Get The Latest Built Environment News, Policy Developments, Publications, Consultations And More.

BEFS News

In Spring, BEFS will be saying a fond farewell to Director, Euan Leitch, as he takes up a new role as Chief Executive of SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Forum. We are glad to see that Euan will be continuing his work in the built environment and wish him all the best in his new post.

Today, BEFS Board are delighted to announce that Ailsa Macfarlane has been appointed as BEFS Director from May 2021. Ailsa joined BEFS as the Policy & Strategy Manager in 2017, having previously managed the Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage project and worked for Museums Galleries Scotland. BEFS Board and Team look forward to working with Ailsa in her new capacity.

Following Ailsa’s appointment, BEFS is seeking a new Policy and Strategy Manager. The role involves engaging with BEFS members on strategic policy and legislative developments relating to Scotland’s built environment; informing members of strategic policy developments; co-ordinating views; and promoting these through consultation responses and legislative opportunities. We are seeking the right individual, who enjoys strategic thinking, the detail of policy consultations, and is highly self-motivated, to fit into a small friendly team. The deadline for applications is noon on Tuesday 6th April 2021. More details here.

A coalition of Scotland’s leading experts on the built environment, including BEFS and members, have issued a joint statement calling on new ways of working that embed resilience into how our places function and develop over time. The next Scottish Government must co-ordinate legislation, strategies and funding if its vision of a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future is to be achieved. There must be a shift from overlapping and disjointed strategies to complementarity and synergised policy making and from an opportunistic, reactive approach to development, to a planned, proactive approach. Read the full press release for more details and the joint statement here.

Applications for Round 4 of Rebuilding Heritage opens today (11 March)! Rebuilding Heritage is a UK-wide free support programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to help the heritage sector respond to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme is providing free 121 and group support for individuals and organisations (including voluntary organisations) in the heritage sector. Find out more.

The Architecture Fringe has launched its open call for self-directed work for this year’s festival under the thematic provocation of (Un)Learning. This fifth edition of the Scotland-wide festival will take place 04-20 June 2021. The (Un)Learning provocation invites contributors to reflect upon the systems and structures that we have built to bring order to our lives but which, too often, are destroying us and life on Earth. The festival asks participants to interrogate their own behaviours, beliefs and biases in order to acknowledge how the world really is to then reimagine how it could be.

Consultations

Clyde Mission Call for Ideas
Opened 1 March and closes 29 March 2021.

Scotland’s Churches Trust: Helping Sustain Our Places Of Worship Survey

Petition: To create a tax incentive to favour retrofit instead of demolition and new build

Mediation in Planning
Closes 12 Mar 2021.

Draft Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change
Closes 31 Mar 2021.

Consultation on Scottish skills requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes
Closes 30 April 2021.

Heat in Buildings Strategy
Closes 30 April 2021.

Publications

Scottish Tourism and Covid-19 (SPICe 08/03/21)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): building work verification guidance – letter from the Planning Minister (SG 04/03/21)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): duration of building warrant – guidance addendum – letter from Planning Minister (SG 04/03/21)

Community Empowerment: Taking Stock of Participation Requests and Asset Transfers Four Years On (LGCC 26/02/2021)

Council on Training in Architectural Conservation – Insight 1 The Need to Appreciate the Built Heritage Units 1-6 Learning Handbooks and Image Sets (COTAC 03/2021)

Brainstorming Report ‘Culture and the Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges and Opportunities’ (VoC 26/02/2021)

The Heritage Recovery Plan (HEF 10/02/2021)

Skills in Planning Publication (Partners in Planning 02/2021)

Council on Training in Architectural Conservation – Study 3 BIM4C Integrating HBIM Framework Report Illustrative Bibliography (COTAC Revised Edition December 2020)

Council on Training in Architectural Conservation – Study 4 Web-search List of UK + RoI Heritage Courses 2020 (COTAC 2020)

Global Soft Power Index 2021 (Brand Finance 2021)

Centre for Cultural Value – Resource Hub (CfCV 2021)

Togetherness – A New Heritage Deal for Europe (EIB 2020)

Scottish Government News Releases

Action on rented homes (SG 10/03/21)
A new strategy for Scotland’s rented sector will improve accessibility, affordability and standards, as part of a new 20 year route map for housing to be published next week.

FM: COP26 is our best chance to address climate change (SG 09/03/21)
COP26 is the international community’s best, perhaps only, chance to address the threat of climate change, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Scottish Parliament election (SG 02/03/21)
The safety of campaigners, election workers and the public is central to plans for the Scottish Parliament election, Parliamentary Business Minister Graeme Dey has said.

News Releases

IHBC’s Marsh Awards: Your chance to nominate ‘successful learners’ (09/03/21)
The closing date approaches for the IHBC’s Marsh Award for ‘successful learning in heritage skills’, with a prize that includes £500 and a free place at the IHBC’s Brighton 2021 Annual School, and with nominations closing on 31 March.

‘Committee on COP26’ scrutiny arrangements with COP President Designate Alok Sharma (UKP 05/03/21)
Nine cross-party select committees will scrutinise preparations for the COP26 climate summit, due to be held in Glasgow in November.

Urgent action is needed if Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets are to be met (SP 04/03/21)
Urgent action across all sectors is essential if Scotland’s ambitious climate and net zero emissions targets are to be met, according to the reports of four Holyrood Committees published today.

Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy publishes 5-year review of ground-breaking work (HES 04/03/2021)
Scottish archaeology marked a significant milestone this week as the Five-Year Review of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy was published.

Builders’ Budget plea: cut VAT on home repairs, says FMB and RICS (FMB 01/03/2021)
A VAT cut on home improvement works from 20% to 5% for a temporary five year period would generate an economic stimulus worth £51 billion and create 345,000 new jobs, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

My Place Awards 2021 Entry Deadline Extended (SCT 03/2021)
The Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards celebrate community-led built environment projects that have transformed their locality. The Awards are a great opportunity to showcase a project’s success to the community, stakeholders and funders by receiving much-deserved exposure and media attention. Entry deadline: 29th August 2021.

The Prime Minister has appointed Dr Simon Thurley CBE as Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The National Lottery Heritage Fund (DCMS 25/02/2021)
Dr Simon Thurley CBE has been appointed as Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a three year period from 01 April 2021 until 31 March 2024.

Resource round-up: Climate crisis response (SCT 23/02/2021)
Our heritage and its built environment are facing serious risks as the climate emergency continues to grow. As part of our Climate Crisis Response, we release a regular round-up of newly released climate crisis resources for heritage.

New research will demonstrate benefit of culture and heritage to society (DCMS 21/01/2021)
An ambitious new programme of research to improve decision making by valuing the benefits of our culture and heritage capital to society, announced today.

Opinion & Comment

Eco-homes become hot property in UK’s zero-carbon ‘paradigm shift’ (Guardian 06/03/2021)

Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy: Five Years, Five Aims, Five Highlights (HES 04/03/2021)

Why can’t we build better quality homes in Britain? (The Times 28/02/2021)

Parliamentary Questions

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Scottish Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an “R”.

Question S5W-35759: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/03/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what meetings it has had with the (a) energy, (b) house building, (c) environment and (d) community sectors regarding the national developments to be incorporated in the National Planning Framework 4.

Question S5W-35760: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/03/2021
To ask Scottish Government what plans it has to meet communities that might be affected by the national developments that will be incorporated in the National Planning Framework 4.

Question S5W-35724: Annie Wells, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 04/03/2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the total number of homes built under the affordable housing programme from the start of the current parliamentary session.

Question S5W-35792: Keith Brown, Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/03/2021
To ask the Scottish Government how many applications have been made to the Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Hardship Fund, also broken down by how many have (a) been approved, (b) been rejected and (c) yet to be processed.

Question S5W-35797: Keith Brown, Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/03/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what the average award granted by the Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Hardship Fund has been.

Parliamentary Questions & Answers

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.

Question S5W-35501: Pauline McNeill, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2021
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the UK Government extending the Stamp Duty holiday until July 2021, what plans it has to take similar action regarding the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT).
Answered by Ivan McKee (04/03/2021)

Question S5W-35396: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 22/02/2021
To ask the Scottish Government how it will decide the criteria for national developments to be incorporated into National Planning Framework 4, and what the process leading up to that decision will be.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (01/03/2021)

Question S5W-35395: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 22/02/2021
To ask the Scottish Government how it will ensure that the process of deciding on criteria for national developments to be incorporated into National Planning Framework 4 will be participative, and whether it has considered using a citizen’s assembly to discuss the proposals for national developments.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (01/03/2021)

Question S5W-35277: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/02/2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that ensuring that communities benefit from public expenditure on land management practises and land uses that (a) contributes to climate heating mitigation and adaptation and (b) secures the local retention of income, is a core part of ensuring a just transition to net zero carbon emissions.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (24/02/2021)

Question S5W-35236: Alexander Burnett, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/02/2021 R
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the (a) laying of regulations for minimum energy efficiency standards and (b) compliance dates which will be set out in the regulations.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (22/02/2021)

Events

For the latest information about BEFS Members’ events see our events calendar.

A Future for Your Church – Making a Start
Date & time: Tuesday 16th March, 10am-11.30am.
Online.
Heritage Trust Network and Historic Churches Scotland are joining forces to host the second event in this series for any group contemplating the future of their church building. In this event we will focus particularly on the process of making a start and building up to taking on full responsibility for the building. If you have already gone through this process, we strongly encourage you to attend and share your experiences with others.

Architecture and Design Scotland: Corporate Strategy 2021-31 Launch
Date & time: Thursday 18 March 11 am.
Online.
Architecture and Design Scotland will host an online event to mark the launch of a new Corporate Strategy. This event will outline how the A&DS strategy will help support more people working together to make decisions on the future of their places.

Taking Ownership – Experiences Shared
Date & time: Friday 19th March, 10am-12pm.
Online.
Heritage Trust Network Scotland Branch: Are you considering taking ownership of a building within your community? Not sure how to navigate the purchase from a private owner or a Local Authority? Join us on Friday 19th March to hear from those with first-hand experience. This event is open to any groups who are considering taking ownership of a building but are not sure of when is the best time to do it, what purchase price they should be paying, what responsibilities they need to be aware of etc. Come along to hear case studies from our speakers and put your questions to them.

Your Career in Conservation 
Dates & times: 22nd – 24th March | 10:30am – 4:00 pm.
Online Conference.
Join Glasgow City Heritage Trust for a three-day online conference looking at careers in conservation and take part in workshops on how to become conservation accredited. The conference is aimed at anyone working, or interested in working, within the building and heritage sectors, including architects, surveyors, conservators, engineers and consultants. Workshops will be led by: CARE, Icon, IHBC, RIAS, RICS.

Moving forward with shared transport and mobility hubs in Scotland
Date & time: 25 March 4pm – 5pm
Online: GoToWebinar – log on details available on event booking.
The event will outline the theory behind Active Travel Hubs, highlighting the elements that can be included and giving examples from Europe. It will then describe a recent application for an Active Travel Hub in Alloa, presented by the case officer. Presentations by 1) Marian Marsh Senior Development Officer (Scotland) CoMoUK (National charity for the public benefit of shared mobility), 2) Grant Baxter, Principal Planner, is the case officer for the Active Travel Hub planning application at Maple Court, Alloa (20/00273/FULL, approved 25th January 2021).

Legacy giving. Now is the time – if you do it right. Learn how to! )
Date & time: 25 March 2021, 11:00 – 15:00  **1 place remaining**
Online: via Zoom
This course is focused on how to integrate legacies into your current fundraising at little or no cost at a time when more people are making Wills than we have witnessed in decades.

