BEFS Director provides a brief overview of the Scottish Government draft Budget 2023-2024.

The Scottish Government published its draft Budget 2024-2025 on 19th December 2023 with details across all portfolios, including that of Historic Environment Scotland within Constitution, External Affairs and Culture.

Last year it was noted by the Scottish Government that we were living in, what were referred to by the Deputy First Minister as, “the most turbulent economic and financial context most people can remember”. The mood music has not changed tempo in the intervening year, and it is of note that SPICe’s initial overview is titled, In the bleak midwinter. Challenging times and difficult decisions (for Cabinet Secretaries and others) remain.

This overview highlights a few headline figures which may be of interest across the breadth of the existing built environment but we suggest that all those with a detailed interest explore the document in full before drawing any more definitive conclusions. Please also note that this is explicitly a one year budget – perhaps understandable in challenging times, but fails to support the many sectors suffering due to repeated one-year budgets.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES): the budget fails to draw any clear link between Net Zero and sector (present in the previous two iterations) which is surprising given the rest of the budget’s emphasis in this area.  An extract from the overview reads as follows:

“Our continued and increased investment in Scotland’s culture and heritage will improve the resilience and sustainability of our culture sector and, in tandem with our crossGovernment public service reform activity, will support our publicly funded culture bodies to deliver high-quality services, sustainably and equitably, that are fit for the future. We will continue to support the culture sector to deliver highly skilled jobs, successful businesses, and thriving communities. We will work with delivery partners to promote equity of access to our world-class collections and heritage assets and opportunities for cultural and creative participation.” (p.98)

The total operational cost forecast for HES in 2024-25 is £129.7 million, an increase of just over 13% on the previous year’s budget. The budget as stated, suggests an income generation of £63.5M. Based on the evidence below, and with continued uncertainty around cost-of-living impacts on visitor numbers, and rising costs – this may seem a touch optimistic.

The most recent HES Annual reports covering times impacted by covid are as follows: the Annual Report for 2021-2022 income is listed as £22.3M (almost £20M short of the expectations set within the Scottish Budget in 2022-23, as can be seen above), and still 67% down on 2019-2020. Published the same day as the 2024-2025 budget we have the Annual Report for 2022-2023 where commercial income is listed as £49.7M – almost matching the forecast above. We can only hope that the modelling for 2024-2025 proves as accurate.

Over previous years there was a significant increase in Government funding to HES (in 2022-2023 around 25% on 2021-2022 – from £55.9M to £70.1M), last year the increase was a more modest 3.8% overall, and this year sees a 2% increase. Positive in these difficult times, but significantly below inflation.

Level 4 data spreadsheets details HES Capital in the same way as previously (with an 11%  reduction from the prior year), “Investment towards restoring, enhancing and conserving our HES Properties in Care and associated visitor facing facilities across Scotland. Capital funding for corporate infrastructure.” With the uplift specifically to “support an increase in essential maintenance.”

The description of running costs is detailed as follows, “Staff and operating costs including conservation of estate to protect and promote Scotland’s historic environment. HES is the largest operator of paid visitor attractions in Scotland as well as the lead body for enabling and delivering Scotland’s Historic Environment Strategy, Our Place in Time and providing advice on the management of Scotland’s wider historic environment. Building, Archaeology and Voluntary Sector grants to third parties plus goods and services not included in administration and operating costs. ”

Ignoring the now erroneous reference to OPiT, this is a welcome direct reference to the grants provided to the sector via HES. The importance of these grants across the sector cannot be emphasised enough; with HES one of the few funders able to fund both organisations as well as building fabric. Sector stability, and the community impact of organisations and projects working with Scottish Government funding, through HES’ dispersal of these grants.

After last year’s cuts and the changes to Creative Scotland’s budget over the course of the year, it is positive to see that the Culture Budget is receiving a modest uplift overall.

The Planning Budget’s increase seems exceptionally positive in the face of the continued and sustained activity in this area. However with Planning reforms and new consultation suggested in early 2024, it remains to be seen if this budget fits the ever increasing pressures put on the profession. More about current resourcing can be read in RTPI Scotland’s research briefing, Resourcing the Planning Service Key trends and findings 2023 (released December 2023).

The significant decrease in Cities & Investment Strategy is not good news for place. Stasis is also seen in the budget for City Region and Growth Deals in Local Authority budgets. The Regeneration Budget also reduces slightly.

An area only recently examined within BEFS brief budget analysis statements has been the position of the Scottish Funding Council and the Skills & Training budgets. Both budget lines don’t necessarily paint a positive picture. Scottish Funding Council receives a 5.3% decrease with Skills Development Scotland facing a 2% cut. At a time of skills emergency across the sector, and with ever stretched collages and courses – as well as significant need to meet future net zero demands, this seems short-sighted at best.

Within the Local Government Funding outwith Core Settlement (p52) we can see that the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) remained static as does the Vacant & Derelict Land programme. When considering net-zero specifically, the Climate Action & Just Transition funding sees a significant decrease almost halving since last year.

Significant news within the built environment has been the slashing of the More Homes budget by 33% – initial thinking could see this as of note to our existing built environment, but as the stasis to other areas is seen above (and below); and with councils declaring housing emergencies this reduction in funding for homes may just put pressure on all aspects of our housing system.

A small chink of light within a budget devoid of much good news is the increase to Building Standards (95% increase) which will fund: “a programme of research and professional advice to ensure the Building Standards system in Scotland delivers its regulatory requirements and supports the creation and renewal of safe and sustainable buildings that stand the test of time.”

That is what so many across the sector work for, “the creation and renewal of safe and sustainable buildings that stand the test of time”. I feel perhaps, that one small budget line is not enough to achieve that necessary aim.

Please note that due to budgetary changes throughout the previous years, and changes in naming of funds and portfolios (all issues which fail to give clarity, and highlighted by SPICe) it may not be of greatest benefit to read each year-to-year budget as an accurate reflection of what occurred during the year.

2020-2021 Budget 2021-2022 Budget 2022-2023 Budget 2023-2024 Budget 2024-2025 Budget
£m £m £m £m £m
Architecture and Place 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5
Building Standards 2 16.7 11.8 31.3 2.4
Housing and Building Standards 533.2
Planning 8.3 11.5 13.7 12.3 65.6
Planning and Environmental Appeals 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.6
More Homes 896.1 748.1 744.3 567.5 375.8
Registers of Scotland 12.4 11.2 8.5 10.4 10
Fuel Poverty/Energy Efficiency 135.2 187.7 194.3 231.1
Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation 358.2
Fuel Poverty & Housing Quality 1.7
Cities & Investment Strategy 205.6 209.8 233.2 263.2 211.1
Regeneration 47.4 111.6 96.4 59.2 58.5
Vacant and Derelict Land Grant 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 5
Creative Scotland and Other Arts 67.3 63.2 69.3 64.2 75.6
Cultural Collections 79.2 75.7 90 87.9 91.9
Major Events and Themed Years 6.6 8.2 18.2 24.2
Culture and Major Events Staffing 4.4 4.7 5.1 5 3.6
National Performing Companies 22.9 22.9 22.9 22.9 23.6
National Parks 13.9 17.5 18.5 20.9 21.8
Natural Resources, Peatland (and Flooding not 2023 or 2024) 29.7 44.1 56.4 60.7 31.4
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency 37.1 43.5 41.4 49 52.6
NatureScot 49.1 50.2 49.6 61.1 65.6
Zero Waste 16.5 40.2 43.4 47.4 48.9
Land Reform 15 14.9 12.3 13.9 11.6
Tourism 50.6 65.1 51.2 49.4 47
Climate Acton & Just Transition/  2024 Climate Action and Policy 28.7 29.8 49.1 79.5 29
Just Transition 12.2
Scottish Land Commission 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.5 1.6
City Region and Growth Deals 3.8 11.2 7.2 12.7 12.4
Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
…………………………………………………………………………….Capital
Capital Land and Works 22 22 18.9 15
City Region and Growth Deals – in Local Government Funding 2024 201 198.1 226 191.3 190
Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) 55 58 64 64 64
Regeneration Capital Grant Fund 25 25 25 25 25
Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme 5 5 10 10
Place Based Investment Programme (was Place, Town Centres and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods) 23 33 23 23
BACK

The Heritage Trust Network is recruiting for the post of Heritage Trainee (Scotland).

