Doors Open Days is looking for an enthusiastic volunteer or group of volunteers.

Doors Open Days is looking for an enthusiastic volunteer or group of volunteers to help coordinate Doors Open Days in Shetland. This is a great opportunity to help people in your local area freely access heritage sites and events, network with professionals across Scotland’s heritage sectors, and develop skills in project management, communication and website management. You will be supported by a friendly national network of Doors Open Days coordinators.
Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

Volunteer opportunity – Shetland Doors Open Days coordinator


The Heritage Trust Network is recruiting a Development Officer.

The Heritage Trust Network is recruiting for a new part-time post of Development Officer based in Northern Ireland. The Network has a varied range of members in Northern Ireland including major building preservation trusts in the cities, towns and villages and community and arts organisations.

The deadline for applications is Monday 24th May.

Development Officer for Northern Ireland


greenspace scotland is looking to recruit a Programme Manager, Project Officer and freelance associates.

greenspace scotland is looking to recruit an experienced and creative Programme Manager, Project Officer and freelance associates to lead the development and delivery of this important national initiative working with artists, cultural organisations and communities to commemorate and reflect on Scotland’s experiences during the pandemic.
Closing date for applications for both posts: 3pm on Wednesday 19 May 2021.

Creative Programme Manager, Creative Project Officer and freelance associates


BEFS welcomes new Director Ailsa Macfarlane into post this week.

BEFS is delighted to welcome new Director Ailsa Macfarlane into post this week. Ailsa succeeds Euan Leitch who is taking up a new role as Chief Executive of SURF.

Ailsa, who first joined BEFS as Policy & Strategy Manager in 2017, previously managed the Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage project and worked for Museums Galleries Scotland. Coming from a cultural-heritage project management background, Ailsa has wide-ranging experience with partnership working and stakeholder collaboration across Scotland. She is widely respected throughout Scotland’s built environment sector, having delivered a strong programme of strategic policy work during her time with BEFS. This has included BEFS work on the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, Prioritisation work (informing the Sustainable Investment Toolkit on behalf of the OPiT Built Heritage Investment Group), and leading on sector responses to the COVID-19 crisis, through the COVID Historic Environment Resilience Forum.

The appointment was made by BEFS Board and BEFS Chair, Iain McDowall, said:

“The Board of BEFS are delighted to welcome Ailsa Macfarlane as the new Director. It was an extremely easy and unanimous decision by the Board and is clearly welcomed by any who know Ailsa and her work. We look forward to working with her in her new role, as BEFS continues to address the many challenges facing the sector.”

Director, Ailsa Macfarlane, said:

“It gives me great pleasure to be continuing BEFS collaborative and partnership based approach; making sure the sector is well represented, well understood, and evidencing delivery across nationwide strategies and national performance frameworks. None of this would be possible without the knowledge and support of the Board, BEFS Members, and the amazing staff team.”

Outgoing Director, Euan Leitch, said:

“Ailsa has been an excellent Policy & Advocacy Manager and I couldn’t be happier to pass the BEFS baton on to her. I’m really looking forward, now as an Associate Member, to seeing where Ailsa and the team take BEFS next, it can only be better.”

Further information on Ailsa Macfarlane’s background can be found here.


BEFS Director outlines how crucial it is that we evidence the benefits that arise for communities from investing in heritage, going into a new parliament.

This article was first published in The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland’s Spring 2021 Magazine.

In a blog post from January this year, Ailsa Macfarlane, BEFS Policy and Strategy Manager, states: “Read any report, research output, press-release, or corporate statement involving heritage and ‘save’ will be prominent. Whether ‘saved’ for the nation, the community, or future generations – you can be certain that the heritage in question is to be made ‘safe’ from the evil it was perceived to be beset by. The funding has (sometimes) been found; the heritage has been ‘secured’ for the audiences. But such asks have unintended consequences – we’ve reinforced all sorts of notions about heritage. About it being ‘special’ and ‘expensive’ and ‘unique’ and ‘difficult’ and ‘old’. Suddenly heritage doesn’t sound like it has a role in a green recovery, a just recovery, a socially integrated recovery. Heritage doesn’t sound like it’s your house, your local street, the building your kids go to school in, the town-hall where the library is, the park you walked through on the way to work. Heritage can sound like it doesn’t offer what communities and politicians seek.”

Ailsa neatly captures how we as a heritage sector need to talk differently to our electoral candidates and soon to be newly elected members of the next Scottish Parliament. While restoring a decaying building back to beauty or preventing ugly window replacements may be a priority for you, elected officials will also be dealing with constituents who are now using foodbanks, are long-term unemployed or are unable to get a home of their own. If you were them, which would you pay more attention to? But these issues are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the former can be used to address the last two points. It comes back to a much wider and holistic understanding of why retaining our existing built fabric is beneficial and potentially transformative for communities.

In March BEFS joined the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland, Landscape Institute Scotland and Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland as signatories of ‘Building for Scotland’s Communities’. I confess that when we were initially invited to sign, my concern was that it could be seen as the professions seeking to secure a position in the rush to rebuild after Covid-19. But it is not. It’s a call for political leadership to work with the professions to deliver structural change that will: tackle climate change and achieve Scotland’s net zero carbon reduction targets; reduce health inequalities across Scotland; support a wellbeing economy, and; ensure a quality and affordable home for everyone who needs one.