Culture & Business Fund Scotland Roadshows: A source of support for COVID-19 recovery and renewal
Date & time: Tuesday 30 March 11:00am — 13:00pm
Online: via Zoom
Due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, we are taking our Culture & Business Scotland (CBFS) Roadshows online. These free webinars will give attendees from across the arts, heritage, third, public and business sectors the opportunity to learn about the fund, and how we have adapted the criteria to provide more flexible support for the sectors through a period of recovery and renewal throughout 2021 and beyond.

Mark Turnbull Travel Award Presentations– Climate Change Innovations: Food and Flood Resilience and Making Room for Social Spaces
Date & time: 6.15 -7.15pm 21st April 2021
The speakers include: 1) Samuel Cortis: Joint Winner of Mark Turnbull Travel Award: Making Room for Social Spaces; an exploration of how community focused and managed landscapes can shape development strategies for Scotland 2) Dr Amber Roberts: Joint Winner of Mark Turnbull Travel Award – Food and Flood Resilience: Climate Change Innovations – Learning from Europe 3) René Sommer Lindsay – Senior Urban Designer and Climate Resilience consultant. Placemaking infrastructure for resilient, sustainable, liveable cities and communities.

The Knights Templar and Historical Revisionism in the Modern Era 
Date & time: Monday 26 April at 6pm (UK time)
Online: Zoom (free registration via Eventbrite essential)
The Knights Templar are among the best-known elements of the medieval period. They were the first of the military-religious orders and important players in the Crusades, and their legacy has endured in films, novels, comics, and video games today. But this fame has also led to darker appropriations. In this online talk, Dr Rory MacLellan will examine why the Templars hold such a strong appeal for parts of the far-right and how pseudo-histories and myths about the order can act as an entry-point for this dark historical revisionism.

Reinventing Inverness Castle
Date & time: 6 May 4pm to 5pm
Online: GoToWebinar – log on details available on event booking
The A-listed Inverness Castle is being transformed from two court-houses into the main tourist-hub/visitor-centre/venue for the Highlands. C20 interventions are being stripped-out to expose the original layout and fabric, then the building will be sensitively re-invented for C21 flexible uses. A contemporary link building will join the two main towers and a new (all-abilities access) roof-terrace installed. Extensive re-landscaping will transform the public realm and setting to Inverness’ prime landmark building.

IHBC Annual School 2021 Brighton: Historic Places, People Places – Making the best of the places we have today, for those who live with them tomorrow
Dates: 17 – 18 June 2021.
All places have history – in landscapes, built fabric and memories – and that history shapes how people live, use and work with them, today and in the future. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, billions of pounds were being invested to support struggling urban and rural places, old and new, and their surrounding areas. Not only has the pandemic exacerbated these familiar problems, but it has also highlighted new ones. The IHBC’s Brighton 2021 School will address these and related challenges, seeking data, connecting thinking and shaping solutions.

Training

IHBC CPD – Introducing Building Survey for Retrofit
Date & time:  29 Mar 2021 1pm-2pm
Online: GoToWebinar
John Edwards, IHBC Technical Panel Chair and Trustee, will introduce Building Survey for Retrofit.  Topics will include the following: The overall approach including the survey as part of the retrofit process; Competencies and equipment required; How condition affects performance; Examples of issues of particular importance and how to analyse them; Determining the suitability of types and levels of retrofit including materials; Making sure that heritage values are part of the process; Q&A at end.

Architectural Conservation CPD: Historic Shopfronts
Date & time: Wednesday 26 May, 12:30-13:30 (log-on from 12:15)
Online via Microsoft Teams, streamed live from Lower City Mills, Perth.
Marking 10 years since ‘The Historic Shopfronts of Perth’ was published, the second session in the 2020 CPD programme is a historic shopfront feature delivered by shopfronts expert Lindsay Lennie. Whether you are starting out in a buildings related career, looking to refresh your conservation knowledge, encounter historic buildings as part of your work portfolio, or have limited knowledge of the best conservation practice to employ on a project involving traditionally constructed buildings, this is the CPD programme for you. Sessions are recognised CPD by the IHBC and Scottish Traditional Building Forum (STBF).

Vacancies

National Covid Memorial – Commission for Artistic Engagement Process
greenspace scotland (on behalf of The Herald Covid Memorial Steering Group) is seeking to commission an artist/artistic partnership to engage creatively with communities (both geographic and of interest) to co-design an artistic statement and concept to inform the development of a National Covid Memorial in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow and that could be utilised by communities and other organisations in greenspaces across Scotland.
Expressions of interest are required by noon on Friday 19 March 2021.

Invitation to Tender: Review of Governance, Strategic Priorities and Plans
Inverness City Heritage Trust (ICHT) proposes to commission a consultancy review of its governance and management structures, financial management, operational priorities and business plans.
Deadline for receipt of tender submissions: 31 March 2021.

BACK

A joint statement on building for Scotland’s communities.

The next Scottish Government must co-ordinate legislation, strategies and funding if its vision of a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future is to be achieved.

A coalition of Scotland’s leading experts on the built environment has said there must be a shift from overlapping and disjointed strategies to complementarity and synergised policy making and from an opportunistic, reactive approach to development, to a planned, proactive approach.

The Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Landscape Institute Scotland and Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland issued a joint statement ahead of tonight’s (March 9th) Cross Party Group on Architecture and the Built Environment.

The statement is based around three areas – Professionalism, Prioritisation and People.

Euan Leitch, Director of Built Environment Forum Scotland said “BEFS work across the policy landscape – and collaboration of this kind is what will enable a stronger, regenerative, greener, and just transition for Scotland. Working on a maintenance agenda BEFS want to see policy and the professions working in unison to improve our places to meet climate, community, cultural, and economic need.”

ICE Scotland Director, Hannah Smith, said: “To achieve the Scottish Government’s vision of infrastructure supporting Scotland’s resilience and enabling inclusive, net zero and sustainable growth, we must first establish if our infrastructure is fit for purpose. “There must now be a strategic ‘resiliency audit’ to identify priorities and the most meaningful interventions to ensure our infrastructure is as durable as possible, particularly to withstand the effects of extreme weather.”

Rachel Tennant, Chair of Landscape Institute Scotland, said “LIS believe that multifunctional places needs to be at the heart of our built environment to ensure we can sustainably deliver on a range of societal benefits for the future. Diverse, well designed and managed places can deliver climate change adaption, increase the resilience of our communities and businesses, improve our health and wellbeing, as well as protect and enhance nature.  Collaborative and empowering approaches are essential to the delivery of this.”

RIAS President Christina Gaiger said “The RIAS believe in a Scotland where we protect the environment through legislation and regulate for a zero-carbon future.  By adopting quality focused, and collaborative approaches that avoid impacts, we can create a built environment that lowers or eradicates energy demand.  The Climate Crisis and the experience of the pandemic illustrate that change is needed but also that it can happen.”

RICS Scotland National Board Chair, Richard Burnett said “As we look towards a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Scotland’s built environment professionals will play a pivotal role in tackling some of the most prominent domestic issues in Scotland, including the lack of adequate housing, renewing our high streets, creating a 21st-century infrastructure network and addressing the challenges of climate change.  A coordinated and collaborative approach will provide the leadership and expertise that will help guide decision makers in ensuring a swift recovery and economic prosperity.”

Barbara Cummins, Convenor of RTPI Scotland, said “Covid-19 has allowed us to appreciate the importance of the places we live in. A more coordinated approach across government will allow us to create the ‘twenty minute neighbourhoods’ that people need so that they live in well-designed, attractive, healthy and sustainable communities where they have local access to the services, shops and facilities they need on a daily basis.”

Ends.

Should you require further information please contact Craig McLaren, Director of Scotland, Ireland and English Regions at RTPI.

T: craig.mclaren@rtpi.org.uk
E: 07850 926881

Notes to Editors

The full statement can be read here.

RTPI Scotland

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is the champion of planning and the planning profession. We work to promote the art and science of planning for the public benefit. We have around 2100 members in Scotland and a worldwide membership of over 25,000. RTPI Scotland’s members represent both the public and private sector interests and will in large part be responsible for the successful delivery of the planning system.

www.rtpi.org.uk

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) was founded in 1916. With over 5,200 members, the Incorporation is the professional body for all of Scotland’s chartered architects. The RIAS is a champion of Architecture and the Built Environment in Scotland.  It supports the interests of its growing membership, united through its six regional chapters, to promote the importance of well-designed buildings and places. The RIAS is a charity run by, and for, its members.

www.rias.org.uk

RICS Scotland

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the principal body representing professionals employed in the land, property and construction sectors. In Scotland, the Institution represents over 6500 members comprising chartered surveyors (MRICS or FRICS) and Associate surveyors (AssocRICS), as well as trainees and graduates. Our members are employed in private practice, central and local government, public agencies, academic institutions, business organisations and non-governmental organisations.

As part of its Royal Charter, RICS has a commitment to provide advice to the government[s] of the day and, in doing so, has an obligation to bear in mind the public interest as well as the interests of its members.

www.rics.org

Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS)

Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) is an umbrella body for organisations working in the built environment in Scotland. Drawing on extensive expertise in a membership-led forum, BEFS informs, debates and advocates on the strategic issues, opportunities and challenges facing Scotland’s historic and contemporary built environment.

www.befs.org.uk

Landscape Institute Scotland

The Landscape Institute (LI) is the royal chartered body for the landscape profession. We represent over 500 landscape architects, planners, designers, managers and scientists in Scotland. As a professional organisation and educational charity, we protect and enhance the built and natural environment for the public benefit., Its devolved nation Branch, the Landscape Institute Scotland, is at the forefront of recognising the importance of well-designed and managed landscapes and places, and the benefits they bring to society.

www.landscapeinstitute.org/scotland/

ICE Scotland

ICE Scotland supports and represents over 8,000 members living and working in Scotland. Our members design, build and maintain Scotland’s transport, water supply and treatment, flood management, waste and energy infrastructure. As a professional body we organise knowledge events and promote civil engineering by working in partnership with industry, government and education.

www.ice.org.uk/scotland

BACK

BEFS will be saying a fond farewell to Director, Euan Leitch, in the Spring.

In Spring, BEFS will be saying a fond farewell to Director, Euan Leitch, as he takes up a new role as Chief Executive of SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Forum.

In his 7 years with BEFS – first in Advocacy and Communications, then as Director – Euan has brought expertise, enthusiasm, and considerable skill in bringing the breadth of the sector together, and addressing the strategic matters of our time. From exploring diversity at a national conference, to pushing for legislative change in relation to tenement maintenance; his important legacy of listening to the sector, and holding the space for discussion and debate is work that BEFS looks forward to continuing.

The Board and BEFS team will be very sorry to see Euan go but are delighted to see he will still be working within the built environment and, as SURF are BEFS Members, he will not be a stranger. We wish him all the best in his new post.

Details on a new Director of BEFS will be provided in due course.

BACK

Get The Latest Built Environment News, Policy Developments, Publications, Consultations And More.

BEFS News

BEFS is speaking at the next Cross-Party Group on Architecture & the Built Environment, ‘Building for Scotland’s Communities: New Thinking for Our Future Places’, on 9th March 2021. The way we live our lives and design our communities will need to change radically if we are to ensure a green post-Covid recovery, that we reach net zero carbon targets and improve health and wellbeing. It will require new ways of working to achieve the ‘new normal’ that embeds resilience into how our buildings, infrastructure, landscape, cities, towns, villages and neighbourhoods function and develop over time. The Cross-Party Group meeting will explore what this means for our built environment. Register here.