This exciting opportunity continues the Network’s focus on welcoming new people to the sector, already evident through the Network’s Youth Forum and involvement with the Make Your Mark campaign. The post has been designed to help the successful applicant develop on-the-job skills, knowledge, and networks to help them gain early-career access to the heritage sector. The role is funded by Historic Environment Scotland and National Trust for Scotland.

More information and application details here.

Salary:  Pro rata of £23,400 p.a. (Real Living Wage)

Status: Full-time (37.5 hours p/w); 12 months fixed term

Location: Working from home or from an agreed shared workspace anywhere in Scotland.

Closing date: 10pm on Monday 6 May 2024

 

BACK

In this BEFS blog, BEFS Director gives a personal reflection on visiting The Ridge in Dunbar.

Last week BEFS team (or at least some of us) were lucky enough to visit The Ridge in Dunbar. Here, I’m going to give a personal reflection on this long-planned trip.

BEFS have worked with The Ridge Foundations CIC since they became Members in 2020 (you can see our intro to them, here). A lot of our work together has, understandably, been around skills: skills shortages, skills training, and skills policy. Within a policy world many things we deal with can seem quite theoretical. What makes the work meaningful is knowing it has real-world applications (and implications). Visiting The Ridge is seeing so much of what the sector now champions made manifest.

As you wander round – and the word ‘wander’ belies the immense skill at being taken through the journey of an organisation – seeing repurposed commercial premises with temporary uses to support those more vulnerable in the community; gardens (both commercial flowers and quiet reflection); a SPAB award winning completed project; and areas in many and various stages of exciting development, “the windows arrive today!”.  Along this wander you’re bombarded by the layers of place, and materials, and the stories of the people; from tales of past residents sitting by their stove – to beams, reused from boats scuttled in the harbour, to seeing a first apprentice now training a team of his own.

What is done here, is to fulfil a need. People who might not have thrived in traditional educational settings, or had other challenges thrown their way,  need training, support and entry level roles. So that’s what the Ridge Foundations has developed and supports, enabling those local people to work towards increasingly skilled roles on properties within the Conservation Area. It happens that the surrounding heritage sites are ripe to be made purposeful again, to provide the rooted sense of place for the whole community – but the people are the fulcrum. Training and developing traditional skills, to fix traditional places – where people learn, and grow, and gain qualifications seems symbiotic. That apparent symbiosis comes from years of balancing hard won funding, and demonstrating continued project successes.

The connection between the skills, and the place, and the people is tangible at The Ridge, it’s a hub of activity (of all sorts). And, at every stage, it seems every completed project is to be learnt from; training frameworks are made more meaningful for those progressing through them because there’s an understanding that, “it’s not that satisfying to make something useless then take it apart just to demonstrate a skill”.  The pride that comes in making also means that ‘commercial’ is not a dirty word – locals (and those further afield) need their homes fixed, income streams need to be diversified  and generated. Sustainable is not just about re-use – it’s about ensuring a future for The Ridge, ensuring it can continue to meet the needs of those it inspires, as well as enabling further projects to provide space within the community to meet their needs, both social and economic. This sustainability is also what BEFS advocate for across the built environment policy spectrum. When it comes to the existing built environment a fabric-first approach (ensuring a building is wind/water tight and in a good state of repair) should be the first step of all retro-fitting, regardless of what appropriate interventions/technologies are then used to reduce energy consumption and move to zero emissions.

The Ridge sits in Dunbar an area now well connected to Edinburgh by train but a long bus journey from many training centres. Regional delivery for traditional skills is a topic much discussed at policy level, and The Ridge is showing what can be done in practise.

There was a time, not so very long ago, when heritage was spoken of in a silo – with the buildings the pinnacle of what mattered.  The Ridge demonstrates why community matters to heritage and vice versa; why skills and people, and how we learn to care for these places again, is integral to the future. And not because they want to tick boxes, but to meet local need, and deliver meaningful place-based change. Their strap line is, “inspiring transformational change” – I was only there for a few hours, but I’ve no doubt they chose the right words.

BEFS Team thanks all those at the The Ridge for all their work, and for letting us be inspired.  Particular thanks to Kevin McClure, who took the time to tell us so much about the place, the people, and all their skills.

BACK

BEFS awarded Heritage Lottery funding for “Fit for the Future” project.

BEFS NEWS

BEFS is delighted to announce BEFS – Fit for the Future, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to Spring 2025. This award of £96,880 will enable BEFS to best meet sector need now and for the future, allowing the organisation to enhance their climate support, and EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) offer to the sector; as well as provide internal training and capacity to examine and develop their own robust business model.

This award comes at a critical time for the sector: with economic and climate crises providing challenges to all, and within an environment of complex policy making – and increasingly difficult decision taking. BEFS holds space for those conversations, facilitates solution finding, and provides additional sector capacity with support for collaborative policy making and advocacy.

BEFS Trustees stated:
In our 20th year, we’re grateful to the Lottery for understanding the value of this project to the sector. BEFS are excited to be able to build on our 20 years of expertise supporting the sector’s strategic aims, pleased to bring new capacity to the organisation, and look forward to enhancing our resilience for the future.

Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
One of four key investment principles in our Heritage 2033, 10-year strategy is to support organisations to develop the skills and capacity to ensure a long-term future and encourage new heritage investment that benefits communities and economies. With Fit for the Future BEFS aims to do that.
             
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to support BEFS to develop, adapt and transform their services to best meet the needs of the built environment sector today and prepare for the challenges of the future.

BEFS core funding is currently from the Organisational Support Fund, from Historic Environment Scotland.
Susan O’Connor Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland said:
We are delighted to see BEFS embrace the opportunity to redefine itself in the post-Covid landscape. For 20 years, the organisation has played a strong leadership role in representing heritage sector organisations, making sure their voices and concerns are heard by key decision makers. We are keen to hear what comes out of this review process and we look forward to supporting wherever we can.

About our Funders

About the Heritage Fund: Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the?future. www.HeritageFund.org.uk.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund
Follow our Scottish accounts @HeritageFundSCO on Twitter and Facebook
Each week, National Lottery players raise £30 million for good causes across the UK.

About Historic Environment Scotland: HES is the lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment. HES are Scotland’s largest visitor attraction operator, and are also responsible for an internationally significant archive of drawings, photographs, manuscripts and aerial photographs, including hundreds of thousands of digitised objects.
HES have a statutory role in the planning system, and also provide advice on a range of plans, policies and strategies affecting the historic environment and their environmental assessments. HES work nationally and internationally to advance education, skills, and research in heritage. Through the HES grants programme, they invest c.£14million a year. HES also have a lead role in enabling delivery of Our Past, Our Future – the new Strategy for Scotland’s Historic Environment.
HES: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/
Our Past Our Future: http://www.ourpastourfuture.scot

Vacancies

BEFS will be growing the team, not only to help support the sector, but to enable capacity to develop BEFS organisational plan for the future.
Please see the link for both roles – and feel free to share the link with your networks.