These are people-centred aims. And heritage can also be part of delivering them. The joint statement was discussed at a relevant cross-party group, and of particular note was how all professions spoke of prioritising the maintenance of our existing built environment over building new; music to my ears. The retiring Convener, Linda Fabiani MSP, suggested it was time to end shiny new projects that fed egos and instead concentrate on investing public money where it can make a difference to more people that need it. Perhaps this idea could be extended to rebuilding lost Classical houses when we have so many existing buildings in use that need investment to remain wind and watertight.

It is crucial that we evidence the benefits that arise from investing in heritage and I would encourage you to look at the Advocacy Toolkit section of the Resources pages for our tips and ideas on how to do this. A new parliament is not a blank sheet, but it is a fresh opportunity to make the case for the historic environment. Ask your candidates what they think heritage can deliver in your area. More importantly, we need you to charm the newly elected MSPs with the many benefits heritage can deliver for their constituents.


BEFS Director shares his observations about the extended permitted development rights consultation process, motivations and unexpected outcomes. 

New, extended permitted development rights (PDR) came into force on the 1st April 2021 following two years of consultation. The new rights apply to digital telecommunications infrastructure, agriculture, peatland restoration and active travel (bicycle storage). 

You can read a more detail account from the Scottish Government on this here. There are some observations worth making about discussions had during the consultation process, motivations and unexpected outcomes.  

In early meetings about telecommunications apparatus the prime driver was clearly to improve the speed of the roll out of apparatus by removing the need for planning permission which was clearly deemed an impediment by mobile phone providers. Yes, most of us are glued to our phones and look forward to the roll out of 5G but what seems to be of less concern is the impact of the apparatus on the public realm. The provision of infrastructure for daily life has a long and positive design history – think of drinking fountains, post boxes, lampposts, telephone boxes, cast iron manhole covers, tram rosettes. A number of these features are a valued part of cultural heritage and the name of some of the designers and manufacturers may trip of your tongue. Contemporary telecoms infrastructure looks unlikely to become as valued, and at best attempts to be invisible or disguised. There seems to be no aspiration by the providers or public authorities to create apparatus that enhances the public realm, or even amalgamates a number of required pieces of infrastructure. These components are necessary for contemporary life and could contribute to good placemaking but remain an opportunity missed. 

A repeated refrain across all elements of the extended PDR discussion was for designated areas to be spared from them. I found this a very difficult argument to make, not because I am against considered decisions for designated areas, but because I am against ill-considered decisions and inferior design everywhere else. Everywhere deserves good quality placemaking and infrastructure not just conservation areas, world heritage sites, the setting of listed buildings etc and arguing otherwise sounds like preferential treatment for some places, and therefore some people, over others. Is it preferable to have fewer or smaller masts within a conservation of the trade-off is taller/more masts outside a conservation area?  

The consultation on extending PDR for the residential conversion of agricultural buildings was also interesting. There was a slight urban perception that these were going to be rustic barn conversions or stone built steadings with delightful arcades when the reality could well be the conversion of steel sheds built before 5th November 2020 – it will be fascinating to see how this new right is actually used by land owners.  

There was broad support for PDR for cycle storage but one aspect still intrigues me. It was decided not to restrict the sizes of communal cycle stores to the rear of blocks of flats. That may be fine if the tenement has 8-12 properties but there are many tenements with far more and most properties would want to store more than one bike. Prepare for some big bike stores in your back green (and legal challenges over title deeds).  

The Scottish Government promised “more detailed guidance and advice early in the New Year, maybe it means 2022.  


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


BEFS is delighted to welcome Hazel Johnson into the role of BEFS Policy & Strategy Manager. From late May Hazel will be joining the team having previously worked for Historic Environment Scotland. Her broad range of sector knowledge, experience, and policy work makes her a fantastic addition to BEFS. We look forward to letting Hazel introduce herself once she starts – for now we’ll just say a big HELLO from the whole team.

BEFS has undertaken an overview of policy commitments that would have implications for Scotland’s built environment found in the manifestos of political parties ahead of the Scottish parliamentary elections, with some yet to the published. The most significant change to previous manifestos is that most are giving significant attention to the climate emergency. Read more here.

BEFS has also collated manifestos produced by heritage and built environment organisations. The most recent additions include contributions from the National Trust for Scotland and the Cockburn Association. For advice on becoming an advocate for the built environment check out our Advocacy Toolkit.

BEFS is delighted to share that its application to Rebuilding Heritage was successful. Members of BEFS team will be attending the Rebuilding Leadership Training and the Inclusion in the Workplace Training. The Rebuilding Heritage programme provides invaluable training, free resources and webinars and BEFS would encourage heritage and built environment organisations to apply when round 6 opens in July 2021.