BEFS held a dedicated workshop with Members to consider the response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the National Planning Framework 4. They were joined by Graham Saunders, HES – Head of Heritage Management Policy, who highlighted HES’ main priorities in relation to the consultation. BEFS response highlights Members support of the aims and outcomes in the Position Statement but expresses concerns about delivery – mechanisms and policy hierarchies; and how SPP and current heritage protections will be usefully translated into the NPF4. BEFS intends to work on model policies with Members and stakeholders.

The 2020 Annual Our Place in Time Report has now been published by Historic Environment Scotland. Overall, it shows the sector worked together and accomplished a great deal in 2019–20, despite having to make significant adjustments in response to the impact of COVID-19. The report also features a link to our Historic Environment Case Studies database.

BEFS has reviewed and updated our advocacy toolkit ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections on 6th May 2021. As part of this, we are compiling a list of manifestos produced by heritage and built environment organisations. The manifestos outline information on specific strategic issues, facts and details, and the corresponding language and messaging that can be adapted, adopted and supported by you. For advice on becoming an advocate, including how to contact your local politicians click through our toolkit.

Police Scotland is running a year-long awareness raising campaign to tackle wildlife crime across the country. Operation Wingspan, which started in October last year, focusses on each of the National Police Chief Council wildlife crime priorities in turn. In February and March bat crime is being highlighted. Police Scotland outline the things to lookout for before undertaking development such as construction, roof work and tree cutting, here.

In response to BEFS recent State of Heritage event, Hanneke Booij, PhD researcher at the Centre of Environment, Heritage and Policy, University of Stirling, shares her reflections on the recent Norwegian white paper on heritage to provide an insight into the Norwegian environmental perspective on heritage policy in the context of current societal challenges, in our blog this week.

Consultations

Scotland’s Churches Trust: Helping Sustain Our Places Of Worship Survey

Petition: To create a tax incentive to favour retrofit instead of demolition and new build

New Build Heat Standard – Scoping Consultation
Closes 3 Mar 2021.

Mediation in Planning
Closes 12 Mar 2021.

Climate Change – Net Zero Nation: draft public engagement strategy
Closes 31 Mar 2021.

Covid-19: Government support for charities – Call for evidence
You can submit evidence until Monday 8 April 2021.

Consultation on Scottish skills requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes
Closes 30 April 2021.

Heat in Buildings Strategy
Closes 30 April 2021.

Consultation Responses

Analysis of Responses to a Consultation on Proposed Changes to Pre-Application Consultation Requirements in Planning (SG 24/02/21)

Multi?storey residential buildings – fire risk posed by external wall systems: consultation analysis (SG 11/02/21)

Publications

Scottish House Condition Survey: Local Authority Analysis 2017-2019 (SG 23/02/21)

National Planning Framework 4: Key Agencies Group – position statement (SG 19/02/21)

Getting ahead on falling behind – Tackling the UK’s building arrears crisis (SG 16/02/21)

Affordable housing: resource planning assumptions to councils 2020-2021 (SG 15/02/21)

Building standards verification performance framework 2020: national survey findings (SG 12/02/21)

Legislative proposals to address the impact of Scotland’s concentration of land ownership – A discussion paper from the Scottish Land Commission (SLC 04/02/21)

Legislative proposals to address the impact of Scotland’s concentration of land ownership: Summary of discussion paper from the Scottish Land Commission (SLC 04/02/21)

The economic, social and environmental benefits of stimulating repairs and improvements to the Scottish built environment to aid a green recovery from Covid-19 (FoAI & Strath Uni 02/21)

Heritage for Global Challenges – A Research Report (PRAXIS: Arts & Humanities for Global Development 02/21)

Scottish Government News Releases

Draft guidance brought forward on short-term lets (SG 18/02/21)
Legislation for a short-term lets licensing scheme has been withdrawn from the Scottish Parliament to allow for draft guidance to be developed.

News Releases

Climate Beacons for COP26 – Expressions of Interest (CCS 02/21)
Climate Beacons for COP26 will be a Scotland-wide collaborative project between climate change or environmental organisations and arts, heritage or cultural organisations to stimulate long-term public engagement in the lead-up to and following COP26. Deadline: 1st March 2021.

2020 SURF Award Winners Revealed (SURF 19/02/21)
The outcomes of the prestigious 2020 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration were announced last night (18/02/21) at a virtual celebratory presentation event streamed live via Vimeo.

NPF4 must be ‘deliverable, connected and influential’ (RTPI Scotland 19/02/21)
The new National Planning Framework (NPF4) in Scotland must be ‘deliverable, connected and influential’, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has said.

More than £18 million awarded in final grants from first round of Culture Recovery Fund (DCMS 19/02/21)
22 heritage organisations and 33 independent cinemas are the latest to receive support from the Culture Recovery Fund.

Cut VAT for green home improvements and repairs, MPs urge (Guardian 17/02/21)
Environmental audit committee says chancellor must use budget to spur low-carbon growth. Ministers should cut VAT on repairs for electrical goods and green home improvements, to help people reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their everyday lives, an influential committee of MPs has urged.

Scotland’s £33bn infrastructure plan – a significant step forward (ICE 16/02/21)
Resilience and sustainability are at the heart of Scottish Government priorities, but we need a strategic approach.

Edinburgh World Heritage asks residents to help shape conservation priorities (EWH 12/02/21)
EWH is today issuing a call to residents to share their suggestions for where future conservation work in the city should be focused. As part of wider efforts in the city to ‘build back better’ post-COVID-19, the charity is asking local people to help identify neighbourhoods and individual buildings in or near the World Heritage Site that need attention.

Full range of National Lottery funding resumes with refocused priorities for 2021-22 (NLHF 09/02/21)
Applications are open for National Lottery Grants for Heritage from £3,000 up to £5million. We will prioritise projects that contribute to our recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Scottish Walking Awards (PfA 05/02/21)
Together with Ramblers Scotland, Living Streets Scotland, and the National Walking Strategy Delivery Forum, we have launched the Scottish Walking Awards. Open until 31 March 2021 the awards feature ten categories open for nominations from across Scotland and all sections of society, including projects supporting people who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids.

The Museums Association Redundancy Tracker (MA 01/21)
The Covid-19 crisis is having serious financial impacts on the museum sector, putting a growing number of people at risk of redundancy. The Museums Association (MA) is tracking levels of redundancies so we can capture the scale of impact across the UK and continue to advocate for members and the sector.

Launch of Access: Scotland (HES 21/01/21)
Screen Scotland collaboration with?VisitScotland,?EventScotland,?Historic Environment Scotland, NatureScot and the?National Trust for Scotland delivers development?boost for Scotland-based production companies.

A Song In Stone (F&LS 01/21)
As part of a project with Historic Environment Scotland and the Kilmartin Museum, our archaeological team have worked to produce a substantial and comprehensive learning resource about Scotland’s neolithic rock art.

WorldGBC & global leaders call for historic Built Environment Day at COP26 (WGBC 01/21)
The World Green Building Council joins nine international organisations to sign a letter to COP26 President, Alok Sharma, requesting a Built Environment Day at the climate summit in November 2021.

 

Opinion & Comment

Parliamentary Questions

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Scottish Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an “R”.

Question S5W-35236: Alexander Burnett, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/02/2021 R
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the (a) laying of regulations for minimum energy efficiency standards and (b) compliance dates which will be set out in the regulations.

Question S5W-35277: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/02/2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that ensuring that communities benefit from public expenditure on land management practises and land uses that (a) contributes to climate heating mitigation and adaptation and (b) secures the local retention of income, is a core part of ensuring a just transition to net zero carbon emissions.

Question S5W-35395: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 22/02/2021
To ask the Scottish Government how it will ensure that the process of deciding on criteria for national developments to be incorporated into National Planning Framework 4 will be participative, and whether it has considered using a citizen’s assembly to discuss the proposals for national developments.

Question S5W-35396: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 22/02/2021
To ask the Scottish Government how it will decide the criteria for national developments to be incorporated into National Planning Framework 4, and what the process leading up to that decision will be.

Events

For the latest information about BEFS Members’ events see our events calendar.

Free training for Community Councils – the Circular Economy and the planning system 
At the end of last year we announced our intention to run a number of training sessions on the circular economy and its relation to the planning system, in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland. We now have four confirmed dates. Each session will run for 1.5 – 2 hours. Please sign up for your preferred session via the links below or contact David Wood (david@pas.org.uk) for more information.

Ahead of Their Time: A Talk in Celebration of International Women’s Day 
Date & time: Monday 8 March at 6pm (UK time)
Online: Zoom (free registration via Eventbrite essential).
In this free online talk in celebration of International Women’s Day, writer broadcaster and comedian Susan Morrison will shine a light on several Scottish women from the 1700s to 1900s who were in many ways ahead of their time. Join us on 8 March to hear the life stories of the female Scottish abolitionists, politicians and activists who achieved great things against all odds.

Culture & Business Fund Scotland Roadshows: A source of support for COVID-19 recovery & renewal  
Date & time: Tues. 9 March 11:00am-13:00pm & Tues. 30 March 11:00am-13:00pm
Online: via Zoom.
Due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, we are taking our Culture & Business Scotland (CBFS) Roadshows online. These free webinars will give attendees from across the arts, heritage, third, public and business sectors the opportunity to learn about the fund, and how we have adapted the criteria to provide more flexible support for the sectors through a period of recovery and renewal throughout 2021 and beyond.

Heritage and Sustainability in Action – Upgrading Building Elements
Date & time: 16th March, 12noon
Venue: Online.
First session in the series ‘Heritage and Sustainability in Action’ focussing on examples of upgrading building elements to make historic buildings sustainable.

A Future for Your Church – Making a Start
Date & time: Tuesday 16th March, 10am-11.30am.
Online.
Heritage Trust Network and Historic Churches Scotland are joining forces to host the second event in this series for any group contemplating the future of their church building. In this event we will focus particularly on the process of making a start and building up to taking on full responsibility for the building. If you have already gone through this process, we strongly encourage you to attend and share your experiences with others.

Landmark Trust & Fairburn Tower
Date & time: 6pm 17th March 2021
Venue: Online
The category A listed structure is roofless, floorless and had dramatic cracks running the length of its walls which was widening at an alarming rate. The Landmark Trust are in the process of restoring the tower and converting it to holiday accommodation. Hear from Tom Addyman and Linda Lockett as they show us their approach to archaeology and repairs.

Taking Ownership – Experiences Shared
Date & time: Friday 19th March, 10am-12pm.
Online.
Heritage Trust Network Scotland Branch: Are you considering taking ownership of a building within your community? Not sure how to navigate the purchase from a private owner or a Local Authority? Join us on Friday 19th March to hear from those with first-hand experience. This event is open to any group who are considering taking ownership of a building but are not sure of when is the best time to do it, what purchase price they should be paying, what responsibilities they need to be aware of…the list goes on. Come along to hear case studies from our speakers and put your questions to them.

The Knights Templar and Historical Revisionism in the Modern Era 
Date & time: Monday 26 April at 6pm (UK time)
Online: Zoom (free registration via Eventbrite essential)
The Knights Templar are among the best-known elements of the medieval period. They were the first of the military-religious orders and important players in the Crusades, and their legacy has endured in films, novels, comics, and video games today. But this fame has also led to darker appropriations. In this online talk, Dr Rory MacLellan will examine why the Templars hold such a strong appeal for parts of the far-right and how pseudo-histories and myths about the order can act as an entry-point for this dark historical revisionism.