BEFS Senior Communications Lead
Salary:  £32,000 – £35,000 depending on skills and experience.
Status: FT role until March 2025.  Permanent (subject to funding – Organisation funding in place to April 2025)
Location: The job is home-working based – the team all work remotely, and are based in/around Edinburgh with regular face-to-face meetings expected. Very occasional event support may be required across Scotland, or in the evening.

BEFS Senior Communications role will lead on the communication activities of the organisation.
Working closely with the Board, Director, and team – as well as communicating with our Member organisations – the post holder will be responsible for managing the breadth of the organisation’s (digital) communications channels. Adopting a proactive cross-sectoral approach, the post holder will play a key role in maintaining and raising BEFS profile with policy makers, the sector, and wider stakeholders.
As we are in our 20th year, BEFS are seeking the right individual – with an excellent turn of phrase, and an eye for detail – to fit into a small, friendly team.
The Senior Communications Lead will be involved in all aspects of BEFS newly funded NLHF project which develops BEFS governance, BEFS strategic framework development, and BEFS EDI offer for the sector (and internal training).
Please see the Job Description for detailed information on the role and skills required.

To apply: Please complete the Application Form (no CVs please) and send your application attached to an email BEFS [The subject of the email should read: Confidential – Job Application – LEAD]

Closing date: 5pm on Wednesday 9 August 2023
Interview date:  Monday 21 August 2023. Interviews will be held, in person, in central Edinburgh.

BEFS Communications & Policy Officer
Salary:  £20,000 -24,000 (FTE) depending on skills and experience; For example, 30h = Salary £16,000 – £19,200
Hours: 24-30h These hours can be worked flexibly, as long as there is consistency, and the majority of hours are worked between 8am-6pm. The post holder can work some hours each day, or several days together, or a combination that fits with their other commitments.
Status: Contract until 31 March 2025.
Location: The job is home-working based – the team all work remotely, and are based in/around Edinburgh with regular face-to-face meetings expected. Very occasional event support may be required across Scotland, or in the evening.

BEFS are looking for a proactive person who will work well remotely, but closely with the team. A person who wants to develop effective communications for not only BEFS as an organisation, but also advocacy messaging for the wider sector; and is keen to provide wider project and policy activity support flexibly. Flexibility, accuracy, and ability to work enthusiastically and proactively is key.

This will be a learning and development role within BEFS where the successful applicant will have a degree of autonomy in supporting the Communications activity and Policy activity; but will also be welcome at a wide range of Built Environment Policy discussions and meetings to develop their own learning.

Training and support to develop your communications and policy understanding is part of the role, and individual development areas will be discussed and developed over the term of the role.
Please see the Job Description for detailed information on the role and skills required.

To apply: Please complete the Application Form (no CVs please) and send your application attached to an email to BEFS  [The subject of the email should read: Confidential – Job Application – OFFICER]

Closing date: 5pm on Wednesday 9 August 2023
Interview date:  Tuesday 22 August 2023. Interviews will be held, in person, in central Edinburgh.

BACK

In this BEFS blog, Anny Bush, Communications and Engagement Officer for Under One Roof shares more about their charitable work with tenement owners at their recent events.

Under One Roof is Scotland’s only charity committed to providing free and impartial information on repairs, maintenance, and retrofit for tenement flat owner-occupiers, landlords, and housing professionals in Scotland.

Recently, the Under One Roof team have been on the road delivering free events for tenement owners in collaboration with local authorities across Scotland.

“Thanks for a really useful event, I definitely learned things from it, it was well-run and engaging.”

In Scotland, there are around 895,000 properties legally defined as tenements. A tenement is any building or property that has been divided horizontally. Around a third of tenement flats were built prior to 1919, another third between 1919-1982, and the final third after 1982. Many tenement flats are in a state of critical disrepair, particularly those built before 1919.

Our work exists to change this and transform the repair culture from one that is reactive to proactive. We strive to make maintaining and managing tenement flats easier for owners by providing them with the knowledge and information needed to care for their building and work with their co-owners effectively.

The Under One Roof website hosts a wealth of information, with over 200 articles that cover a wide range of topics related to tenement maintenance and management, such as how to organise common repairs and share repair costs with your co-owners. Additionally, there are technical articles which include useful diagrams and information on tenement architectural features and how best to care for them.

Our website also has an enquiry service which enables owner-occupiers, landlords, housing professionals, or local authority staff to receive tailored answers to specific queries. Alongside the website and enquiry service, we provide free, informative online or in-person events for tenement owners, as well as bespoke training packages for local authority staff and factoring companies.

Our recent in-person events with various local authorities aim to inform tenement owners of their responsibilities and the key things to look out for when owning a flat. Presentations cover a variety of topics, such as organising common repairs, the importance of title deeds and building insurance, retrofit, and the challenges of making tenements energy efficient. Additionally, we discuss the steps being taken to address these challenges and upcoming legislative changes affecting tenement owners. After the presentations, there is the opportunity for attendees to receive specific information to their tenement-related questions during a Q&A and breakout session.

“Very useful, well-presented and balanced presentations. Highly recommended.”

So far, we have held events in six local authorities: East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, West Lothian, Perth & Kinross, North Lanarkshire, and North Ayrshire. There have been as many as 60 owner-occupiers, landlords, and housing professionals in attendance at these events, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with attendees noting that the presentations are engaging and informative.

The events have varied in structure with some involving presentations from Under One Roof’s tenement experts only, whilst others have included other presenters. For example, the event in Edinburgh involved speakers from the City of Edinburgh Council Shared Repairs team, the Novoville app, Trusted Traders, Home Energy Scotland, and the Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy team. These speakers provided additional information to tenement owners on how to go about maintaining and managing their property and energy efficiency and retrofit.

“Jacqueline was an excellent presenter, and the information was very useful presented in an accessible, informative manner. A thoroughly professional event in a great central location.”

We have several events with local authorities lined up in the coming months , including Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, as well as additional training events for local authority staff scheduled. Check out our Eventbrite page for upcoming events and subscribe to our newsletter via our website to receive updates of events and other tenement-related news and information.

Our events can be tailored to the needs of each local authority, depending on the issues they face. If you would like to work with us to organise an online or in-person session focused on tenement management, maintenance and/or retrofit, free of charge, get into touch with Under One Roof’s Education and Training Officer at jacqueline@underoneroof.scot.

BACK

In this long read guest blog, Dr Rebecca Jones, Visiting Professor at Heriot-Watt University writes about the application of the CVI process to Scotland’s World Heritage properties and explains the challenges unique to Scotland in the case of Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, the Antonine Wall and St Kilda. She highlights the key points of the stakeholder engagement and gives a brief summary on the results and on what comes next for New Lanark and the Forth Bridge.

What is the CVI?

The Climate Vulnerability Index, or CVI for short, was developed to rapidly assess the risks of climate change to World Heritage globally. Using approaches from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it differs from other risk assessments in that it also assesses the Community Vulnerability of the World Heritage property alongside vulnerability of the site’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV – the reason for the property’s inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage list).

Designed to be rapid, systematic and repeatable for all types of cultural and natural heritage, it is also flexible to meet the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders. The key mantra behind the CVI is that it is values based, science-driven and community-focused, enabling wide applicability.

Why use it in Scotland?

Early in 2019, thanks to the work of Professor Jane Downes (University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI) Archaeology Institute) who was a member of the International Council on Monument and Sites (ICOMOS) Climate Change and Heritage Working Group ] , the suggestion was made that the Heart of Neolithic Orkney (HONO) World Heritage property be used as a trial for a new Climate Vulnerability assessment.
The CVI had first been trialled at the natural World Heritage property of Shark Bay in Western Australia and ICOMOS were looking for a cultural World Heritage pilot. Orkney fitted the bill very well in terms of being cultural but also known to be vulnerable to the effects of climate change and being in a completely different part of the world to Shark Bay. The developers of the CVI – Dr Scott Heron and Dr Jon Day from James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville, Queensland – together with Adam Markham from the Union of Concerned Scientists, approached Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and other partners with a view to trialling it in Scotland. This was agreed and a Steering Group was set up, regularly meeting on Zoom (before it became a global necessity).

