Thursday 30 January, 2020

The current National Museum of Flight is located within the best preserved Second World War airfield in the UK which has been classed as a Scheduled Monument site. Its heritage status means we are not allowed to build on the site so the proposed new hangar will be built on land adjacent to the historic airfield. There are also significant restrictions on developments around the site. We considered all possible options for the location of our new building, including the fields to the west of the site. We liaised closely with Historic Environment Scotland to identify a site which would minimise any impact on the Scheduled Monument. The current proposal has been specifically chosen for this reason. The natural topography has been used as part of the design. Building into the slope of the ground in the proposed location allows the building’s height to be significantly reduced. Historic Environment Scotland have already given Scheduled Monument Consent for the development.

The new building is necessary to protect internationally important aircraft which are currently at risk of deterioration from being located outdoors. National Museums Scotland recognises the global threat of climate change and during the development of our proposals we have worked to minimise the environmental impact of the new building which incorporates ground source heat pumps and roof-top photovoltaic panels.

This project does not affect ancient woodland in the Big Wood which is covered by a Tree Protection Order. The woodland landscape has been fully considered and we have conducted both an Arboricultural Impact Assessment and extended Tree Survey. The project requires the felling of 50 mature trees out of a total of 299 trees. Those identified in the survey as being of particular significance will remain.  The strip of land affected covers 0.64 hectares and a 0.7 hectare area will be replanted with 780 trees – including many mature trees as well as saplings – supplemented by a woodland shrub layer which will create an additional wildlife habitat on what is currently arable farmland. This will sustain a more diverse variety of species than is currently present and provide a lasting legacy.

30 January 2020

This statement was updated on 31 January 2020 to include additional information.


Further information from Patricia Convery, Press Office, National Museums Scotland on 0131 247 4386 or email

Notes to editors

National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in Europe, caring for a multi-disciplinary collection that is one of the most diverse in the world. Our four museums are the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the National War Museum within Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian and the National Museum of Rural Life near East Kilbride. We reach out across Scotland, the UK and internationally through loans, touring exhibitions, research and partnerships and offer advice, support and training to museums across Scotland. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh is an internationally significant centre for collections research, access, storage and specialist training.

Twitter: @NtlMuseumsScot
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