Ben Lomond is one of 46 munros owned by NTS . Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Ben Lomond is one of 46 munros owned by NTS . Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The conservation charity that owns some of Scotland’s most popular mountain areas will cut staff numbers in a drive to save costs.

The National Trust for Scotland’s trustees approved plans that will put 90 staff jobs at risk in a major shake-up of the organisation.

The trust has carried out a 90-day consultation on proposals to simplify its structure in an attempt to save 10 per cent of its annual expenditure.

The charity owns 46 munros, including Ben Lomond, peaks in Glen Coe and Torridon, as well as numerous historic properties. The 350,000-member charity said the changes will lead to it widening its appeal, encouraging more people to visit and enjoy the heritage in its care, increasing membership and generating more income for investment in conservation.

Submissions were received from the trust’s recognised union Prospect, staff and volunteers.

National Trust chief executive Simon Skinner. Photo: NTS

National Trust chief executive Simon Skinner. Photo: NTS

Chief executive Simon Skinner said: “We would like to thank everyone who responded to our proposals and who made such useful and thoughtful submissions.

“In particular I welcome the constructive part that the Prospect union has played throughout the consultation.

“It was clear that the need for change was fully endorsed and, as a result of the information and practical suggestions received, we have made changes to our proposals that enhance the programme we are now enacting.

“The changes allow us to retain a core staff of specialists, who will support conservation and visitor services at properties, enable us to bring in new skills and competencies that ensure we offer world-class experiences and deliver a new regional structure that puts the places we care for firmly at the centre of decision-making and planning.

“More efficient ways of working will complement other sources of funding so that we can prioritise £17m of investment to make our properties better. We have already announced the first tranche of investment in Culzean Castle and Country Park totalling £2.5m and there is more to come.”

The changes will involve reducing seven directorates and departments down to four, with headquarter functions streamlined to support a new regional properties structure. There will be six regional groupings of built-heritage properties and one nationwide grouping of natural heritage properties, covering the uplands the charity owns.

In June NTS proposed 142 staff would be placed at risk of redundancy due to the changes.

Glen Coe is among the NTS's most popular mountain properties

Glen Coe is among the NTS's most popular mountain properties. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Following the consultation, modifications have been made meaning the number of staff placed at risk of compulsory redundancy will be reduced to 90, with 73 posts being created or retained.

At-risk staff are being given the opportunity to apply for new posts within the revised structure in the coming weeks.

Implementation of the changes is underway and will be complete by the summer of 2017, NTS said.

Mr Skinner said: “It is inevitable that we will be losing some people through the changes but we hope that as many as possible can find roles in the new structure. It will be a difficult time for some and we will offer as much support and help as we can.”

The National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty was founded in 1931 and owns 730 sq km of land, 634km of mountain footpaths, plus 130 historic buildings. In a recent poll of Prospect members working for the charity, only five per cent said the changes would strengthen the organisation.

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