The workshop for HONO took place in April 2019 as a partnership between HES, UHI, Orkney Islands Council, ICOMOS, the Union of Concerned Scientists and James Cook University. Over three days, we had an excellent mix of over 30 stakeholders with a wide range of expertise including archaeology, planning, science, climate, site management, renewable energy and tourism, with over half based on Orkney itself but also with international representation from Ireland, Norway, Australia and the US.

The workshop also included a half-day visit to the four sites which make up the HONO World Heritage property, which proved a useful opportunity for the delegates to discuss key challenges on site, as well as providing filming opportunities for Scottish news coverage.

Dr Scott Heron of James Cook University being interviewed by Scottish TV at the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney (© Rebecca Jones)

The methodology of the CVI is to get the participants to select the three key climate drivers that present the greatest threat to the site, consider a timescale (2050 was chosen) and consider the key values of the property as defined in its statement of OUV. For HONO, the workshop participants determined that the OUV vulnerability of the property was in the highest category (High) but the community vulnerability was in the middle category (Moderate), acknowledging the high level of adaptive capacity within the community. Compounding factors such as volume tourism add extra cumulative impact to the pressures of climate change.

Cover of CVI report for the Heart of Neolithic Orkney (© Historic Environment Scotland)

One key output of the workshop was the production of a report which was then presented by ICOMOS to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan, in July 2019. But additional outputs included the increased awareness of the threats of the climate emergency and a discussion about actions as a result.

The pilot on Orkney was deemed to be a success, and the CVI has gone on to being applied to several other properties including the Wadden Sea World Heritage property (Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands), two properties in Africa (Sukur Cultural Landscape in Nigeria and the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and the Ruins of Songo Mnara, Tanzania), the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles and a first nations property in Australia. (see more: https://cvi-heritage.org/resources)

Diversity of Scotland’s World Heritage

Having applied the CVI to Orkney, we recognised that it would be valuable to also apply it to the range of properties inscribed in Scotland. In order to take this idea further, our partnership between HES and James Cook University applied to the Royal Society of Edinburgh for a Research Network Grant which was successfully awarded for 2021-23. Scotland currently has six diverse World Heritage properties (with a seventh in application – the Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland). These are as follows:

  • The Heart of Neolithic Orkney
  • The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
  • The Frontiers of the Roman Empire: the Antonine Wall
  • St Kilda
  • New Lanark
  • The Forth Bridge

Between them, the sites represent a diverse range of criteria for inscription, different locations, populations, owners, managers and stakeholders. The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, an urban capital city; the Antonine Wall, a Roman earthwork (with elements in stone) running through central Scotland, is part of a transboundary World Heritage property; the remote islands of St Kilda are the UK’s only mixed property, inscribed both for cultural and natural criteria; New Lanark is a model industrial village in Clydesdale; and the Forth Bridge is inscribed as a masterpiece of engineering.
As a result of the research network grant, we decided to prioritise Edinburgh, the Antonine Wall and St Kilda for the next phase of CVI assessments as each would represent a new challenge for the methodology.

Edinburgh

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (ONTE) was selected first as the timing worked well with the development of the next Management Plan for the site as well as a Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) project being undertaken by Edinburgh World Heritage. It would also represent the first application of the CVI to an urban World Heritage property. Due to continued Covid restrictions, the workshop was planned online over five mornings (evenings in Queensland) in May-June 2021. Over 40 people gave up their time to contribute to the workshop representing a wide range of expertise including local community council members, tourism, business, climate, built heritage (including BEFS), planning, archaeology, academia and representatives from the three key partner organisations managing the World Heritage property (the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh World Heritage and HES), who formed a steering group for the project. (Also see previous BEFS Blog Climate Vulnerability Index – implementation in an urban setting.)

The participants determined that the vulnerability of ONTE to the impacts of climate change was in the middle category (Moderate) and that of the local community also in the category of Moderate, recognising the level of adaptive capacity of the community. The results have fed into the new Management Plan and led to additional research on the flood mapping of the property. The final report of the ONTE CVI has just been published.

Cover of CVI report for the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (© Historic Environment Scotland)

The Frontiers of the Roman Empire: the Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall represents the only transboundary property in Scotland with two partners: Hadrian’s Wall in England and the Upper German-Raetian Limes in Germany. It runs for some 40 miles through five local authority areas in central Scotland and comprises an earthwork rampart on a stone base, a deep wide ditch to the north and numerous forts, fortlets and other structures attached to its rear.
Whilst the CVI had been previously applied to a transboundary property (the Wadden Sea in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands), that site was a broadly contiguous natural property and the Antonine Wall represented the first application of the CVI to a component part of a transboundary World Heritage property. The challenges of this were readily apparent in the pre-workshop tasks of agreeing the key values from a Statement of OUV which covered three different properties.
As with ONTE, the workshop was held online in the mornings (in February 2022) but spread over six mornings this time, recognising the complexity of undertaking the assessments of community vulnerability only over two mornings and learning lessons from ONTE – so this was extended to three.

The participants determined that the vulnerability of the Antonine Wall to the impacts of climate change was in the highest category (High) and that of the local community in the middle category (Moderate). The results will feed into the forthcoming Management Plan and the final report of the workshop has just been published.

Cover of CVI report for the Antonine Wall (© Historic Environment Scotland)

The challenges of St Kilda

The fourth property in Scotland to benefit from the CVI process was the archipelago of St Kilda, the UK’s only dual World Heritage property, inscribed for both cultural and natural significance and managed by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). This was yet another first for the CVI process: the first time it had been applied to a mixed / dual property. Key values for St Kilda identified were its scenery and landscape, seabird population, its genetic interest and rarity, the marine environment and its relic cultural landscape. Its remoteness, lying over 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, presents numerous management challenges and the NTS coordinate and manage a series of relationships to ensure the appropriate conservation and management of the islands.

The lifting of Covid restrictions meant that Dr Scott Heron and Dr Jon Day were able to travel over from Queensland on this occasion and the weather was good enough in September 2022 for us to take a day boat out to the islands– being able to see a property in person provides valuable insights which were brought to the workshop.

Visit to St Kilda in September 2022, from left: Jon Day, Alice Lyall, Rebecca Jones, Scott Heron and Clare Henderson (the NTS St Kilda Archaeologist) (© Rebecca Jones)

We were also fortunate to be able to host the workshop in the newly opened Cnoc Soilleir on South Uist with a hybrid format, enabling some participants to attend in person and most others online (including the NTS’s three St Kilda Rangers who logged in from St Kilda). The excellent facilities in Cnoc Soilleir meant that this ran smoothly over three full days.

The participants determined that the vulnerability of St Kilda to the impacts of climate change was in the middle category (Moderate) and that of the local community was in the lowest (Low). The new Management Plan for St Kilda had been completed prior to the workshop, but the results will feed into ongoing management and research.

A view of Village Bay on Hirta, St Kilda (© Rebecca Jones)

Stakeholder engagement

The format of the workshop, particularly now we have moved to online / hybrid options, enables a wide range of participants, but we recognise that it is a time commitment and are extremely grateful to all our workshop contributors. In addition, we have been keen to inform the wider local community of the discussions and results. Following the final day of the St Kilda workshop, we held an open evening of presentations, chaired by Dr Rebecca Rennell of UHI Outer Hebrides, where Dr Rebecca Jones (formerly HES), Susan Bain (NTS) and Dr Scott Heron (JCU) discussed the results. Despite its late advertisement, we were impressed that over 20 members of the local community turned out including two local councillors.