The Need for Old Buildings to Breathe Re-examined 
Date & time: 27th April, 12noon
Venue: Online.
Presented by David Wiggins, this advanced CPD will present his latest research, debunking myths about breathability and scrutinising the pervasion of chemical additives. A must see for all architects & specifiers!

Training

Legacy giving. Now is the time – if you do it right. Learn how to! 
Date & time: 25 March 2021, 11:00 – 15:00  **2 places remaining**
Online: via Zoom.
This course is focused on how to integrate legacies into your current fundraising at little or no cost at a time when more people are making Wills than we have witnessed in decades.

IHBC CPD – Introducing Building Survey for Retrofit
Date & time:  29 Mar 2021 1pm-2pm
Online: GoToWebinar.
John Edwards, IHBC Technical Panel Chair and Trustee, will introduce Building Survey for Retrofit.  Topics will include the following: The overall approach including the survey as part of the retrofit process; Competencies and equipment required; How condition affects performance; Examples of issues of particular importance and how to analyse them; Determining the suitability of types and levels of retrofit including materials; Making sure that heritage values are part of the process; Q&A at end.

IHBC Virtual MATE
Date & time: Wed, 21 April 2021; 14:00 – 17:00.
Online: CPD.
You are invited to attend an online IHBC Membership Application Training Event (MATE). This will last approximately 3 hours. This MATE will be led by Ramona Usher and Fiona Newton. How will the online MATE work? The format is similar to the familiar in person MATE, helping you to understand the IHBc Application process and how best to complete your application. The MATE will be delivered through GoToMeeting. Log in details will be provided closer to the event. All delegates will be encouraged to raise issues specific to their experience and application. All preparation and event hours qualify as IHBC CPD hours.

Architectural Conservation CPD: Design and Retrofit on the Gannochy Estate
Date & time: Wed. 28 April, 12:30-13:30 (log-on with light refreshments from 12:15)
Online: Microsoft Teams, streamed live from Lower City Mills, Perth.
The first session in a 6-part CPD programme provides a local example of retrofitting traditional properties for the 21st Century in-line with conservation guidance and principles. Delivered by The Gannochy Trust’s Estates Manager Andy Duncan, this session also includes Gannochy’s new build housing projects where traditional design philosophies are inspiring the next generation of social housing. Sessions are delivered by industry accredited professionals and are recognised CPD by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and Scottish Traditional Building Forum (STBF).

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As part of their year-long awareness raising campaign, Police Scotland highlight the dangers of building development to bats and badgers.

Brown long-eared stuck to fly paper
Brown long-eared stuck to fly paper

Brown long-eared stuck to fly paper © Daniel Hargreaves.

Police Scotland is running a year-long awareness raising campaign to tackle wildlife crime across the country.

Operation Wingspan, which started in October last year, focusses on each of the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) wildlife crime priorities in turn.

In February and March bat crime is being highlighted, while the previous phase referred to badger persecution.

One of the greatest threats to the wellbeing of bats and badgers is development such as construction, roof work and tree cutting. Such development, even if well intentioned, may be a criminal offence if these species or their homes are disturbed. As such Police Scotland Wildlife Crime Officers have been proactively visiting and surveying badger setts and bat roosts across Scotland that have been identified as at risk.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gary Cunningham, Police Scotland’s Wildlife Crime portfolio holder said:

“Police Scotland is committed to tackling wildlife crime and Operation Wingspan provides a platform to do that.

We have a rich natural environment in Scotland including badgers and bats, which are afforded legal protection. But that does not necessarily mean development or restoration cannot go ahead in locations where these species reside. There is often a solution that works for all parties. But it is crucial that anyone wishing to undertake such development follow correct procedures”.

Liz McLachlan, NatureScot Licensing Manager, said:

“It’s important that anyone wishing to undertake development that may disturb badger setts, bat roosts or any other protected species takes advice at the earliest opportunity.

“Our website has lots of really useful guidance to support developers to take forward proposed work where possible, while maintaining the welfare of protected species.”

Bats

Bats often roost in the roofs of old buildings, which can pose difficulties for those in the heritage sector.

Regulation 39(1) Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 makes it an offence for a person to deliberately or recklessly disturb a bat in a manner likely to impact on breeding, rearing young or population distribution.  Under this regulation it is also a strict liability offence to destroy or damage a bat roost, even if no bats are present.

If someone wishes to undertake development where a bat roost is present they should consult NatureScot (01463 725364 / licensing@nature.scot) or the Bat Conservation Trust first. These organisations might advise that a bat survey be undertaken by an ecologist to establish if a roost is present. Subject to the outcome of that report it may be necessary to apply for a license from NatureScot. These licences are available free of charge to enable most development works to go ahead while minimising the impact upon bats.

Contact NatureScot Licensing Team on 01463 725364 or licensing@nature.scot.

More information on bats and development can be found on the NatureScot and Bat Conservation Trust websites.

Badgers

Section 2(1)(c) Protection of Badgers Act 1992 makes it an offence to Interfere with a badger sett. This includes damaging a sett, obstructing access or disturbing a badger while it is in the sett.

A spokesperson from Scottish Badgers said:

“As badgers live in underground structures, they are particularly sensitive and vulnerable to nearby construction. As soon as a sett is suspected to be within the footprint of any development, professional advice should be sought immediately. It is an offence to interfere with or damage an active sett in any way, and licences through NatureScot while available, do come with strict conditions that must be adhered to in order to remain legal”.

If someone wishes to undertake development which is within 30m of an active badger sett or they think may disturb a badger sett (pile driving or blasting), the process is very similar to that of bats, where early contact with NatureScot Licensing Team is advised, or alternatively advice may be sought from Scottish Badgers operationscoordinator@scottishbadgers.org.uk (www.scottishbadgers.org.uk).

 

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Hanneke Booij, PhD researcher at the University of Stirling, provides insights on Norway’s approach to heritage policy.

Hanneke Booij is a second year PhD student at the Centre of Environment, Heritage and Policy, University of Stirling, in collaboration with the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust. This PhD is funded by the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities.

During the State of Heritage meeting organised by The BEFS on 4 February 2021, it was clear that many organisations are struggling with the economic and social consequences of the pandemic and are looking to explore new heritage futures. However, it can be difficult to think outside the proverbial box in a time of crisis. This prompted me to share a reflection on the recent Norwegian white paper on heritage (Meld. St. 16, 2020) to provide an insight into the Norwegian environmental perspective on heritage policy in the context of current societal challenges.

Scotland and Norway have experienced similar recent developments in the democratisation of heritage and an increase in community-based heritage policies. An increased awareness of social inequalities has led to a reconsideration of issues of representation, diversity, and social justice with both governments increasingly focusing on sustainability of heritage and society. Public funding in both countries has become more directly linked to societal benefits such as the current call by NLHF which prioritises wellbeing, inclusion, environmental sustainability, community activism, connection to place, and improvement of resilience in heritage organisations.

Norwegian heritage has been managed by Norway’s Ministry of Environment since 1972, along with nature management and physical planning, placing heritage firmly within landscape. Their physical community planning process includes a separately designed participation tool to give children and young people a voice in their local landscape. Responsibilities for heritage management have been in a process of decentralisation to county level since 2016 – 2017. The aim of decentralisation is to provide long term management of heritage within community and place to strengthen national policy and values. The heritage white paper 2020 introduces the term cultural environment as a new collective term, which includes cultural monuments, cultural environments, and landscapes. It emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach, aiming to make the connection to other climate and environmental policies clearer while also setting out to develop tools to measure how the cultural environment contributes to achieving the sustainable development goals. The paper presents three new national goals within the cultural environment policy: commitment, sustainability, and diversity. The white paper defines heritage as a common good and a societal resource.

Norway ratified the Faro Convention in 2008, emphasising the importance of people’s right to participate and the right to interpret the heritage of their choice. However, not only are heritage and culture participation defined as rights and heritage as a common good, they are also defined as a common responsibility for both the state and citizens, aiming for a high level of both inclusion and participation. Interestingly, another aim of decentralisation of heritage management is to improve collaboration with museums and the arts which are managed separately by the Ministry of Culture. The white paper stresses that collaboration between the cultural environment and museums and arts needs strengthening. In addition, it highlights that decentralisation needs better resourcing to carry out their relatively new duties relating to the cultural environment.

Norway’s cultural environment policy presents heritage as a positive resource and an active tool for development which could be beneficial from a perspective of societal and community needs, place-based identities, and participation. It will be interesting to see how the policy division between the natural and physical cultural environment on the one hand, and intangible heritage and culture, including “stories, objects and action-based knowledge” (Meld. St. 16, 2020, p. 2) on the other hand, impacts on heritage, communities, heritage organisations, and the societal challenges they intend to address.

My PhD investigates resilient and sustainable futures for small heritage organisations. I aim to explore the Norwegian approach to heritage policy (subject to funding) by making use of the University of Stirling’s partnership with the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU). This will enable me to place resilience and sustainability in small heritage organisations in an international context and explore any mutual benefit.

For those who would like to read the Norwegian Heritage White Paper 2020 here are the links to the summary report, or the full version.

 

 

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BEFS News

BEFS held a well attended webinar on The State of Heritage 2021-22 last week with excellent contributions from leaders across the sector discussing the financial, employment and organisational outlook for this coming year. A summary report and comment on the event from BEFS Policy & Strategy Manager Ailsa Macfarlane is now available on our website here. The webinar included headline details from the Scottish Budget 2021-22 that have implications for the built environment and the funding of Historic Environment Scotland, also now available on this link.

BEFS, Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), and greenspace scotland welcome the 40 organisations who will participate in the 18-month NLHF funded Business Support Programme, ‘Surviving to Thriving’ (StT). More details.

In June 2020 the Scottish Government launched an independent collaborative review of the progress and scope of the 2013 Town Centre Action Plan. The Review group was asked to build on the town centre first approach and develop a refreshed vision for Scotland’s towns and the means to achieve it. Scottish Towns centre action plan review group’s report has now been published here.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Adaptation Scotland are working together on a range of projects. One of them is about identifying what climate data and information people need. Complete this short survey to help provide a snapshot of what climate data and information is needed to understand climate change.

The heritage sector is currently grappling with a changing landscape, not only in relation to the pandemic but also with regards to Brexit. It is within this context that we would recommend a recent webinar on Brexit, Data Protection and Heritage by Heritage Digital. The webinar provides a succinct overview of how Brexit effects our data protection policies and what heritage organisations should be looking out for.

As the initial consultation on Scotland’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) draws to a close, BEFS former Chair, Graeme Purves, compares approaches being taken by Wales and Scotland to highlight some strategic planning challenges in this week’s blog.

Consultations

Consultation on Scottish skills requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes
Opened 5 Feb 2021 and closes 30 April 2021.

Heat in Buildings Strategy
Opened 5 Feb 2021 and closes 30 April 2021.

The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme – Call for Evidence to Support Development of Future Programme
Opened 8 Feb 2021 and closes 30 April 2021.

Covid-19: Government support for charities – Call for evidence
You can submit evidence until Monday 8 March 2021.

Strengthening Scottish Charity Law Survey
Closes 19 Feb 2021.

National Planning Framework: Position Statement
Closes 19 Feb 2021.

