landscape Commission for Scotland’. Subsequently, in 1968, the Countryside Commission for Scotland was established”. This body, enormously successful and the envy of and replicated in other parts of the UK, was subsumed in 1992 within a new combined Nature Conservancy Council (NCC), the Countryside Commission for Scotland (CCS) subsequently bringing into being, the singular government agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Conference Summary & Survey

You can view and download the summary papers and post conference survey below:

  • Conference Proceedings: Report on Conference – HERE
  • A National Landscape Policy for Scotland: Report on Conference held on Cambusnethan Priory, Lanarakshire (1962) – HERE
  • Managing Change in Scotland’s Landscape: LI Article – HERE
  • Conference Summary: Key Findings and Recommended Actions – HERE
  • Post Conference Survey – HERE


Photographs from the Conference