Audience for the open evening of presentations at Cnoc Soilleir on South Uist (© Rebecca Jones)

For ONTE, Nick Hotham of Edinburgh World Heritage (EWH) hosted an online conversation in late June 2021 to discuss the results of the workshop, together with Dr Scott Heron (JCU), Dr Rebecca Jones, David Harkin (HES), Yann Grandgirard (EWH) and Jenny Bruce (ONTE coordinator). The recording is available to view online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVdgJ_HPQaY&t.

The results

Whilst all four workshops have demonstrated the vulnerability of Scotland’s World Heritage properties to the impacts of climate change, a major bonus of the process has been the way it has acted as a catalyst for wider discussions about climate change and sustainable adaptation. For the in person workshops, there was a noticeable buzz in the room and climate change formed the main discussion item in the breaks as well as in the sessions. They brought together a range of stakeholders who together have identified areas for future collaboration and research, some of which have already been put into practice. All four workshops invited current students and recent graduates to participate and be note-takers for the plenary and small group sessions. We are grateful to all for the work that they put in and hope that they found it a useful experience which they will develop in their future careers.

It is unsurprising in Scotland that all four workshops identified the issues of rainfall (precipitation) as a key stressor, combined with other storm, temperature and sea (levels and currents) stressors. (For more see the Scotland’s World Heritage and Climate Change overview.)

Key climate stressors selected for each of the four properties and the assessment of the OUV and Community vulnerability on a traffic-light scale (low/Moderate/High) (© Historic Environment Scotland)

An additional bonus of the research network funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh was that the opportunity was taken in March 2022, whilst Dr Scott Heron and Dr Jon Day were en route to Norway, to visit the Flow Country and conduct a snapshot CVI for the World Heritage nomination of that property (which was submitted by the UK government to UNESCO in January 2023).

Snapshot CVI workshop for the Flow Country in March 2022, from left: Scott Heron, Steven Andrews, Cara Donald and Jon Day (© Rebecca Jones)

What next?

The workshops themselves were really the start of a process which will inform the future management of these properties as well as help identify research priorities. It is through recognising the likely threats and impacts of climate change that we can consider what our adaptation methods need to be now and in the future.
In turn, the workshops in Scotland have helped our Australian partners to continue to develop and refine the methodology. Two World Heritage properties in Scotland – New Lanark and the Forth Bridge – are yet to have the CVI process applied but that is certainly something that we should plan for in the near future.

Acknowledgements

This project has been very much a team effort which has been enabled thanks to support from the Union of Concerned Scientists and ICOMOS and the grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and expertly led by Dr Scott Heron and Dr Jon Day from James Cook University. Steering Groups were set up for each project, and we would particularly like to acknowledge those members and report authors: Dr Steven Andrews, Susan Bain, Jenny Bruce, Dr Mairi Davies, Prof Jane Downes, Julie Gibson, Yann Grandgirard, David Harkin, Molly Harkins, Dr Ewan Hyslop, Alice Lyall, Riona McMorrow, Adam Markham and Kirstie Wright.

In addition to the above:

  • Our breakout group leaders: Dr Lisa Brown, Dr Emily Gal, Dr Kevin Grant, Dr Rebecca Rennell, Stefan Sagrott and Dr Lyn Wilson
  • Additional presenters at the workshops and pre-workshops: Dr Hazel Blake, Dr Brenda Ekwurzel, Dr Joe Hagg, Andrew Potts, Dr Alistair Rennie, Dr Tanja Romankiewicz and Dr Ben Russell
  • Our note takers: Amy Baker, Aura Bockute, Naomi Bouche, Alanis Carag Buhat, Max Carnie, Euan Cohen, Elizabeth Gallagher, Alex Hiscock, Roland Láposi, Mairi MacLean, Francesca Morri, Rachel Nicholson, Shane O’Neill, Diya Pavithran, Marion Ratier, Farrah Skimani, Craig Stanford and Chujun Yan
  • Our colleagues who supported the workshops and reports: Chloe Ames, Alistair Burns, Rory Cameron, Max Carnie, Fin Cunningham, Mike Elliot, Nick Hotham, Scott Johnson, Riccardo Losciale, Laura Mackenzie, Mairi Mackenzie, Sarah Malikov, Michelle Moore, Claire Mullaney, Sean Page, Frank Thomas, Taruna Venkatachalam and Patricia Weeks

And all our participants who gave up their valuable time and expertise.

References

The reports are available through the links but if you need a quick bib ref guide it is here:

Bruce, J, Grandgirard, Y, Day, JC, Harkin, D, Jones, RH, Davies, M, Hyslop, E and Heron, SF (2023) Climate Vulnerability Index Assessment for the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage property. Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh and Climate Vulnerability Index, Townsville www.historicenvironment.scot/onte-cvi

Day, J C, Heron, S F, Markham, A, Downes, J, Gibson, J, Hyslop, E, Jones, R H, Lyall, A (2019) Climate Risk Assessment for Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage property: An application of the Climate Vulnerability Index. Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh www.historicenvironment.scot/hono-cvi

Jones RH, Day JC, McMorrow R, Harkin D, Harkins M, Davies M, Hyslop E and Heron SF (2023) Scotland’s World Heritage and Climate Change. Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh www.historicenvironment.scot/cvi-overview

Jones RH, Day JC, McMorrow R, Harkin D, Harkins M, Davies M, Hyslop E and Heron SF (2023) Climate Vulnerability Index Assessment for the Antonine Wall component of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage property. Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh and Climate Vulnerability Index, Townsville www.historicenvironment.scot/aw-cvi

BACK

BEFS Director provides a short overview of the new statement from the First Minister published on 18 April 2023.

The First Minister set out his priorities in a new policy document (18/04/2023) – outlining what the Scottish government aims to achieve by 2026. This set of aims is built around the values of equality, opportunity and community; and is broken down by portfolio. (See BEFS Blog on the new Scottish Government roles for further detail on the portfolio roles. Here BEFS Director has given a very short overview of activity which might be of interest to BEFS Members, Associates and Bulletin readers.)

The next two years look set to be busy, with the emphasis relevant to BEFS Members general areas of interest falling across a range of portfolios.

Within Finance we see that there is the intent to deliver, “subject to the agreement of parliament, legislation giving councils the discretionary power to apply a Local Visitor Levy on overnight stays in commercially let accommodation…” (p8).

Wellbeing, Fair Work and Economy seen as a key priority is outlined as, “building economic resilience, supporting sectors such as hospitality and tourism that have been adversely impacted by COVID but make significant economic contributions across communities throughout Scotland.” (p10).

The Social Justice portfolio sets out the intent for a “Remote, Rural and Island Housing Action Plan” (p15); as well as better news for the third sector with the promise to progress “Fairer Funding arrangements, including exploring options to implement multi-year funding deals, enabling the third sector to secure the resilience and capacity it needs…” (p16).

The Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition asserts that they “will ensure that we have accessible, available, and affordable public transport, that our buildings become energy efficient, and we transition away from fossil fuel heating.” (p21). They will also continue to support “the transition of over 1 million homes and circa 50,000 non-domestic buildings to adopt zero direct emissions from heating by 2030 – working closely with the public and business through consultation and engagement.” (p22).

The Culture portfolio could perhaps seem somewhat side-lined when taking into account the activity also under this Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs and Constitution. However, we are reminded that: “Scotland enjoys a rich and distinct culture sector, valuable for the contribution it makes to our wellbeing as we recover from the impact of the COVID pandemic, and to Scotland’s economic and social life and international reputation, including through the major events hosted here”. The Government “will build on this strong foundation by continuing to invest in our culture and arts sectors, working with them to increase their resilience and future sustainability.” (p26). This is further backed up with the desire to “focus on measures to increase [the culture sector’s] sustainability and resilience.” (p27).