New Build Heat Standard – Scoping Consultation
Closes 3 Mar 2021.

Mediation in Planning
Closes 12 Mar 2021.

Draft Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change
Closes 17 Mar 2021.

Consultation Responses

Energy Efficient Scotland: Improving energy efficiency in owner-occupied homes. Analysis of responses to the public consultation exercise (SG 05/02/21)

Analysis of Responses to Consultation on the Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26 (SG 04/02/21)

Publications

A National Mission with Local Impact: Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland 2021-22 to 2025-26 (SG 04/02/21)

Investing for jobs: Capital Spending Review 2021-22 to 2025-26 (SG 04/02/210)

Legislative proposals to address impact of Scotland’s concentration of land ownership (SLC 04/02/21)

Environment and climate change: Climate Change Plan update (SG 04/02/21)

A New Future for Scotlands Town Centres (SG 03/02/21)

Scotland’s carbon footprint: 1998 – 2017 (SG 02/02/21)

SURF’s COVID Sector Connector Service Events Outcomes Paper (SURF 02/21)

Architecture & Design Scotland – 2020 Annual Review (A&DS 01/21)

Housing Needs of Minority Ethnic Groups: Evidence Review (SG 29/01/21)

Budget 2021-22: a budget for unprecedented times (SPICe 28/01/21)

Affordable Housing Supply Programme: process and procedures MHDGN 2020/02 (SG 28/01/21)

Historic England Annual Report and Accounts 2019-2020 (HE 25/01/21)

Written Submissions Received on the Impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s Culture and Tourism Sectors (CTEEAC 01/21)

Scottish Government News Releases

Reaching net zero (SG 05/02/21)

Plans to ensure all buildings in Scotland are warmer, more efficient and reach zero emissions by 2045 have been launched.

£33 billion investment in Scotland’s future (SG 04/02/21)
Significant capital investment in healthcare, education, transport and the environment over the next five years has been set out.

Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2017 (SG 02/02/21)
This publication provides estimates of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis; that is emissions that are associated with the spending of Scottish residents on goods and services, wherever in the world these emissions arise, together with emissions directly generated by Scottish households.

Budget to support net-zero transformation (SG 01/02/21)
The Scottish Government will invest a record £1.9 billion in tackling climate change and creating good, green jobs in 2021/22.

Rebuilding the economy (SG 01/02/21)
Supporting people into employment and equipping them with skills they need will be at the heart of the economic recovery, backed with £1.1 billion of investment under the proposed Scottish Budget 2021-22.

£11.6 billion for local councils (SG 01/02/21)
Details of how £11.6 billion of funding from the Scottish Government will be distributed to individual local authorities in 2021-22 have been published.

Scottish Budget 2021-22 (SG 28/01/21)
Significant new investment to drive economic recovery, bolster public services and support families underpins the Scottish Government’s spending and taxation plans for the coming year.

News Releases

Scottish Empty Homes Awards winners announced (SHN 03/02/21)
Aberdeen City Council, an Inverness-based building company, a community housing project in Dumfries & Galloway and a Fife Council officer were the winners in the 10th Scottish Empty Homes awards sponsored by Fraser & Fraser Genealogists and International Probate Researchers.

RTPI Scotland welcomes town centre review report (RTPI Scotland 03/02/21)
The Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland has welcomed recognition in a government commissioned review that urban planning plays a crucial part in the revival of Scottish town centres.

New research will explore how public are interacting with collections online (MA 02/02/21)
Three research projects have received funding to explore how the public are engaging with heritage virtually during the pandemic and what lessons can be learnt for future digital provision in the sector.

HES welcomes grant in aid from Scottish Government budget (HES 29/01/21)
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has welcomed grant in aid funding of £75.9 million as part of the Scottish Government’s 2021-2022 Budget.

Vital role of planning missing from climate change plan, MSPs told (RTPI Scotland 27/01/21)
More consideration needs to be given to the location of new buildings in Scotland in the battle against climate change, says Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland.

Communities must be empowered to reimagine their neighbourhoods post-Covid (RTPI Scotland 26/01/21)
RTPI Scotland is calling on the Scottish government to provide support for communities to help them shape where they live in the wake of Covid-19.

New research will demonstrate benefit of culture and heritage to society (DCMS 21/01/21)
An ambitious new programme of research to improve decision making by valuing the benefits of our culture and heritage capital to society, announced today.

Opinion & Comment

20-minute neighbourhoods & Local Place Plans – new tools for a healthier, greener Scotland (Nick Wright 08/02/21)

Podcast: How Scotland’s construction industry is becoming more sustainable (The Scotsman 05/02/21)

Podcast: Stuccoed in Time (99% Invisible, Architecture 02/02/21)

Anybody home? Uncover your house history (EWH 19/01/21)

Parliamentary Questions & Answers

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.

Question S5W-34992: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/02/2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its Heat in Buildings Strategy.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (05/02/2021)

Question S5W-34233: Stuart McMillan, Greenock and Inverclyde, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/12/2020
To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its Heat in Buildings Strategy.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (23/12/2020)

Events

For the latest information about BEFS Members’ events see our events calendar.

Scotland’s Community Heritage Conversations 20/21: #3 Youth Empowerment
Date & time: Sat, February 13, 2021; 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM.
We are delighted to be able to announce the 3rd of our Community Heritage Conversations, which is a half-day event on Youth Engagement. It’s not a secret that young people are under-represented in terms of engagement with heritage. It’s an issue that our sector has been trying to tackle for many years. This session will look at how community heritage organisations are approaching youth engagement, and their efforts to involve young people in all aspects of heritage work.

“A New Future for Scotland’s Town Centres”, with Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell MSP
Date & time: Thursday 18th February, 2.30-3.30pm.
Online: Zoom.
The Town Centre Action Plan Expert Review Group has published its report: ‘A New Future for Scotland’s Town Centres’. Following consultation across sectors and with the public, the report offers a vision for how Scotland’s town centres can play a central role in ensuring fairer, greener and healthier communities. Scotland’s Towns Partnership invites you to a webinar to present the report’s vision and recommendations, and examine next steps to put the enhanced policy direction for our towns into practice. We will hear from Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell MSP, as well as Professor Leigh Sparks, who chaired the independent review group.

Mapping the City with Dr Christopher Fleet
Date & time: 6pm, Thursday 26th February 2021
Online: Zoom
Please join us for a fascinating evening as we explore the history of the World Heritage Site through the National Library of Scotland’s outstanding map collection, with Dr Christopher Fleet, Curator of Maps and author of ‘Mapping the City’, published by Birlinn. The National Library’s collection of Edinburgh city views and maps stretches back to the 17th century, and, seen together, they allow us to follow the development of the city from the time of Mary Queen of Scots to the present day.

Delivering More Homes and Better Places in Scotland
Date & time: Fri, 5 March 2021; 10:00 – 12:00.
Delivering more, high-quality homes and better places is fundamental to Scotland’s economic recovery from COVID-19. It is a cross-cutting thread that runs through the four themes of the NPF4 position statement: to plan for net-zero emissions, resilient communities, a wellbeing economy, and better, greener places. This webinar builds on recent research on new housing supply, design quality, land assembly and placemaking. A set of pre-recorded presentations summarises the findings from this research, while the three live panel discussions focus on the practicalities of delivery.

Your Career in Conservation
Dates & times: 22nd March – 24th March | 10:30am – 4:00pm.
Online.
Interested in a career focused on the historic built environment? Or learning more about how to improve your knowledge and expertise about conserving our built heritage? Join Glasgow City Heritage Trust for a three-day online conference looking at careers in conservation and take part in workshops on how to become conservation accredited. The conference is aimed at anyone working, or interested in working, within the building and heritage sectors, including architects, surveyors, conservators, engineers and consultants.

Connecting Nature Innovation Summit
Dates: 23-25 March.
From 23-25 March the Innovation Summit will bring together an international audience to explore how we shift to sustainable, greener cities that deliver for their citizens using nature-based solutions. It will share the learning from the community of cities involved in Connecting Nature and introduce the innovative tools and methods being developed through the project. This free event is co-hosted by greenspace scotland and Glasgow City Council, the full Connecting Nature Innovation Summit registration will open later in Feb 2021.

The See-Through House
Date & time: Monday 5th April 2021; 6:30pm.
Online: via Zoom.
We are delighted to have Shelly Klein discussing with Colin McLean and Simon Green her recently published book on life in the modernist house designed by Peter Womersley. Join Shelley Klein in conversation with photographer Colin McLean and architectural historian Simon Green as she discusses her recently published book, The See-Through House. The book is based on life in High Sunderland, her family home in the Borders, designed in 1957 on an open-plan grid with colourful glass panels by modernist architect Peter Womersley for Shelley’s father, textile designer Bernat Klein.

Training

Webinar: Getting started with creating video content
Date & time: 16th February, 10:00 – 11:30am.
Want to make videos for your heritage organisation but not sure how to get started? Would you benefit from an overview of the equipment, software and some top tips for how to start making your own video content for websites and social media? Join Heritage Digital and Nick Street of Street Films for a webinar on getting started with creating video content – suitable for those looking to create videos using mobile phones and/or basic cameras. This workshop is FREE as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Heritage Digital programme.

Workshop: Creating cut-through videos
Dates & times: 24 Feb, 9:30-11:30am.
Join Nick Street of Street Films for a morning in-depth workshop on creating cut-through videos. Whilst the introductory webinar on 16th February will provide an overview and some top-tips, these half-day sessions will guide participants through how to gain confidence in making videos, with tools, storyboarding and rights management considered. There will also be chance for Q&A with Nick, an experienced video-maker for heritage organisations. This workshop is FREE as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Heritage Digital programme.

Free training for Community Councils – the Circular Economy and the planning system 
At the end of last year we announced our intention to run a number of training sessions on the circular economy and its relation to the planning system, in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland. We now have four confirmed dates. Each session will run for 1.5 – 2 hours. Please sign up for your preferred session via the links below or contact David Wood (david@pas.org.uk) for more information.

IHBC CPD – Introducing Building Survey for Retrofit
Date & time: 29 Mar 2021 1pm-2pm.
Online: GoToWebinar.
John Edwards, IHBC Technical Panel Chair and Trustee, will introduce Building Survey for Retrofit.  Topics will include the following: The overall approach including the survey as part of the retrofit process; Competencies and equipment required; How condition affects performance; Examples of issues of particular importance and how to analyse them; Determining the suitability of types and levels of retrofit including materials; Making sure that heritage values are part of the process; Q&A at end.

The Need for Old Buildings to Breathe Re-Examined
Date & time: 27 April 2021.
This CPD session is aimed at experienced conservation professionals and practitioners. David Wiggins will examine the response of traditional solid masonry walls to moisture, probing the issue of the ‘breathability’ of old buildings. Sacrificial weathering will be unpacked as a process, and modern mortars critically evaluated for compatibility against hot-mixed lime mortars. Practical specification guidance will be given on lime mortar for exposed conditions.

Vacancies

Chief Executive
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) is to appoint a Chief Executive. The role, designed to support the profession at a time of significant change, will be based in Edinburgh at the RIAS headquarters.
Closing date for formal applications: 9am, Monday 1st March 2021.

BACK

BEFS online webinar ‘The State of Heritage 2021-22’ held on 4th February 2021.

Continuing the CHERF series of events, BEFS held a well attended webinar on The State of Heritage 2021-22 with excellent contributions from leaders across the sector discussing the financial, employment and organisational outlook for this coming year. A summary report and comment on the event from BEFS Policy & Strategy Manager Ailsa Macfarlane is available below.