BEFS, Museums Galleries Scotland and greenspace Scotland are delighted that the ‘Surviving to Thriving’ Business Support Programme kicks off next week. To celebrate the programme starting, and our Scotland wide action towards increasing the resilience of the sector, we’d love to hear what resilience looks like to you and your organisation. Find out what participating organisations have to say about resilience on social media and share your thoughts on Monday 26th April with #Thriving and by tagging @MuseumsGalScot@TheBEFS@greenspacescot.

BEFS responded to Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) consultation on the draft ‘Talking About Heritage’ guidance, which closed mid-December 2020. HES are now in the process of incorporating the feedback they received, with a view to publishing the final guidance as an online resource later this year. You can find a summary of the feedback, and an update on what they plan to do next, online at We Asked, You Said, We Did.

HES, Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIFA) and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) have joined forces to support heritage organisations to create new jobs for young unemployed people though the KickStart programme. They are looking for heritage organisations of all types including third, public and private sector that can offer six months of meaningful work to a young unemployed person. Kickstart will cover minimum wage salary up to 25 hours a week and NIC’s, an additional £1000 will be available for the employer to spend on training or equipment needed as part of the programme. The programme will run until December 2021 and jobs can start anytime within this period.

BEFS extends condolences to all those mourning the sudden passing of Peter Ainsworth. We know our colleagues at many organisations, but particularly The Heritage Alliance who were privileged to have him as their Chair, will feel his loss keenly. A heritage giant has been lost and our thoughts go out to his family and friends.


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

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 – achieving net zero emissions: consultation
Closes 30 April 2021.

Inquiry: Local government and the path to net zero
You can submit evidence until Friday 30 April 2021.

Working On and Near to Scheduled Monuments
Closes 6 May 2021.

Local Place Plan Regulations consultation
Closes 25 June 2021.

Petition: To create a tax incentive to favour retrofit instead of demolition and new build
8 August 2021.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance (SG 16/04/21)

Scottish Planner – The Journal of RTPI Scotland (RTPI Scotland 04/21)

European Cultural Heritage Green Paper – Full Paper (EN 22/03/21)

European Cultural Heritage Green Paper – Executive Summary (EN 22/03/21)

News Releases

UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035 (DBEIS 20/04/21)
The UK’s sixth Carbon Budget will incorporate the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions for the first time, to bring the UK more than three-quarters of the way to net zero by 2050..

Tesco Community Grants open for applications! (GS 20/04/21)
Tesco Community Grant scheme will award grants to charities and community organisations to fund local good causes whose focus is on supporting children and families.

Apply now for the Scottish Charity Awards 2021! (SCVO 19/04/21)
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is calling for charities and individuals across the country to apply for its annual charity awards.

Call on politicians to protect battlefields (NTS 16/04/21)
We’re calling on politicians to support Culloden’s bid to become a recognised World Heritage Site and increase protection for Scotland’s historic battlefields.

SPAB Receives Culture Recovery Fund Award (SPAB 12/04/21)
We are absolutely delighted to announce that the SPAB is one of the 476 heritage organisations who will share £44M from the Culture Recovery Fund.

Preserving Cultural Heritage, Supporting the Green Transition (ICON 12/04/21)
Icon Chief Executive, Sara Crofts, offers some reflections on amplifying messages about the need to mainstream climate action into cultural heritage.

Placing People at the Heart of Heritage for the Week of World Heritage Sites (EWH 11/04/21)
Europe’s historic cities are individually unique and beloved for their original architecture, varied settings, and distinctive history and heritage. But they face increasingly common problems.

Scottish finalists unveiled for RTPI Awards 2021 (SCN 08/04/21)
Projects, individuals and teams from across Scotland are in the running to win at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2021, it has been announced.

Europa Nostra and EIB Institute announce Europe’s 7 Most Endangered heritage sites 2021 (EN 08/04/21)
Europa Nostra – the European voice of civil society committed to cultural and natural heritage – together with its partner, the European Investment Bank Institute, this morning announced the List of 7 Most Endangered monuments and heritage sites in Europe for 2021.

The Arts and Cultural Impact Fund calls for more applicants (NLHF 07/04/21)
The Arts and Culture Impact Fund was established to provide loans which will help organisations in the arts, cultural and heritage sectors to build financial resilience and sustainability and support local communities.

How Europe’s World Heritage Cities are tackling common challenges (EWH 04/21)
From the effects of over-tourism, and the need to better conserve our valuable ancient buildings, to addressing the challenges post-COVID-19, there is clearly an opportunity to better manage our historic cities by learning from each other and sharing best practice.

Putting Europe’s shared heritage at the heart of the European Green Deal (EN 22/03/21)
Tackling climate change is this generation’s defining task and Europe’s rich and diverse cultural heritage can help.