The duo of Green Ministers will, “ensure that Scotland leads the way in tackling the climate emergency” (p28). There is a reassertion that, “Within government we will continue to lead directly on delivery of some of that work – a Housing Bill to deliver a national system of rent control and wider rented sector reform, […] ; a Circular Economy Bill to revamp how we use resources and deal with waste; transformation of the active travel landscape; a new National Park; consult on Heat in Buildings proposals for climate-friendly heating; and other programmes which lie directly within our ministerial portfolios.” (p29)

This is not a full programme for government, and does not have a related finance document. It is unclear from this policy document if any previously expressed priorities have been lost, delayed, or side-lined. BEFS will continue to monitor publications and announcements, and bring readers what we hope is most pertinent to their work.

BACK

BEFS Director gives a brief overview of the recent changes to the Scottish Government Cabinet and Ministerial roles.

Almost all the roles within the Cabinet and Ministerial responsibilities have changed, whether small tweaks, or wholesale transformation. It is not the intention for this blog to interrogate all the changes made, but instead to focus on where BEFS expects existing built environment interests to be represented. As ever BEFS recommends you examine full details of changes as they relate to your own organisation or remit.

It is of note that Deputy First Minister & Cab. Sec. for Finance (Shona Robison) previously had responsibilities including housing; now her remit includes responsibility for cross-government delivery and outcomes, including the National Performance Framework; Scottish Futures Trust; and the Scottish Government’s estate strategy itself. Ms Robison will also have budget responsibility for local government finance.

The new Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development is Christina McKelvie, this portfolio itself is not significantly changed. Within the built environment we can see responsibility for national towns of culture; Historic Environment Scotland; architecture, place and built heritage; as well as wider cultural policy more generally.  The Cab. Sec. for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture remains as Angus Robertson, he retains responsibility for (amongst other things) National Records of Scotland.

The previous Minister for Culture has moved into a Cabinet Secretary position, with a new remit within government, including Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy. In his new role, Neil Gray (with we hope memory of the importance of the historic environment and related skills) has responsibility for wellbeing economy and inclusive growth; cities investment and strategy; City Centre Recovery Taskforce; City and Regional Growth Deals; as well as long-term labour market strategy.

One of the Ministers’ supporting this role is Richard Lochhead – Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade. This title has altered in this iteration, with Tourism being dropped from all titles; and in initial information released, not appearing within responsibilities. Tourism now sits as a sector responsibility here with ‘tourism and hospitality’ linked. Mr Lochhead also has responsibility for digital economy and strategy.

Turning to planning, this has been moved into a Ministerial portfolio for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, in his new role within government, Joe FitzPatrick’s responsibilities involve: local government; planning and National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4); town centre regeneration including business improvement districts; regeneration policy and the place-based investment programme; as well as retail policy, recovery and strategy.

Previously planning had sat with Community Wealth. Community Wealth this now sits with Public Finance and remains (in its altered form) with Tom Arthur as Minister whose role covers: community wealth and community empowerment; community wealth building; cross government delivery of 20-minute neighbourhoods; Registers of Scotland and (slightly vaguely) property.

With wider place related responsibility we find Mairi Gougeon as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands (Land Reform being an addition to this portfolio. Ms Gougeon’s responsibilities include land reform and land use; forestry and woodlands, including Forestry and Land Scotland and Scottish Forestry; Scottish Land Commission; and Crown Estate Scotland.

BEFS advocacy often centres around Net Zero, so expects to be briefing the new Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition (Energy has been separated out), Màiri McAllan; Ms McAllan’s remit covers: cross government co-ordination of net zero policy; climate crisis and environmental protection; Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA); and sustainable development. Green economy responsibilities also include: green Jobs for the future; low carbon economy; Green Jobs Fund; Heat and Energy Efficiency Scotland agency and decarbonisation of buildings. This Cab. Sec. role is supported by Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater – with responsibility for green industrial strategy and green skills. Within this department we also have remaining in role Patrick Harvie as Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights. Mr Harvie’s role covers: energy efficiency; heat networks; heating and domestic energy transformation; Heat in Buildings programme and building standards.

Sitting beneath the Cab. Sec. role for Education and Skills (Jenny Gilruth) we find Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans – Graeme Dey whose remit covers: Developing the Young Workforce; apprenticeships; higher education and universities; further education and colleges; qualifications and accreditation; Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

Due to the current Parliamentary recess there is diminished government activity at this time, but BEFS will continue to monitor any related impacts to parliamentary Committees, as well as any portfolio budget changes from the realignment and changes to Cabinet roles and departments.

Other significant areas of note are:

  • Minister for Energy (another new role) sees Gillian Martin have responsibility for energy policy and strategy.
  • Minister for Housing – a new role within government, Paul McLenan has the Housing to 2040 strategy within his remit; as well as regulation of existing housing systems.
  • The NHS estate falling within the remit of Michael Matheson in his role as Cab. Sec. for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care.
  • Shirley-Anne Somerville as Cab. Sec. for Social Justice also has responsibility for the third sector, social enterprises and OSCR.
BACK

In December 2022 BEFS directed readers to, the Westminster Conservation People and Place, All-Party Parliamentary Group First Report – The Value of Heritage, BEFS asked the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) to expand on the relevance of the five recommendations included in the report to Scotland.

What follows is a blog from IHBC Director, Seán O’Reilly.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Conservation, Places and People (CPP) is now the advocate of the diverse benefits of historic and built environment conservation across Westminster Parliament’s broad and diverse remits. Its establishment was led by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), a UK-wide professional body and a charity.

APPGs are the democratic equivalent of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-party Groups. While described in Westminster as ‘informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament’, they are also ‘run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords’. As such, they can be the most accessible, transparent and – potentially – influential tool in democratic processes to access the networks that help shape legislation.

Why an APPG?

The IHBC invested in the promotion of an APPG dedicated to all aspects of historic environment conservation as, after many years of active engagement, and informed consultations, it seemed we had made little difference to actual outcomes. Worse still, our pro-active advocacy on more substantial initiatives that would make a huge difference to outcomes – including funding and supporting research into various forms of conservation-linked VAT relief – had made even less headway.

Formation

In April 2018, the IHBC’s Communications and Outreach Committee supported an informal proposal to kick-start a wholly new approach to the IHBC’s advocacy, and take our agenda in its entirety to a place we could see it making a difference across the UK: Westminster.

After Board agreement, there then followed a long process – not a little convoluted by the global pandemic – that resulted in September 2020, when the CPP APPG was established with Layla Moran MP as its first Chair.

At every stage of the journey our success depended on close liaison and agreement – and plenty of compromise – with the MPs and Lords supporting us. In that, our consultant APPG Secretary across the whole process, journalist David Blackman, played a critical role. Not only did he lead on the political interface and in negotiating the not-inconsiderable administrative complexities of Westminster, but he also brought in the political-networked London-based PR team at Powerscourt, who worked pro bono to establish the initial member network.

Today the APPG, now chaired by James Grundy, Conservative MP for Leigh in Greater Manchester, looks to harness the passion many people feel about the heritage of their local area at the political and legislative levels.

CPP APPG Inquiry

The CPP APPG Members agreed their Group’s terms as being:

“To support built and historic environment conservation as the means to deliver successful places, which are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. This includes using heritage to help places adapt to the diverse needs of current and future communities, whilst supporting enterprise, transport connectivity, health, climate change efforts and quality of life.”

Following that, over the first year and a half of the Group it established, launched, closed, and published its first scoping inquiry, into ‘The Value of Heritage’. For that, the group received extensive written evidence demonstrating the substantial economic, environmental and social value that heritage can actually deliver, not least through its sustainable management.

