Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Poor building maintenance – a threat to Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site



Dec 1, 2016

Edinburgh World Heritage, together with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, has announced that complacency and lack of attention to basic building maintenance now represents a significant threat to the city’s World Heritage Site. According to figures released by Edinburgh World Heritage during National Maintenance Week, 72% of the buildings in the historic city centre are judged to be in need of some form of repair, the majority being privately owned historic tenements with multiple owners and tenants.


Typical issues outlined by Edinburgh World Heritage include damaged roof slates in need of replacement, gutters blocked with leaves and other vegetation, poorly maintained or rotten window frames, damaged stonework, and corrosion to cast iron work. These problems can lead to a building no longer being wind and water tight, which can then further accelerate decline.


Further data shared by the charity shows that a poorly maintained building can result in higher fuel bills – up to +15% in some cases. This in turn increases the building’s carbon footprint.


The charity also made the link between the poor state of many buildings in the city and climate change. Data shows that average monthly rainfall and temperature are both rising in Edinburgh, and will probably continue to do so into the future. This places historic buildings under further stress and increases the need for regular maintenance and taking corrective action before problems become too bad.


Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage commented: ‘We often think of inappropriate new development as the major threat to our World Heritage site – but the complacency that leads to poor building maintenance is an equal threat. Edinburgh World Heritage stands ready to provide advice and grants to support residents and businesses so that we pass on our beautiful old buildings to the next generation in the best possible condition’.


Gordon MacDonald, MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands commented: ‘Everyone has a role to play here in ensuring that our own buildings – the places where we live and work, are wind and water tight and properly maintained. This is crucial work for the long-term conservation of our World Heritage Site here in Edinburgh – and can play an important role in reducing unsustainable energy use, which is good for everyone’.

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