Download the full report here.

Chaired by Prof Ian Baxter, BEFS Vice Chair.

Sharing their organisational perspectives:

  • Caroline Clark, National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • Andrew Hopetoun, Historic Houses Scotland
  • Stuart Brooks, National Trust for Scotland
  • Eithne Ní Chonghaile, Museums Galleries Scotland
  • Alex Paterson, Historic Environment Scotland

Joining them for discussion:

  • Lucy Casot, Museums Galleries Scotland
  • Anna Leask, Napier University
  • Adam Jackson, Historic Environment Scotland
  • Alison Turnbull, Historic Environment Scotland

BEFS extend their thanks to all panellists – their insights, candour, and openness are appreciated; and to all those who attended and provided questions. The collaborative nature of these events is designed to enable the widest understanding of the place we collectively, and individually, find ourselves in during this challenging time. Seeking that knowledge understanding would not be possible without participation from across the sector.

Euan Leitch, BEFS opened, providing an update on the Scottish Government Budget in relation to the sector. BEFS have now provided an overview document of relevant details.

The sector was anticipating harsh and severe cuts, and whilst there are some cuts they appear more marginal than feared. Many areas have a similar budget to last year. Usually, the Budget comes with description of what is to be delivered, particularly by Agencies and Public Bodies. That detail has not been released yet (at time of event).

Caroline Clark, National Lottery Heritage Fund  Brought extensive information and sector context from NLHF’s work in 2020/2021. As an organisation they take a holistic approach to funding, across the breadth of heritage, as it’s perceived by applying organisations applying. In reaction to the pandemic, they moved from project funding to heritage emergency support funding – it was imperative to be able to fund where there was most need. This funding programme provided substantial sector information, analysis was provided in Evidence to the Culture Committee (evidence was also provided in those papers by Abbotsford Trust, HES and NTS).

Analysis of cashflows from bids (105 organisations were awarded £6.4M over summer 2020), assessed that there was a £24-29M financial gap for the sector for the end of financial year. This was most likely to be hitting revenue support due to Covid, the recapitalising of reserves was also a significant factor. Further in-depth interviews were carried out, these highlighted:

  • loss of volunteering
  • costs of social distancing measures
  • viability concerns though loss of revenue

NLHF  Small Grants programme is now live and insights from the 28 community organisations making  enquiries (£1.6M ask) suggests a focus on wellbeing, inclusion, and community activism in the world of heritage. This reflects the local connections to place that have been highlighted in this time of crisis.

Caroline reiterated the concerns raised to the Culture Committee around the need need to examine the Local Authority sector and the impact these financial challenges will be having on their culture infrastructure.

NLHF is seeing:

  • Real challenges for capital funding projects currently in delivery.
  • Strong shift to digital from some organisations – often those larger/more secure. Harder for smaller, community, and rural heritage sectors.
  • Loss of volunteers and volunteering activity continuing to be a significant issue.
  • Concern over the ending of furlough.
  • The health of the work force is also a real issue.
  • A lack of ‘head-space’ and ability for organisations to make strategic decisions
  • A moving picture, where collaboration and partnership will be pivotal to future sustainability
  • Anecdotally – Boards feel more risk averse; big change/large capital projects seem unlikely. Perhaps for 2-3 years as the effects of both Covid and Brexit reveal themselves more fully.

Difficult to forecast the future, NLHF main grant programmes are only just reopening. Applications will provide more insight for the ambitions of the sector.

NLHF is aware of the complexity of the picture,  the need for funders to stay agile and flexible; weighing up the support for those in delivery and facing challenges, with new programmes, and how best to support communities.

Caroline stressed the responsibility to listen and be responsive to sector need. Especially to remember to listen for the silences, the quiet slipping away as capacity dwindles in fragile organisations.

Andrew Hopetoun, Historic Houses Scotland  Reflected on the outlook, mindful that it is hard to strike a balance between the negative, and the agility and resilience of Members to adapt.

Historic Houses surveyed members in December 2020.  Members represent the largest collection of historic houses and gardens with 1500 property Members.  60% of Members usually open throughout the year,  with a third open for day visitors in the traditional way. The survey revealed:

  • 15% of those usually open, didn’t open at all in 2020
  • Scale of those who did open extremely reduced:
    • Less than a quarter of their usual season for 50% of properties
    • A third had only half a season
    • Only 10% managed something that looked relatively normal.
  • Membership reported 75% reduction in visitors
  • Turnover dropped to around 50%
  • Estimated losses across HH Members UK wide – £280M, with expectation this will rise.

Those were severe results across the Membership.

  • 50% of Members reported no support apart from the job retention/furlough scheme.
  • 2/3 of members reported no or minimal repairs and maintenance occurring.
    • Previously Scottish Membership reported a backlog of £60M of urgent repairs, this will have increased.

In the case of Hopetoun House, measures such as furlough, CBILS, and grants from HES & NLHF have helped to weather the crisis. There is still a six-figure impact on the business, difficult for any charity.

There were high points: Wondrous Woods – outdoor event drew 30K visitors from a wide spread of demographics – and importantly provided 100+ people with employment. Numbers meant that Hopetoun received over 50% of usual visitor numbers.

The HH Member survey suggested that when most properties would usually expect to open at Spring/Easter 2021, this season only 82% are planning to open. A positive point from respondents has been that paying visitors were more appreciative of the grounds and gave more feedback. Members are considering how their outdoor offering may change to reflect visitor responses.

Looking to the future, the current uncertainty remains difficult. Visit Scotland are attempting to promote tourism. Balance remains difficult to find: the risks is that we find ourselves with tourism promotion, overshadowed by safety measures which depress demand; or the opposite, that undercooked safety measures do not aid a sustained recovery, which is significantly worse. It is of note that UK Hospitality sees holiday bookings 90% down on last year.

Across HH about 13% of those 15,000 employed were made redundant in 2020. The survey also suggests same number at risk again this year. This helps to illustrate the devasting, personal, and multi-season impact which may be felt across so many parts of the sector.

Whilst Members are willing to act as necessary and remain adaptable, there are clouds of concern leading to nervousness and cautiousness – particularly for the events/wedding aspects of the sector, overnight accommodations (particularly with new implications from regulations and licences for short-term lets being agreed the Local Government Committee recently),  and access takers leading to some surges in bad behaviour and crime in some instances.

Like many, HH are actively lobbying for a heritage recovery plan. This includes such measures as: Extension of relief schemes; support for specific areas (eg – support for wedding sector was extremely welcome); and VAT parity/reduction.

Stuart Brooks, National Trust for Scotland Was honest about the catastrophic impacts for NTS. Giving a detailed overview of the far reaching pandemic effect on the organisation.

There were periodic closures of all built properties – challenges even assessing/maintaining/accessing more remote sites (St Kilda).

  • Countryside remained open, gardens first to re-open
  • 88% drop in visitor income
  • 60% drop in holiday cottage income
  • 72% down on total visitors -biggest impact from paying visitors and travel trade –countryside less impacted
  • 230 staff redundancies – most significant is the loss of colleagues (430 staff were at risk)
  • Cancellation or postponement of projects –maintenance & rural paths impacts
  • Projecting significant deficits for 2021 & 22

Visitor profiles changed, some completely – with Overseas Visitors – down to 1.3% from 24%. UK visitors (from both Scotland and England) rising significantly.

There were also some more positive outcomes.

It forced NTS to accelerate change

  • Membership has been loyal (10% down – but better outcome than expected)–invested in digital and other engagement
  • Members and public responded to emergency appeal – £3.5M –emphasised NTS charitable cause
  • Remote working has enhanced efficiency, improved communications and reduced carbon emissions
  • Visitor experience predominantly positive
  • NTS kept people safe (new protocols produced and implemented)
  • Bring forward strategic review
  • Positive response and financial support from Scottish Government – enabled reinstatement of some key projects

Able to consider the visitor experience during Covid.  91% very happy with visitor experience during Covid and almost 80% reported a similar or more positive experience due to Covid measures.

Overall the impacts for NTS are felt –

Across heritage:

  • Buildings maintenance & repairs delayed – hopefully short term
  • Gardens –potential weed legacy
  • Countryside –requirement for education and infrastructure investment if numbers sustain
  • Delayed investment –future impact

Across the charity:

  • Big measures – from catastrophic to manageable
  • Reserves depleted
  • Enhanced value and relevance
  • Better appreciation of charitable status and need for support
  • A platform that can be built on – optimistic outlook

Across our people:

  • Impacts on people is the hardest. Staff mental health is low and fatigue is setting in – this is the hardest aspect, especially with a tricky year in view.

The following detail was provided after the event due to time constraints on the day.

NTS Short term

  • Planning for partial income recovery and phased reopening (timing under threat/review)
  • Assumed domestic market permissible and willing
  • New 10 year strategic plan in development for 2022
  • Greater focus on dynamic risk management and contingency planning

Legacy for NTS

  • People’s value of access to greenspace and digital –align and promote social outcomes, including health
  • More efficient and climate friendly ways of working
  • Greater emphasis on partnership working
  • Resilience and relevance are totems

Issues on the Horizon

  • Planning in a period of extreme uncertainty
  • Short notice -easing of lockdown measures, any foreign market, knock-on from city based tourism
  • Absence of furlough and short notice -adds to risk of loading costs
  • Political uncertainty -Post Brexit and Scotland
  • Keeping our workforce safe –matching staff to vaccination programme
  • Mental health and fatigue

Eithne Ní Chonghaile, Museums Galleries Scotland  Strongly echoed what we’d heard – the challenges are still there. Many recovery schemes were designed prior to current restrictions and closures are now lasting longer,  and are deeper than might have been expected.

ASVA Survey – visitor numbers at Scottish attractions down 72% last year compared to previous year. And Museum & Galleries figures was down 77%. Peak of 160 Museums open in October 2020, from 440 potential sites. The reality is that most of the Museums sector faces full calendar year closed.

MGS is grateful for additional, sector funding support from the Scottish Government – MGS distributed 290 grants worth £5.8M supporting 200 museums last year.  With much of that funding coming from the £4M Recovery and Resilience Fund for independent museums.  £3.1M additional funding has recently released from Scottish Government and an additional second round of funding is now open.

With reduced visitor numbers and reduced visitor spend, as well as restrictions – many museums will still be unable to open should social distancing be in place.  Safe opening and adaptations has also had a financial impact and MGS has reopened its Covid Adaptation Fund.

Independent Museums and Galleries were a funding priority as it was an extremely hard hit part of the sector. But – emergency funding ends in June, the job retention scheme is due to end in April, and a lot of uncertainty remains. Tourism seems unlikely to recover this year and significant impacts on income continue. The uncertainty impacts on planning exhibitions and activity. Further revenue support will be necessary to ensure survival.

For example:

V&A 2021 – expected numbers 45K – 90% down on a normal year

Industrial Museums survey showed their members expecting 50% income in comparison to 2019.

MGS reiterated the concerned raised by NLHF over the health of the civic sector (125 museums run by Local Authority and Arms-Length cultural bodies). This vulnerable section of the sector is not able to apply for funding in the same way as independent museums. And their current predicament is set in the context of a decade of reduced revenue funding and reductions in staff numbers. The biggest operator in this field is Glasgow Life, and it saw visitor numbers reduce from 3.4M to under 70k – these figures do not allow for viable reopening with the consequential knock-on for catering, and additional services. As non-statutory services, they are at the bottom of funding priorities, this is despite growing visitor numbers and contributions to their local places and communities far beyond their traditional remits. Further squeeze on these sites, as Local Authority budgets remain stretched, is to be expected.