With input from sector experts at a series of oral hearings, the APPG has also probed what holds back efforts to regenerate historic communities and how heritage could dovetail with the UK government’s broader agenda of ‘levelling up’.

The report’s findings and conclusions overall were based on this mixture of written submissions and verbal evidence, some presented to the APPG over oral hearings themed around Economy, Regeneration and Society and Environment.

The Value of Heritage report was launched on Thursday 1 December 2022 at the House of Commons, with lead headlines around cuts in the VAT rate on listed building refurbishments and a presumption against demolition of existing properties amongst the recommendations.

Relevance to Scotland

The APPG is an entity inside, and a voice around Parliament and its Parliamentary members. As such, the IHBC supported the APPG’s Secretariat through the Inquiry process, advising on conclusions but not controlling them.

The conclusion of the CPP APPG’s Inquiry, for example, were based on the evidence submitted to them, and that depended in the responses to the public call for evidence. With the APPG as a new and largely unknown advocate for the heritage sector, and in the context of stretched resources and pandemic strains, only a small range of charities and groups could respond to the potential of the process.

The lack of specific evidence from Scotland was one gap, so it might be useful to review here the final recommendations and their prospective relevance to Scotland. Usefully too, it can help clarify how the Inquiry represents only the first step of the IHBC broader strategy to understand and interrogate these parliamentary processes and bring conservation and heritage to that platform.

Below are extracts of the headline calls, with simple signposts on how a Scottish take might adapt any to suit its own priorities. The full texts are in the published document, but here they are consciously re-cast to highlight some of their potential.

  • Targeted harmonisation of VAT between new construction and refurbishment of existing properties

This needs no special context for Scotland, which has a long legacy at the highest levels of advocating such thinking, even if it shares the lack of substantive actions. Specifically too, it leaves the mechanisms open – so, say, harmonisation’ could be as simple as a refund – meaning these can be adapted to any local needs.

  • Establish a presumption against demolition and redevelopment

Offering embodied energy considerations a kick-start in development economics, again this is a general position that opens many options for more detailed delivery across all the devolved nations.

  • Energy efficiency amnesty from the need to meet the net zero goal for some of the UK’s most significant historic buildings

As cost can be the main barrier to the best solutions, the APPG considered that additional formal exemptions, ‘may be prudent’ in the context of the UK’s Net Zero ambitions for 2050. The phrasing also offering plenty of flexibility for the details to be adapted to the needs of devolved governments, an especially useful option given the timescale, where key dates might even be brought forward under more independent nations.

  • Welcome targeted funding of the historic environment

Encouraging government funding by calling on sector-wide welcomes for beneficial initiatives is a key message to all heritage interests, and one that can only promote investment across all political landscapes.

  • Provide local and combined authorities with greater control over funding

Control over funding not only requires the opportunity to access the funds, but also the internal capacity to manage them. Crucially the aim here is not only about accessing funds locally – as the recent criticisms around the centralised assessment of levelling up funds have highlighted – but about ensuring that local government, operating under any central government, has the internal capacity to specify, evaluate and help deliver the projects as appropriate.

The key point about these recommendations is that – as with all things in politics – advancing them is less about identifying gaps in the details than building on the opportunities established by the principles.

Looking ahead

Now the APPG has concluded this UK-wider ‘scoping’ exercise, the IHBC is more familiar with the UK parliamentary process and how we can work directly with Westminster, as well as with how specific issues might best be advocated across the highest levels of UK government. The IHBC has also learned much about Westminster’s internal operations, networks, and personalities, as well as its complex and often nuanced processes and communications. So much so, in fact, that the next big step for the APPG will be a name change, led by its Chair, to align its message better with its ambitions.

In that context of advocacy and communications, the IHBC is especially aware of how the Inquiry’s conclusions are only a small part of the bigger political forum with which we need to engage. Our plans now, are to drill into the detail of the most critical issues raised by the Inquiry, and those that are also those most likely to successfully deliver beneficial outcomes, in the ever-changing political landscape of all our governments.

See more on the CPP APPG at https://conservationplacespeople.appg.info

 

BACK

Urban designer Paul Morsley, development economist Steven Tolson and land-use planner Nick Wright summarise their work on the public sector’s role in delivering NPF4, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise after draft NPF4 had been published in late 2021.

The changing context

Achieving net zero, improving health and wellbeing, and creating a fairer and greener economy are all established objectives that are enshrined in the Scottish Government’s current Programme for Government.

NPF4 now provides a spatial framework for more sustainable, liveable and productive places that deliver those objectives. Delivery and productivity are clearly priorities: the Ministerial Foreword to NPF4 highlights planning’s critical role in delivering the National Strategy for Economic Transformation and community wealth-building. NPF4 is more than a series of policy goals; it is an ‘outcome delivery plan’.

“As a country we will be judged on the outcomes we deliver, not the strategy we write.  Words and intentions matter, but only actions deliver change.”

(Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Foreword to the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, February 2022)

Meanwhile, the Place Principle has been adopted by the Scottish Government and COSLA as a more collaborative place-based approach to achieve better outcomes for people and communities. It is linked to substantial amounts of funding, including the five year £325 million Place-Based Investment Programme unveiled in 2021 – although the implications of recent economic upheavals for other aspects of public spending are still being worked through.

What does this changing context mean for property-led regeneration and mixed use development?

Property-led regeneration

Regeneration is ultimately about people, but a big component of regeneration activity is inevitably about land and property – because of the need to tackle the country’s legacy of vacant and derelict land and to deliver NPF4’s new 20 Minute Neighbourhood aspirations. Delivering on these will involve considerable investment in buildings and infrastructure throughout Scotland, to reduce the negative impact of vacancy and dereliction and to create mixed-use neighbourhoods where daily needs are satisfied locally.

Scotland has a long and proud history of public sector investment in property-led regeneration, focussing on areas of market failure where the private sector alone cannot deliver what is needed. There are many examples spanning the country such as Clydebank Re-built, Glasgow’s Merchant City and Clyde Gateway in the west, to Edinburgh’s Craigmillar and the Dundee Waterfront in the east. In recent years, these public sector initiatives have been complemented by successful community-led projects focussing on individual sites and buildings, as evidenced by the annual SURF awards.

The question is: how might property-led regeneration be designed and delivered in the future, in the context of the wide-ranging benefits required by NPF4 and the National Strategy for Economic Transformation?

And what should the public sector do to steer, stimulate and secure that kind of regeneration?

The role of the public sector

Experience over many decades suggests that the market will not deliver the quantity and quality of property-led regeneration required to implement government policy aspirations without a proactive public sector. With a third of the Scottish population living within 500 metres of a vacant or derelict site (data from the Scottish Land Commission), it is clear that too much land languishes undeveloped for too long and fails to deliver its potential. We need more mixed-use places where our daily needs are met close to where we live, ‘20 Minute Neighbourhood’ style. That will need designing new development different in a different manner and adapting existing neighbourhoods where the vast majority of us live.

Mixed-use neighbourhoods of the type envisaged in NPF4 are much more challenging to deliver than traditional mono-use development, because they need a range of inter-dependent activities , infrastructure, services, facilities and greenspace to be integrated from the outset.

Schematic of a mixed-use neighbourhood: a range of inter-dependent activities , infrastructure, services, facilities and greenspace need to be integrated from the outset. Developed by Paul Morsley, Steven Tolson and Nick Wright (2022), illustration and design by IGLU studio.

Schematic of a mixed-use neighbourhood: a range of inter-dependent activities , infrastructure, services, facilities and greenspace need to be integrated from the outset. Developed by Paul Morsley, Steven Tolson and Nick Wright (2022), illustration and design by IGLU studio.