Opinion & Comment

Steven Tolson: Housing to 2040 – a dream or promise for real deeds? (SHC 16/04/21)

Urbanistica Podcast: The making of smarter and more livable cities

Putting Town Centres First Podcast Series: Alison Harvey, from the Heritage Council, speaks with Jamie McNamara, Chair of SPAB Scotland


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

Icon Scotland Group: Take 5 Webinar, Spring Sessions
Date & time: 5 May 2021, 16:00-17:00.
Online: Via Zoom.
A new instalment of Icon Scotland Group’s ideas-sharing events, with 5 new 5 minute presentations by conservators of different disciplines about some of their recent projects: 1) Senses Working Over Time: tactile engagement for written heritage, by Victoria Stevens ACR; 2) Conservation of an Iranian Tile Panel at the National Museums of Scotland, by Holly Daws; 3)Learn by doing: the casting, finishing and patinating of bronzes, by Heleen van Santen; 4) Conservation Live: public engagement from a digital distance, by Lesley Stevenson ACR FIIC; 5) Conditional Confusion: considering variations in language used for object documentation, by Beth Gillions.

Insanitary City
Date & time: 6pm, Thursday 13 May 2021
Online: Zoom
Victorian Edinburgh was a melting pot of industry and people. The industrial revolution created new work, attracting migrants searching for a better life. The reality however was often different, with many families having no choice but to live in the filthy, disease-ridden, overcrowded slums of the Old Town. In our latest online event, Edinburgh World Heritage is delighted to welcome Richard Rodger of the University of Edinburgh as he explores the terrible slum conditions of Victorian Edinburgh and the extraordinary work of Dr Henry Littlejohn.

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.


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).

Architectural Conservation CPD: Statutory Protection and Managing Change to Listed Buildings Presenter: Elizabeth McCrone
Date & time: Wednesday 30 June, 12:30-13:30 (log-on with light refreshments from 12:15)
Online: via Microsoft Teams, streamed live from Lower City Mills, Perth.
The third session in the 6-part CPD programme focuses on listed buildings and the legislative framework that protects them. Delivered by HES’s Head of Designations Elizabeth McCrone, this session will cover the role of designation, recent reviews, applying for listed building consent and general approached to managing change to listed buildings with examples. Whether you are starting out in a buildings related career, looking to refresh your conservation knowledge, encounter historic buildings, or have limited knowledge of the best conservation practices, this is the CPD programme for you. Sessions are recognised CPD by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and Scottish Traditional Building Forum (STBF).


Volunteer Co-ordinator
PAS are looking to recruit a Volunteer Co-ordinator (on a fixed-term contract until 31 October 2021) to co-ordinate volunteers to support PAS’s activities and to assist with general office support.
Closing at 9am on Tuesday 4 May 2021.


BEFS provides an overview of policy commitments in the party manifestos that would have implications for Scotland’s built environment.

BEFS has undertaken an overview of policy commitments found in the manifestos of political parties currently represented in the Scottish Parliament, with some yet to be published, that would have implications for Scotland’s built environment. The most significant change to previous manifesto is the that most are giving significant attention to the climate emergency.

This selection is no way authoritative and we would recommend you reading the manifestos in their entirety.

Manifesto Commitments for the Built Environment in the Scottish Election


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


BEFS has collated a list of manifestos produced by heritage and built environment organisations ahead of the Scottish parliamentary elections next month. The most recent additions include contributions from RIAS, SURF, RICS, the Green Action Trust and Cupar Development Trust. For advice on becoming an advocate for the built environment check out our Advocacy Toolkit.

The Scottish Government has updated its response to recommendations in the final report of the Scottish Parliamentary Working Group on tenement maintenance. Specifically, the Tenement Condition Workplan has been updated for 2021.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is looking for your views on a new Managing Change Guidance Note: Working on and near to scheduled monuments.

A&BS has announced changes to the Culture & Business Fund Scotland (CBFS), to provide broader support and match funding of creative partnerships to help arts and heritage organisations through the recovery and renewal period of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Culture & Business Fund Scotland Covid-19 Recovery & Renewal strand temporarily replaces the existing fund with immediate effect. This relaxes some of the previous eligibility criteria to enable broader support of projects with existing as well as new business partners and increases the £ for £ match funding of existing or new CBFS projects in years two and three of their partnerships with business.

Finally, don’t forget to peruse the upcoming built environment events, in the events section of this bulletin or online. Moreover, a number of BEFS members are currently advertising job opportunities, which are not to be missed.


Working On and Near to Scheduled Monuments
Opened 25 Mar 2021 and closes 6 May 2021.

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

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 – achieving net zero emissions: consultation
Closes 30 April 2021.

Inquiry: Local government and the path to net zero
You can submit evidence until Friday 30 April 2021.

Local Place Plan Regulations consultation
Closes 25 June 2021.

Petition: To create a tax incentive to favour retrofit instead of demolition and new build
Closes 8 August 2021.


Planning circular 2/2015: non-domestic permitted development rights – consolidated circular – updated 2021 (SG 01/04/21)

Householder permitted development rights: guidance – updated 2021 (SG 01/03/21)

Building standards performance framework: April 2021 (SG 31/0321)

Building standards operating framework: April 2021 (SG 31/03/21)

Heritage Tourism in 2020: Historic Environment Scotland (HF 31/03/21)

Heritage Tourism in 2020: National Trust for Scotland (HF 31/03/21)

Building standards – guidance changes for April 2021: letter to local authority verifiers (SG 29/03/21)

Building standards – notification of application for building warrant: section 2.0 fire: letter to local authority verifiers (SG 29/03/21)

20 Minute Neighbourhoods: Implementing 20 Minute Neighbourhoods in Planning Policy and Practice (RTPI Scotland 24/03/21)

Heritage Counts 2020 – Know Your Home, Know Your Carbon: Reducing carbon emissions in traditional homes (HE 03/21)

News Releases

Historic Environment Scotland appoints new Director of Heritage (HES 31/03/21)

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has appointed Elly McCrone as its new Director of Heritage.