As places providing access to the stories of communities across extensive periods of time, museums and galleries are unique contributors to the identity of place; locally, regionally and nationally. The loss of these local venues will have a detrimental effect on local places for years to come.

The uncertainty has deep impacts on workforce health. MGS worked from the start to enable informal workforce connections, as well as providing free mental health and wellbeing sessions with Solve. Organisations have expressed concerns as to how to bring people together who have very different pandemic experiences. Organisations also express challenge in finding the capacity and headspace for strategic planning.

Looking ahead, MGS will be continuing to advocate for the sector and to advocate for further financial support. Partnerships have been key to their work this year, the skills, learning, information sharing has been essential to successes, and will continue. MGS launched their sector Delivery Plan days before moving to home-working –  and the 4 areas of focus remain relevant (workforce development; digital development; sector resilience; and response to the climate emergency).

Over the year MGS has seen the sector adapt demonstrating: organisational agility, digital expansion, live-learning events, and skills training and employability provision. MGS’ own training programmes remained live, and they are now a gateway for the Government Kick-start scheme. The Surviving to Thriving programme run by MGS in partnership with greenspace scotland and BEFS welcomed the successful participating organisations this month.

MGS know the future funding environment will look different – Museums will need to innovative and collaborate. MGS also know that funding will be necessary during this time to enable that adaptation from recovery to resilience.

Alex Paterson, Historic Environment Scotland Brought a philosophical macro-view on commonalities across the sector, carefully considering more specifically where we find ourselves now, and where we might be moving towards.

Where we are: Challenging times remain. In CHERF during June (2020) it felt like a glimmer of change and hope as things began to reopen. Now, we’re still dealing with the pandemic consequences.

This sector, like so many others, is the beneficiary of numerous support schemes, support which will be needed for some time to come. HES has been one of those beneficiaries. Evidence HES presented to the Culture Committee expressed some of the challenges. The impact on HES has been huge:

  • 85% of commercial income expected to disappear
  • 900 colleagues on furlough
  • Edinburgh Castle 2.1M visitors in 2019/20 reduced to – 277K in 2020/21

Income from Scottish Government has enabled HES to support others through their grant schemes. Many challenges with current projects have been seen – and flexibility has been necessary. The Historic Environment Recovery Fund distributed 41 awards totalling just under 2M. These support schemes have been, and remain, critical.

Alex spoke about the wider ripple effect – another angle appears to this situation with regularity. The suppliers, caterers, researchers, specialist organisations of all kinds, – within and without the sector – the whole eco-system are all affected. Only as the sector reopens (when it can reopen) will we know more about the state of these organisations too.  Skills training has been impacted, with recruits down; repair and maintenance is delayed – growing a backlog of work, but also with assessment of some sites unable to take place.

Consequences over the longer-term on our built environment will also be seen. Consequences of home working, the effects of online worship, changing living and working patterns will affect our towns and cities. A year ago, the impacts we might have been discussing would have focused on Brexit – and those impacts too, need consideration. Our supply-chains, state-aid rules, structural funds and future investments will all be impacted.

Looking forward: Returning to the Budget – most parts of the budget for this sector were, as good, or better than could have been expected.

The real challenge is how to plan, there are more variables than we are used to and a lack of control over those variables. What assumptions can we (all) make – over visitor numbers, over opening of sites, over income?

What it means for HES: In 2021/22 HES will continue to be ambitious, but with realism and pragmatism playing their role, prioritising and controlling costs. HES will focus on core business and core purpose. What core business looks like has also changed – use of digital technologies and other routes to market have become more significant. Building core business will not be what was had before – but will a major part of the future focus.

2021/22 is an unusual year. Unless there is dramatic change there will not huge numbers of international visitors. The market will be primarily domestic visitors. This will be a distinctive year and a different offer and new engagement will be needed.

There is an opportunity as a sector – we can do more, and say more, about the relevance of what we do collectively out-with the sector. How does what we do contribute to the wider economic recovery, and how do we articulate more effectively how this sector contributes to other critical priorities around wellbeing, reducing inequalities, and the community and place making agendas? There is more to say around our work in relation to the future of sustainable tourism, and the response to the climate emergency.

We have an opportunity to promote the relevance of what we do and the wider contribution we make.

COMFORT BREAK

Panel Discussion – Chaired by Ian Baxter

Alex Paterson had another commitment, the panel was joined by Adam Jackson and Alison Turnbull from Historic Environment Scotland, as well as Lucy Casot from Museums Galleries Scotland, and Anna Leask from Napier University.

Initial thoughts were drawn from Lucy and Anna.

LC: Easy to focus inwards, on own organisation, and own issues. Now critical to seek to work together,  to work collectively, across heritage. We can learn from each other and have broad discussions that benefit place-based approaches. Partnership working needs to be prioritised. Difficult to find this balance between the day-to-day with strategic thinking for the future.

AL: The range of speakers emphasised the breadth and diversity of the sector, and the close and complex relationship between heritage and tourism. There has been a lack of understanding about the sector, not just things like charitable status, but also eligibility for funding stemming from diversification of offer. This lack of understanding was even seen in relation to social distancing – visitor attraction sites had 2m rules when  hospitality and entertainment had 1m.

We also heard about people: The stresses on staff, the flattening of hierarchies, how to skills, and upskill. Concerns remain around volunteers, particularly the older age profile. And visitors themselves have changed – the focus is now on domestic, and also where concentrations of visitors have perhaps led to rural concerns.

But the response from the sector has been phenomenal, finding ways through funding (which is complex), adapting and innovating, providing new experiences.

Audience Questions were taken in order of submission.

Question: on Connectivity and the Rural/Urban divide.

SB: Digital connectivity as a focus has been a challenge but it calls for speed of change so that rural communities can fully participate.

AT: HES thinking about their own national footprint, considering their properties in care and sites, as hubs in their communities. HES accelerated their own work, and moved to working remotely. HES have a Digital strategy being reviewed at the moment. The pandemic has highlighted issues around digital divide, which the Scottish Government are also addressing. We need to work with partners that we’ve never worked with before. We don’t often come together like this, and we need to make more opportunities.

LC: Needed to fund the community museums too. Their value as hubs is very important. Those with connectivity have found this a benefit in some ways, the lack of need to travel, and the ability for all to have equitable participation – those lessons need to remain key.

AH: greater impetus from this situation to find solutions and be willing to invest in those.

Question: Tourism and heritage – how we see the balance – sustainable funding for projects. Change in markets. Etc

CC: Complex picture within Scotland. Different visitor markets across different places, remote/urban etc. Seen a flourishing in creative and innovative ways moving from what was developed for tourism market to delivering deep social benefits to hard hit local communities. Need to not lose these powerful connections. A real richness that shouldn’t be lost. Demonstrates how the sector can deliver wellbeing – not just locally but more widely.

Tourism is a big employer for young people in rural places, rural connectivity can enable young people to stay in their communities. We’ve seen so many clever solutions and  perhaps the increasing of opportunities and can be kept.

AL: Data up to 2019 a large amount is domestic (70%) in terms of volume, value is higher for international. But domestic positives: short lead time, less seasonality, wider age spread too. A lot to be said for domestic market. Challenges appear with travel restrictions – limited international can still bring domestic difficulties. Opportunities – for the future – visiting friends and relatives is key to changes. Local people visiting local places. More value being seen by communities and individuals. Pushing at an open door, how to develop and what people want in their local places. Developing different markets. Educating visitors to understand what they’re supporting. But infrastructure needs grow with some of this.

SB: No-one wants a dependence on any particular segment of the visitor sector. Value all of these sectors and interest, there is a financial value attached to that. How can organisations best utilise the income and the value to make their properties more relevant and reduce barriers to access.

AH: ties into further question – historic properties can focus on tourism/weddings/events/catering/retail etc Financial Support can be tailored (eg Wedding or Outdoor businesses – 50-75% of income needs to come from that to be eligible) – diversification can prevent some organisations from being eligible.

Question: About freelancers – designers/conservators all sorts of freelance workers (ICON producing own survey)  AJ: Aware of the data gap – HES working with Skills Development Scotland to get data in relation to sector skills areas.

Question: What trends have organisations seen in donations/giving trends?

SB: NTS seen 10% drop in monetary value from Membership. But this is viewed as not being able to recruit new members, rather than being over and above usual churn. Need to find value for members with new and different online events. In terms of general donations, people’s generosity has shown that people do care, support what we do. See the value in us.

EnC: National Museums highlighted that their drop was severe and problematic. Many organisations considering how to make new experience content and make it relevant to their audiences.

Question: Working with UK: Much support comes from UK Government and this reflects the difference in available resource. Do we need to be working more closely with the rest of the UK to make the sector’s case to the UK govt?

AJ: Answer is yes. HES part of UK wide group where HE, THA, BEFS, CADW, NI Communities Directorate meet regularly. Focus started with Brexit, then Covid. An open knowledge exchange, sharing opportunities and hear what’s working in terms of  influence. The Heritage Alliance regularly meet with DCMS and put the case  for the sector forward. Fair reflection that strength of that relationship with Westminster is perhaps stronger than we might sometimes have in Scotland.

LC: Parallel alliance of UK museums, similar to built-heritage sector. Story is often not distinct, UK wide advocay is important. New budget money will be from consequentials.

CC: In other parts of UK work with DCMS/DEFRA. In last year, in Scotland, work with Scottish Government and partners. The structures are there, the conversations are happening.

Question: We do good work but are we making our information sharable, in the infographic sense, like Heritage Counts?

AT: All tried individual pieces of work for this. Need to pool our efforts, and work together, to influence and get our evidence in front of elected members.

AL: Sector is collecting data but making it useful remains a challenge. The use of terminology, the lack of understanding are connected to the data question. Tourism always seeks better, more reliable data, but this does need leadership. ASVA/ALVA – STA–  have used data well and linked into STERG taskforce. Need good data leadership, need to feed heritage data into existing organisations.

SB: NTS is now trying to look at the longer term. Commissioning a Social and Economic Impact assessment at property level – they’re working on their own case and insight into the value they bring. Will be willing to share in terms of methodology and results. A fundamental piece of learning. Want to fill gaps, deliver more value, and where are their spatial gaps . Sector could think about this more broadly.

Questions remained – due to time pressures:

  • How to expand greater inclusion in Volunteering. Are there HES plans in this area?
  • Collaborations – and where they can happen?
  • Infrastructure and how to put grant conditions on things like EV charging points etc… Make physical and intellectual changes.
  • Regulator
  • Plans for maintenance – and how to protect assets.
  • How advocacy groups meet and continue these conversations?
  • What about the rest (non-asset) of the sector: How about academia? Skills creation etc have all suffered.

In closing Ian Baxter asked Euan Leitch for final thoughts:

Responses make it clear we’re still in the midst of this.  Are we in the space of thinking the unthinkable? At the OPiT CEO Forum a desire was expressed to have those big, open strategic conversations, but  real space was desired for the discussion where nuance and body-language can be more easily read and expressed. It doesn’t feel like we’re in that space yet.

BEFS want to be able to provide the space for conversation, and dramatic change. The problems are immediate, but we can take the conversation and work on how to move it forward. Previous ideas submitted post the initial series of CHEF meetings were good ideas, but they were not new ideas. It feels like there is new thought out there, and new ideas to be had. We hope to be in that space soon, enabling transparent discussions.