A token shop under an apartment block will not deliver the holistic vision of NPF4. Not only do people need to be able to easily walk and cycle to that shop, but they also need all their other daily needs to be locally accessible, from jobs, childcare and healthcare to green spaces (see NPF4 Policy 15). That needs more planning, more partners and more collaboration.

Collaborating to deliver

“Delivery of NPF4 is not the sole responsibility of one organisation or sector. Implementation of the proposed actions will support leadership and collaborative working across national and local government, regional bodies, key agencies, businesses, voluntary organisations and communities throughout Scotland. It will also be important to build synergies between investors, recognising the benefits of joint working towards common goals.”

(NPF4 Delivery Programme, November 2022, page 2)

Leaders of the process are unlikely to be developers, particularly in low valued areas. Such projects need champions, promoters and a coalition of supporters (Adams & Tiesdell (2012) Shaping Places: Urban Planning, Design and Development).

Delivering the government’s ambitions will require public bodies in particular to change their operational processes and the way they create, organise and invest in property and places, including how they collaborate with the private sector.

“We face significant challenges, fiscal, demographic and socio-economic and it’s clear that more of the same won’t do. We need to adopt a more common-sense approach that focuses on what is important: people and communities. To maximise the impact of our combined resources we must work better together.”

(Our Place website, Scottish Government, 2022)

To deliver the promise of NPF4 and the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, the public sector must not only create the right policy and guidance framework (now in place thanks to NPF4), but also lead proactively as co-investor and co-creator – exactly as envisaged in the Place Principle. Without the public sector taking that lead role, the government’s place-related agendas simply will not be delivered.

“In the next decade, we face a choice to either lead or to lag behind other successful economies all whilst we recover from Covid, deliver net zero, tackle structural inequalities and grow our economy. We choose to lead.”

(Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Foreword to the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, February 2022)

So, how exactly should the public sector lead collaborative mixed-use development, as part of a place-based approach to achieving zero, improving health and wellbeing, and creating a fairer and greener economy?

Again, NPF4 signals the way forward:

“NPF4 supports alignment of multidisciplinary and cross-sector priorities, with the goal of facilitating delivery of the places that Scotland needs to be successful. Rooted in the Place Principle, it provides a framework for choreographing sectoral strategies and funding programmes, so that different parts of the public sector are progressing in the same direction towards shared goals.”

(NPF4 Delivery Programme, November 2022, page 20)

A fresh approach

The Scottish Futures Trust produced a Place Guide in November 2021 as an introductory guide for those in the public sector making decisions on investment in services and capital projects. This was followed by case study research and literature review in April 2022, intended to help decision makers embed place-based principles in their thinking. Architecture & Design Scotland have also published information to support placemaking and place-based approaches, such as Designing for a Changing Climate: Carbon Conscious Places (2020).

The work by the Scottish Futures Trust and Architecture & Design Scotland is a platform to build on, but more is needed. So, Scottish Enterprise, in their role as a fellow member of the Key Agencies Group, decided to commission independent analysis to understand what else needs to happen to stimulate property and infrastructure investment that will deliver NPF4. They commissioned our team with experience covering development economics, urban design, planning, and stakeholder engagement.

Based on evidence and analysis, our specific recommendations are not new: they are all tried and tested, but have simply not yet been brought together in a co-ordinated approach here in Scotland.

Our reports, to be published shortly by Scottish Enterprise once it has been modified to take account of the finalised NPF4, will bring everything together, including:

  • A more detailed summary of the policy context outlined above, based on draft NPF4 as the report was written in the first half of 2022.
  • Analysis of the current economic context (which will be fleshed out in an additional more detailed background report).
  • Case studies of which nine varied Scottish and European examples of collaborative regeneration were included, drawing out key lessons for the public sector to take a lead role in planning, design and delivery within the context of NPF4.
  • The fresh approach with specific guidance on use of statutory powers, investment tools, design and delivery – illustrated, and tested, by applying it to two major development sites in Stirling and Cumbernauld.
  • Action checklists for organisations in different sectors to implement the fresh approach – public sector developers, private sector developers, local authorities and regulatory bodies.

Importantly, the fresh approach we’ve outlined brings together co-ordinated guidance on statutory powers, investment tools, design and delivery – rather than treating them each as separate silos. All too often policymakers think about powers and policies, developers and financiers think about investment tools, designers think about design, and project managers think about delivery. But what is needed is for leading public sector decision-makers to think across those silos and bring them, and their respective professionals, together.

Our guidance falls into 4 elements in the report. This guidance may seem obvious to those experienced in certain subjects, but the emphasis is on how to bridge across all of elements, and all parties, to ensure that they are connected. That is the challenge for the decision-makers.

Those four elements are:

  1. The use of ‘Statutory Powers’ including national and local planning policies, statutory provisions for land assembly, master plan consent areas and fiscal measures etc. Such matters require a commitment of public sector resources, discretion around the micro detail of regulation, prioritising infrastructure investment that considers the long term framework for action, is located in the right place and in the appropriate built form.
  2. Having the right ‘Investment Resource’ which includes public funds to enable policy outcomes to be delivered. This means the public sector acting as an investment stakeholder which is so important in delivering successful mixed use. Such investment is not just about physical measures such as infrastructure but also about stimulating employment opportunities, having flexibility to tailor funds for specific propositions, seeking synergistic benefits that can accrue from public private partnerships.
  3. Ensuring that ‘Design Quality’ is at the forefront of both policy and investment that is focussed on net zero, bio-diversity and connectivity. All these are identified within the 6 place making qualities of the NPF4.
  4. Placing critical emphasis on ‘Delivery’. Policy is the start point but it is delivering ‘outcomes’ that is most important. This means a substantial commitment to leadership, collaboration and stewardship that goes well beyond the development period. Sustainable delivery is about the long term investment in places. The role of place investors includes business, community and citizen participation. These are the ultimate investors in place.

The impact of this guidance is illustrated in the report by applying some of the principles to two major opportunity sites at Forthside in Stirling and Orchardton in Cumbernauld. Action checklists in section 8 of the report indicate which elements of the guidance apply to different types of stakeholder: public and private sector developers, local authorities and regulatory bodies.

Detailed schematic of a mixed-use neighbourhood: design quality sits at the forefront of both policy and investment that is focussed on net zero, bio-diversity and connectivity. Developed by Paul Morsley, Steven Tolson and Nick Wright (2022), illustration and design by IGLU studio.

Detailed schematic of a mixed-use neighbourhood: design quality sits at the forefront of both policy and investment that is focussed on net zero, bio-diversity and connectivity. Developed by Paul Morsley, Steven Tolson and Nick Wright (2022), illustration and design by IGLU studio.

What next?

The key point of the fresh approach outlined in our report is that it is possible for Scotland to deliver the quality of development and depth of outcomes envisaged in NPF4, on a par with best practice anywhere in Europe. The report is simply a step along the way to stimulate discussion, consensus and ultimately collaborative action about a practical way forward to deliver that objective.

What needs to happen next to deliver NPF4 is for public sector partners to consider the content of this report and agree a collaborative way forward to implement the fresh approach that it describes, based on the roles for each player that are suggested in section 8. That discussion needs to consider:

  • What actions are required to implement the fresh approach, and who should do what.
  • Who needs to be involved from beyond the public sector, including the private development and investment sectors, professional bodies and the third sector.
  • Identifying the resources that will be required to create the capacity, skills and behaviours for the fresh approach to be put into practice.
  • A route map for marshalling those resources and organisations to implement the fresh approach.’

 

Illustration credits:

Feature image collage: designed by IGLU studio (2023)

Mixed-use neighbourhood schematics: developed by Paul Morsley, Steven Tolson and Nick Wright (2022), illustration and design by IGLU studio.

BACK