Live Announcement of the 2021 List of 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe (EN 30/03/21)
Join us for the Live Announcement of the 2021 List of 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe on 8 April 2021.

Pan-European platform for spatial planning knowledge exchange (ARL 28/03/21)
The ARL is a national think tank-type body funded by the German federal government and states to do independent spatial planning and development research. They are at the moment compiling profiles of planning systems across Europe and will, in a few months time, make these available on their new website.

New Sustainability My Place Award Announced (SCT 25/03/21)
Built environment projects that demonstrate excellence in continued and adaptive reuse will be celebrated by a new Sustainability Award for the My Place Awards 2021.

Heritage Trade Up programme – calling leaders of heritage organisations across the UK! (AHF 24/03/21)
Are you looking to strengthen the financial resilience and governance capabilities of your heritage organisation?

Over 50,000 households to get warmer, greener homes in £562 million boost (DBEIS 23/03/21)
A nationwide home upgrade will help households save up to £450 a year on their energy bills and support around 8,000 green jobs annually.

Kevin Stewart calls for action on renovation VAT to help green recovery (SCN 22/03/21)
Housing minister Kevin Stewart has written to the UK Government to urge a rethink on VAT rates for building refurbishments and renovations.

Call for proposals pre-announcement: building and delivering suitable living environments and communities for an ageing population (Dunhill Medical Trust 18/03/21)
Funding will be available to support academic and clinical researchers partnered with community organisations, to conduct innovative research projects into building and delivering suitable living environments and communities for an ageing population.


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

A sustainable future for our World Heritage cities
Dates: 13 & 14 April 2021.
Edinburgh World Heritage will host the fifth and final series of partnership AtlaS.WH project events, bringing together leading experts to explore the role of heritage in solving issues related to the climate emergency. Guests include the five project partners, experts from the Scottish heritage sector, Edinburgh city managers, and international partners. Over two days, the plans for each urban World Heritage Site will be presented, and we will discuss how the impact of climate change is assessed and addressed through case studies and the latest in sector research. We invite you to join us for any or all of these free, public CPD sessions, to ask questions and build your understanding on how heritage can be a solution to the climate emergency.

SURF’s Scottish Election Question Time
Date & time: 15th April 2021, 2pm-3.30pm
Online: Zoom
SURF’s 2021 Manifesto for Community Regeneration proposes actions the SURF network believe would improve place-based regeneration activities and outcomes across Scotland, including in the fields of land use, transport and climate change. This online event will take place on the afternoon of Thursday 15 April. Representatives from Scotland’s leading political parties will be invited to respond to SURF’s Manifesto, highlight their party’s key regeneration policies, and answer questions from the SURF audience.

Mark Turnbull Travel Award Presentations– Climate Change, Innovations 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.

April Lecture and Election – “The Knights Templar and Historical Revisionism in the Modern Era” by Dr Rory MacLellan
Date & time: 26th April 2021 @ 6:00pm to 7:30pm (GMT/UK).
Online: Zoom.
In this online talk, Dr Rory MacLellan will discuss how certain members of the far-right have appropriated the memory of the Knights Templar for their own ends. He will then 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. This event will also feature the first election of new Fellows to the Society outside of our Anniversary Meeting on St Andrew’s Day for a long time.

Communities for a Changing Population
Date & time: 29 April 2021 from 10am to 12.30pm.
This event is an ideal opportunity for architects, planners, placemaking professionals, local and national government officers, elected representatives at local and national level, infrastructure providers, engineers and all other relevant stakeholders to engage with other thought leaders and potential partners that can help forge solutions to the challenges and make the most of the opportunities presented by the current pandemic.

Archaeological Research in Progress Conference 2021 
Date & time: May 29th, 2021 GMT/UK (Times to be confirmed).
All day conference (details to be confirmed).
Archaeological Research in Progress is a national conference organised each year by Archaeology Scotland and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Topics, timings, and technology still to be confirmed.

June Lecture “The Public and Private Worlds of Sir Walter Scott”
Date & time: June 28th, 2021 @ 6:00pm to 7:15pm (GMT/UK).
Online: Zoom.
Focusing on the lesser-known aspects of Sir Walter Scott – his life, career, and interests, hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Chaired by Gerry Carruthers FSRE, this talk will be carried out by two speakers from the societies, Dr Iain G. Brown FSA FRSE FSAScot and Kirsty Archer-Thompson FSAScot, discussing: “Sir Walter Scott and the Scottish Antiquarian Tradition: Mr Oldbuck in Context” by Dr Iain G. Brown FSA FRSE FSAScot. “Chewing the Cud of Sweet and Bitter Fancy”: Navigating the Unquiet Mind and Life Philosophy of Walter Scott, by Kirsty Archer-Thompson FSAScot.