Ian Baxter:  BEFS will commit within CHERF to continuing the conversation, and examining the relationship between tourism and heritage, but there is the wider conversation between the historic environment and communities and people, and skills, and identity. The economics of heritage can be dominated by tourism – but we need to pull those strands out in a nuanced way.

Thanks were given to all across the sector and allied sectors. Appreciating the collaboration that has taken place. We will work towards understanding what the future looks like – both thinkable, and unthinkable.

Comment

I was concerned that whilst the report would be entitled the State of Heritage I would be commenting on the stasis of heritage.

Having been involved with previous CHERF events, and the subsequent reports, I initially wondered if we were understandably rooted in the same conversations about emergency situations and unprecedented times. With further thought and the opportunity to relisten to the astonishing breadth and depth of information shared, I find myself reflecting that the job losses are not stasis, the organisational survival is not stasis; the adaptation, the new ways of working, and the learning; these are not stasis.  The resilience remaining comes at a price. But the proof that change can happen, that adaptation occurs when needed, exists. How we harness this flux towards the positive, rather than as a reaction to the negative will be the ultimate measure. We are living through these changing times (personally and professionally), so may find it hard to notice the more incremental and monumental shifts happening all around us. We’re often too close to gain true perspective.

The call came from all sides for more collaboration, more open working. The offers to share data, information, and skills were freely given. Collective action and collaboration were championed. We were asked how these conversations can continue? How we can form the spaces for strategic thought and find the head-space for radical change?

The good news is, we are – we are doing all these things – as the reports from across the sector bore testament to. These collaborations and partnerships are happening. The adaptations are taking place. We’re making our relevance to the social, economic, cultural and climate agendas known. We’re learning new ways of working, and considering how to make sure these are more equitable, listening to the silences, not just the shouting. We can’t fix every related issue (from rural broadband to societal inequalities) but we know to consider our outcomes within those limitations, and who to ask for help in achieving the best aims for all.

The fact we’re asking for the very things we’re doing suggests an appetite for more rapid change and development. And perhaps we do need to prioritise, to find more time to balance the day-to-day with the strategic, to help increase the velocity of our progress.

The greatest outcomes have involved sharing information, asking for assistance, and working collaboratively and collectively, to share our knowledge, our experience, and our skills – all in the name of emergency measures. Can we now make these actions our business as normal, for the ambition of delivering excellence, rather than surviving emergency.

Ailsa Macfarlane, BEFS Policy & Strategy Manager


All current evidence supplied to the Scottish Parliament Culture, Tourism,  and External Affairs Committee in relation to the Impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s Culture and Tourism Sectors can be found here.

 

BACK

Details of funding for Historic Environment Scotland in the Scottish Government’s draft budget.

This budget summary was prepared as part of the State of Heritage 2021-22 event held on 4 February 2021.

The Scottish Government published its Budget 2021-22 on 28th January with details on the funding of Historic Environment Scotland within the Economy, Fair Work and Culture portfolio.

The total budget forecast for HES in 2021-22 is £91.3 million, a decrease of just under 9% on the previous year’s budget. The budget forecasts an income generation of £44.1m which at this point in time seems ambitious. However, the grant in aid figure of £55.9 million will be augmented by a further £20 million drawn from the allocation of COVID consequentials. With a total grant from Scottish Government of £75.9 million therefore, HES will only need to generate income of £15.3 million to meet the forecast budget for 2021-22. This is a 75% decrease over the previous year’s forecast income.

Arguably the comparison with the previous year’s budget is now moot given the drop in income generated by HES in a year with little tourist activity, albeit augmented by the additional £37.1m the organisation received via Scottish Government mid-year which came from the £97m UK Government consequentials for the culture and heritage sectors.

Unlike previous years, the budget makes no comment on HES role as a grant funder only stating that HES will continue “caring for our heritage and communities, creating local training and employment and supporting the maintenance of traditional craft skills.” The Scottish Government has dispensed around £14.5 million funding annually through HES for more than a decade.

Level 3 2019-20 Budget 2020-21 Budget 2021-22 Budget 
£m£m£m
Operational Costs 93.5 100.1 91.3 
Capital Expenditure 6.0 6.0 6.0 
Less Income (59.7) (63.3) (41.4) 
Total Historic Environment Scotland 39.842.855.9

Below are some further figures from the budget that have implications for the wider built environment and it must be said that, More Homes aside, the budget is a broadly positive outcome given the year past and what looks to be ahead.

Level 3 2019-20 Budget 2020-21 Budget 2021-22 Budget
£m£m£m
Architecture and Place 1.41.41.5
Building Standards 0.92.016.7
Planning 6.58.311.5
Planning and Environmental Appeals 0.70.70.7
More Homes 788.7896.1628.1
Fuel Poverty/Energy Efficiency 119.6137.1145.6
Regeneration 42.347.481.6
Vacant and Derelict Land Grant 11.47.67.6
Creative Scotland and Other Arts 66.067.363.2
Cultural Collections 74.679.275.7
Major Events and Themed Years 16.86.68.2
Culture and Major Events Staffing 4.34.44.7
National Performing Companies 22.922.922.9
National Parks 13.413.917.5
Natural Resources, Peatland and Flooding 4.629.734.1
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency 34.437.143.5
NatureScot 46.549.150.2
Zero Waste 20.516.540.2
Land Reform 15.615.014.9
Scottish Land Commission 1.51.51.5

 

 2020-212021-22
£m£m
City Region and Growth Deals3.811.2
Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company0.50.5
Capital
Capital Land and Works22.022.0
City Region and Growth Deals201.0198.1
Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company5.05.0
Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS)55.058.0
Regeneration Capital Grant Fund25.025.0
Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme5.0
Place, Town Centres and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods23.0

 

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Former BEFS Chair, Graeme Purves, compares approaches being taken by Wales and Scotland to highlight some strategic planning challenges.

As the initial consultation on Scotland’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) draws to a close, the Welsh Government is preparing to publish the final version of the National Development Framework for Wales, Future Wales: the National Plan 2040.  Some of the issues raised during the Senedd’s final scrutiny of Future Wales are also of relevance for NPF4.  This blog compares approaches being taken by the two devolved administrations to highlight some strategic planning challenges.

Post-Pandemic Recovery

Along with taking forward the pressing Climate Change agenda, one of the major challenges in both countries will be economic and social recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Scottish Government’s post-COVID Economic Recovery Implementation Plan reflects the neoliberal narrative set out in the Higgins Report, Towards a Robust, Resilient Wellbeing Economy for Scotland, Scottish Ministers do appear to recognise some role for strategic planning in recovery.  The Implementation Plan indicates that NPF4 will be brought to Parliament in September.  It also intends that the Regional Land Use Partnerships should have a role in regional economic development as well as meeting climate change goals.  In his foreword to the Position Statement on NPF4 published in November, Planning Minister Kevin Stewart states that the experience of the pandemic has highlighted the importance of a good local environment, with good access to open space and amenities, but post-pandemic recovery is not developed as a theme in that document.

In a report Go Big – Go Local published in October, the UK2070 Commission warned that the pandemic may exacerbate regional inequalities and have disproportionate impacts on the elderly and opportunities for young people. It recommended that strategies for recovery should place emphasis on investment in infrastructure with a view to building resilience and strengthening connectivity.

During committee scrutiny of the draft Future Wales in the Autumn of last year, the Welsh Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, argued that the strategy it set out is sufficiently robust and flexible to respond to the societal changes arising from the pandemic and that experience over the past year had validated its focus on climate change, place-making and resilience.  However, the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee has pressed for more.  Drawing on the work of the UK2070 Commission, it has called for Future Wales to include a clear statement reflecting the lessons learned from COVID-19 and explaining how the framework will help to further post-COVID recovery.  It has pressed for explicit recognition of the potential contributions of investment in infrastructure, housing, connectivity, heat networks and natural capital, and increasing capacity in the foundation economy.  There may well be similar calls in Scotland.

The Regional Dimension of Recovery

While the Higgins report played down the role of the public sector, particularly local authorities, in recovery, some of its recommendations were very much in tune with the thinking of the UK2070 Commission.  It called for an investment-led recovery.  It recognised the need to address regional disparities in Scotland and advocated a regionally focused model of economic development.

Future Wales has a strong regional dimension.  The Welsh Government will rely on strategic development plans for North, Mid, South-East and South-West Wales to take forward key aspects of policy development and implementation.  How enthusiastic the Scottish Government will be about a strong regional dimension to recovery strategy remains to be seen.  It has blown hot and cold over regions over the past decade.  In 2014 it reaffirmed its commitment to strategic development plans at the regional level, yet the planning review initiated by Alex Neil in 2015 led to a proposal to end regional agency and centralise strategic planning in the National Planning Framework.  As a result of opposition in the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government was obliged to accord a role to Regional Land Use Partnerships.  The Position Statement for NPF4 states that “Our strategy will be informed by emerging regional scale spatial and economic strategies.”

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, announced in January that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is to be disbursed from London.  This creates a real danger that Scottish discretion on spatial priorities will be significantly curtailed. The Scottish Government may count itself fortunate that its attempt to abolish regional strategic planning failed.  Without it, its flank might have been even more exposed to UK Government interventions than it is.  It will be important for the Scottish Government to build strong relationships with local authorities and work closely with regional partnerships on spatial strategies.

Barclay’s announcement makes it even more important to be clear about the relationship between strategic spatial planning and growth deals.  They reflect different ideological perspectives, and there is potential for them to pull in different directions.  The Position Statement on NPF4 states only that regional spatial and economic strategies “will align with city and regional growth deals.”  There is no indication that growth deals should reflect spatial strategies.  In Wales, the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee has recommended to the Welsh Government that “Future Wales should explicitly state the need for a reciprocal and iterative relationship between strategic development plans and growth deals over time.”  Stakeholders should insist on the same relationship between spatial strategies and growth deals in Scotland.

Place-Making and Housing Delivery

There is contrast between the Welsh and Scottish Governments in their approach to place-making and housing delivery.  Future Wales accords the public sector the lead role in urban development, regeneration and the delivery of affordable housing, though the Welsh Government remains coy about specific delivery mechanisms.  In the NPF4 Position Statement, the public sector and local authorities barely get a mention.  The Scottish Government appears to prefer a developer-led model, with the role of planning authorities being merely to provide developers with “a steady pipeline of land.” While there is a lot of aspirational rhetoric about place-making in the Position Statement, the Scottish Government shows little inclination to empower the public sector to take the necessary lead.  Better places and 20-minute neighbourhoods are public policy objectives, but we are given no hint as to the mechanisms which will be used to deliver them.  There is no reference, for example, to the work the Scottish Land Commission has been doing on land value capture and sharing for several years now.

Rural Repopulation

Finally, it is interesting that the repopulation of rural areas has re-emerged as an objective of spatial planning in Scotland and Wales, something we have not really seen since the strategic plans for post-Depression and post-War recovery in the middle of the last century.  In autumn 2018, Community Land Scotland successfully promoted an amendment to the Planning (Scotland) Bill which requires the NPF to consider the potential for rural resettlement.  The NPF Position Statement says that rural repopulation will be a key theme for emerging regional spatial strategies for the South of Scotland, Argyll and Bute, Western Isles, Orkney and the Highlands.  The Welsh Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee has called for Future Wales to include further locational guidance on addressing rural depopulation.  It has also pressed for the Welsh framework to recognise opportunities for people to live and work sustainably outside towns and cities.

by Graeme Purves

 

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