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Consultation launched to protect Scapa Flow’s wartime heritage

A diver explores a section of mast from a German battleship. (Bob Anderson)

One hundred years on from the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow, a consultation has been launched seeking views from the public on the designation of the site as a Historic Marine Protected Area (HMPA).

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), who advise Scottish Government on the designation of historic MPAs, has recommended that the Scottish Government recognise and protect this hugely important part of Scotland’s wartime heritage with Historic Marine Protected Area status.

Historic MPAs aim to preserve marine historic assets of national importance, so that they can be protected, valued and understood.

Orkney has one of the most outstanding collections of First and Second World War naval wreckage remains, both above and underwater.

Since 2001, the remains of three battleships and four cruisers of the German High Seas Fleet scuttled in Scapa Flow in 1919 have been protected as scheduled monuments.

The change to a Historic MPA is a more appropriate way to manage this fragile part of our history.

Philip Robertson, Deputy Head of Designations at HES, said: “Scapa Flow is an internationally significant heritage asset which attracts visitors from all over the world.

“The launch of this consultation follows extensive public engagement with stakeholders over the past few years regarding Scapa Flow, from our online survey to meetings with those who live and work in and around the site. We have also been working closely with Orkney Islands Council on the way forward.

“It’s important that the public have their say in how best to manage the site for the future, balancing the protection of Orkney’s important wartime heritage while taking account of other interests, including the importance of the harbour to Orkney’s sustainable economic growth.

“We want to promote access to Scapa’s heritage and the Historic MPA will help to ensure that people enjoy marine heritage responsibly.

“I’d like to encourage everyone with an interest in Scapa Flow to take this opportunity to share their views about our nation’s priceless marine heritage.”