Scottish Lime Centre Trust Courses
We are so pleased to be back and able to run face-to-face training again from 26 April 2021, of course following strict COVID 19 guidance as we were doing before this latest lockdown. We are restricting numbers of learners to 6 per course only to maintain social distancing. Download a full programme here.


Advice Service Manager
PAS are currently recruiting for an Advice Service Manager to our advice service which deals with hundreds of enquiries from individuals and community groups every year.
Closing at 9am on Tuesday 13 April 2021.

Head of Training
The Ridge are looking for a special person to join our Training team, with potential to develop and expand the role and really make a difference.
Closing on 16th April 2021.

Open Research Tenders
This is an invitation from RTPI Scotland to tender to examine the operating environment to embed digital planning in Scotland.
The deadline for responses is 9am on 19th April 2021.

Traditional Buildings Inspector
Stirling City Heritage Trust is looking for a building professional or craftsperson for the role of Traditional Buildings Inspector with our team.
Closing Date: Thursday 22 April 2021 at noon.


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


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.

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections on 6th May 2021, BEFS has collated 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 for the built environment, including how to contact your local politicians, click through our Advocacy Toolkit. You may also wish to register for SURF’s Scottish Election Question Time on 15th April 2021 or the SCVO’s National Hustings on 8th April 2021.

The Scottish Government has published Scotland’s first long-term national housing strategy, Housing to 2040. The strategy outlines plans to deliver 100,000 affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70% available for social rent. Other priorities include: tackling high rents in the private sector through a Rented Sector Strategy and Housing Bill; decarbonising heat in homes; establishing a new fund to bring empty homes back into use; supporting development in rural and island areas; and undertaking an audit of current housing and homelessness legislation to understand how best to realise the right to adequate housing. Plans for a new Housing Standard to apply the same set of standards to homes of all tenures, whether owned or rented, will also be published.

BEFS is delighted to see that the Tenement Maintenance Working Group’s recommendations have been included in the Housing to 2040 strategy, and that the proposed universal housing standard aligns with the recommendations and a research paper BEFS commissioned from Douglas Robertson, ‘Why Flats Fall Down’.

The Just Transition Commission has published its report A National Mission for a fairer, greener Scotland. The Commission started work in early 2019, with a remit to provide practical and affordable recommendations. This report sets out their view of the key opportunities and challenges for Scotland and recommends practical steps to achieving a just transition.

The Scottish Government has pushed Scotland’s Third Land Use Strategy. It sets out the Government’s vision, objectives and policies to achieve sustainable land use. The strategy covers the next five years and aims to provide a more holistic understanding of land, the demands we place upon it and the benefits we get from it.

A new report published by Community Land Scotland states that 20% of all community owned assets are now urban, and not just rural. This change came about following the Community Right to Buy extended to cover urban areas in 2016 and is a remarkable achievement in that short time.  Almost £7m of funding was provided by the Scottish Land Fund to enable these buy-outs. The report can be found here.


Local Place Plan Regulations consultation
Opened 15 March 2021 and closes 25 June 2021.

Inquiry: Local government and the path to net zero
You can submit evidence until Friday 30 April 2021.

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
Closes 8 August 2021.

Climate Change – Net Zero Nation: draft public engagement strategy – consultation
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 – achieving net zero emissions: consultation
Closes 30 April 2021.

Consultation Responses

Housing to 2040: consultation analysis


Scotland’s Garden and Landscape Heritage Spring 2021 Newsletter (03/21)

Land use – getting the best from our land: strategy 2021 to 2026 (SG 24/03/21)

Town centre action plan – review report: interim joint response (SG 24/03/21)

Just Transition Commission: A National Mission for a fairer, greener Scotland (SG 23/03/21)

National islands plan: annual report – 2020 (SG 23/03/21)

Engaging communities in decisions relating to land – guidance: review (SG 23/03/21)

Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme (VDLIP): application form (SG 23/03/21)

Technical Paper 35: Moisture Measurement in the Historic Environment (HES 23/03/21)

Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes – Fourth Report of Session 2019–21 (HoC 22/03/21)

Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH): guidance for social landlords March 2021 (SG 22/03/21)

Chief Planner letter: stakeholder update – March 2021 (SG 22/03/21)

Local place plans: literature review and final report (SG 22/03/21)

European Cultural Heritage Green Paper (EN, ICOMOS & CHN 22/03/21)

European Cultural Heritage Green Paper – Executive Summary (EN, ICOMOS & CHN 22/03/21)

VAT reduction on refurbishment and renovation: letter from Housing Minister (SG 22/03/21)

Scottish Land Fund: evaluation (SG 22/03/21)

Architecture and Design Scotland Corporate Strategy 2021-31 (A&DS 18/03/21)

Democracy Matters – local governance review: phase 2 (SG 18/03/21)

Democracy Matters – local governance review: phase 2 – easy read (SG 18/03/21)

Energy strategy: position statement (SG 16/03/21)

Housing to 2040 (SG 15/03/21)

Housing to 2040: vision and principles (SG 15/03/21)

Values of Conservation Research Report (ICON 10/03/21)

Attitudes to land reform: research (SG 05/30/21)

Heritage and the Sustainable Development Goals: Policy Guidance for Heritage and Development Actors (ICOMOS 03/21)

Scottish Government News Releases

£25 million for tourism recovery (SG 24/03/21)

Holiday vouchers, discounts for days out and a marketing fund are included in a new £25 million tourism recovery programme.

Scotland’s Creative Digital Initiative (SG 23/03/21)
A new £1 million digital support programme for creative and cultural businesses has launched.

Local Place Plans – next steps (Planning & Architecture, SG 22/03/21)
LPPs can support community aspirations on the big challenges for a future Scotland, such as responding to the global climate emergency and tackling inequalities, and help shape local planning policies contained in the Local Development Plan.

Supporting rural tourism (SG 19/03/21)
More seasonal rangers, temporary toilets, car parking and campervan facilities will help rural areas to welcome back visitors when coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Tackling cladding issues (SG 19/03/21)
Homeowners whose flats have external cladding will be offered free safety assessments to determine which properties have material needing to be removed.

Supporting Gypsy and Traveller communities (SG 18/03/21)
This funding, part of Scotland’s first long-term national housing strategy, will enable local authorities to improve existing sites and expand provision over the next five years. This builds on £2 million allocated to site improvement in 2020-21.

Targeted support for cities and regions (SG 17/03/21)
Cities and regions can apply for additional funding to help them recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Helping communities through the pandemic (SG 17/03/21)
A combined total of £1 billion has been allocated to help local communities through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and to build resilience in public services in the past year.

Croft house grants awarded (SG 17/03/21)
Grants to improve or build new homes in some of Scotland’s most remote and marginal communities have been awarded to 10 crofters.

100,000 more affordable homes (SG 15/03/21)
Plans to deliver 100,000 affordable homes over the next decade are set out today in a 20-year housing strategy.

A new standard for housing (SG 14/03/21)
Plans for a new legal requirement for all homes to meet the same standards will be included in a major national housing strategy to be published this week.

News Releases

Scotland’s Climate Assembly Sets Out Goals for Tackling Climate Emergency (SCA 24/03/21)
The interim report of Scotland’s Climate Assembly will be laid in the Scottish Parliament this morning. It sets out 16 goals for tackling the climate emergency. These goals cover a broad range of issues including domestic heating, emissions, land use, taxation and the economy.

Funding boost for repairs to Scottish heritage structures (HES 23/03/21)
Projects include Scotland’s last surviving historic steam-powered slipway which provides a crucial link for the Maid of the Loch.

Scottish Parliament to host an international summit of parliamentarians on climate change (SP 23/03/21)
One of the largest gatherings of international parliamentarians to discuss the climate emergency will take place at the Scottish Parliament in November, it has been announced today.

Society Grants over £26,000 to Support Research into Scotland’s Past (SoAoS 23/03/21)
The Society Council Trustees have awarded £26,319 to fifteen projects examining a wide range of topics from manuscript research to excavations investigating Mesolithic activity in the highlands.

AHF publishes its updated Environmental Policy (AHF 22/03/21)
Following a joint statement of intent with other heritage funders in 2020, the AHF is today publishing its Environmental Policy to set out the organisation’s commitments to addressing climate change.

£4.5 million investment for Scotland’s historic towns and cities (HES 18/03/21)
Over £50 million has been invested since 2007 through the CARS scheme which encourages communities to preserve built heritage and stimulate economic regeneration.

HES welcomes growth deal for Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides (HES 17/03/21)
HES has welcomed investment in the future economic prosperity of Scotland’s Island communities as representatives of the UK and Scottish governments today (Wednesday 17 March) joined Leaders of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Orkney Islands Council, and Shetland Island Council to sign the Heads of Terms for the Islands Growth Deal.

Museums warn pandemic risks jeopardising collections and historic buildings (Herald 13/03/21)
MUSEUM bosses have warned the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic risks jeopardising collections, endangering historic buildings and “devastating staff”.

Opinion & Comment

Podcast: Objectivity and Neutrality in the Archive (John Pelan SCA 23/03/21)

Land reform is happening (SLC 22/03/21)

Tackling land market failures is essential to getting more homes built in Scotland (SLC 18/03/21)

Podcast: Reflecting Value: a new podcast (Centre for Cultural Value 17/03/21)

Scotland’s Land Market: Time to Reform (SLC 16/03/21)

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-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.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (11/03/2021)

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.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (12/03/2021)

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.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (12/03/2021)

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.
Answered by Kate Forbes (22/03/2021)

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.
Answered by Kate Forbes (22/03/2021)


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

Moving forward with shared transport and mobility hubs in Scotland
Date & time: Thursday 25 March 4pm to 5pm
Online: GoToWebinar, available on 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, see below. Presentations by: Marian Marsh Senior Development Officer (Scotland) CoMoUK (National charity for the public benefit of shared mobility). CoMoUK is playing a leading role in the UK’s transition to integrated mobility solutions designed for the public good. CoMoUK supports the development of shared modes of transport including car clubs and bike share. 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).

Herring, Linen and Scotland’s Built Heritage
Date & time: Mon, 29 March 2021, 18:00 – 19:15.
How can we recognise the legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Empire within Scotland’s Industrial heritage? Exploring Scotland’s role in Empire in the industries that were established within Scotland during the 18th Century. Papers from: Cathy Dagg, Archaeologist and Independent Researcher: Scotland’s North West Coast: Empire, Slavery and the Industrial Revolution; Dr Sally Tuckett, University of Glasgow: Scotland, Linen and Clothing Enslaved People; and Dr Peggy Brunache, Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies, University of Glasgow: Black Women and Caribbean Cultural Resistance During the Slavery Era.

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.

The Heritage Dilemma: Making and Breaking World Cities with Loyd Grossman
Date & time: 6pm, Thursday 15th April 2021.
Online: Zoom.
We are delighted that Loyd Grossman, internationally renowned heritage figure, will be delivering the World Heritage Day lecture for 2021. Loyd will discuss the heritage dilemma faced by Edinburgh, where the cost of conserving the heritage rich environment is rising, while revenue from tourism has dropped dramatically.

The Road to COP26 Glasgow: What difference can planners make?
Date & time: 15 April 4pm to 5pm.
Online: GoToWebinar, available on booking.
The global challenges which COP26 will grapple with translate into important challenges for planners. COP26 is billed as the last chance to take climate action. Related to this, spatial planning must support sustainable economic recovery while tackling inequality, accelerate progress towards net zero carbon, build resilience, and reverse habitat and biodiversity loss. As Glasgow prepares to host COP26, this event brings together two speakers: Kit England (Climate Ready Clyde Manager) is currently leading on the development of Glasgow City Region’s first Climate Adaptation Strategy (CAS). Gerard O’Brien (Architecture & Design Scotland Senior Design officer) has worked across Scotland on the ADS Designing for a Changing Climate: Creating Carbon Conscious Places programme.

Archaeology in Schools: An interdisciplinary approach. Prehistoric Rock Art CPD session
Date & time: Wednesday 21 April, 4.00pm – 5.30pm.
Online: Microsoft Teams.
An online CPD event suited to teachers, educators, YAC leaders, youth group leaders, community archaeologists and hertiage education professionals. This session aims to support participants in using archaeology as an inspiration for interdisciplinary learning projects for children and young people – both inside and outside the classroom. You’ll hear from professional archaeologists, school teachers and the Archaeology Scotland learning team, who’ll guide you through resources, case studies and practical activities you can use with second and third level pupils – all linked to prehistoric rock art.

Reinventing Inverness Castle
Date & time: 6th May 4pm to 5pm.
Online:  GoToWebinar, available on 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.

Scotland’s first community owned Passivhaus scheme, Closeburn
Date & time: 20th May 4pm to 5pm.
Online: GoToWebinar, available on booking.
Nith Valley Leaf Trust, a Community Development Trust, has delivered three passive certified houses with the support of South of Scotland Community Housing (SOSCH). The presentation will explain how the project was planned, delivered and outcomes achieved, ensuring that identified local needs and objectives were translated into affordable, energy efficient homes in community ownership. The project recently won the SURF award for Best Practice in Community Regeneration in the “Housing and Regeneration” category. Speakers are Mike Staples from South of Scotland Community Housing and Jackob Kaye from Nith Valley Leaf Trust.


The Need for Old Buildings to Breathe Re-Examined (David Wiggins)
Date & time: 12noon 27th April 2021. £25.
Online: zoom webinar.
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.

Architectural Conservation CPD: Design and Retrofit on the Gannochy Estate
Date & time: Wednesday 28 April, 12:30-13:30 (log-on with light refreshments from 12:15).
Venue: Online via 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. 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, this is the CPD programme for you. Sessions are recognised CPD by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and Scottish Traditional Building Forum (STBF).


Invitation to Tender: State of Glasgow’s Historic Environment Snapshot Study and Community Engagement Activities
Glasgow City Heritage Trust wishes to engage a suitable Scotland-based professional to update our Snapshot studies into the state of Glasgow’s historic built environment, assist with raising awareness of the city’s Buildings at Risk, and engage with communities about their perceptions of the city’s built heritage and the challenges and opportunities it presents.
Deadline to submit: 9am, 26th March 2021.

Research Officer
Historic Environment Scotland are seeking a Research Officer. The Research Officer post sits within the organisation’s Development & Partnership directorate, which has a remit that includes strategy and policy development, research, international working, community engagement, fundraising, and delivery of Our Place in Time – a strategy that sets out a 10 year vision for the historic environment of Scotland to 2024.
Closing Date: 31 March 2021 at midday.

World Heritage UK seeks new General Manager
Are you the person to take the UK’s World Heritage Sites forward? World Heritage UK is an organisation set up in 2015 to undertake networking, advocacy and promotion for the UK’s 32 outstanding World Heritage Sites. The post arises out of a recently completed resilience project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will provide an opportunity for someone who has a background in heritage and business development to manage the day-to-day operations and help shape the organisation for a secure future.
Closing date for applications is midday 8th April, 2021.