BEFS Bulletin – Built Environment Picks at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Get the latest built environment news, commentary, publications, policy development, parliamentary questions, vacancies and more.


Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has commissioned an evaluation of ‘Our Place in Time – The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland’. This is an opportunity to provide feedback on the achievements of the strategy, future priorities, as well as identify any areas for improvement around structures and delivery arrangements. The deadline for responding to the survey is Friday 2nd August 2019.

This week is also the last chance to submit your project or initiative as a best practice case study for the OPiT performance report 2019 and BEFS online database.

In addition to the OPiT evaluation, HES is conducting a major survey about how historic sites and heritage places affect our wellbeing. HES is also seeking your views as part of an evaluation of the activities of the Engine Shed.

Save the date! Following the Scottish Parliament’s debate on the recommendations of the Working Group on Tenement Maintenance earlier this month, a date has been set for a Tenement Maintenance Conference on 18th September 2019 in Glasgow.

We are also delighted to see City of Edinburgh Council have put forward tenement maintenance for a CivTech® Challenge. Part of the Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate, CivTech® brings together public sector expertise and private sector creativity to solve real problems. Find out more about the challenge ‘How can we use technology to manage the property condition of communal areas in privately owned tenements?’ and how to apply, here.

Have you submitted your views on the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF)? The survey seeks views from everyone who has used or contributed to ScARF and will close on the 31st of July.

Archaeology Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Council on Archives are delighted to announce the call for contributions to Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference 2019. More details here.

As members of the steering group, BEFS is delighted to announce that booking is now open for ‘Future Planning: Designing Places in a Climate Emergency’ on 8 October 2019 in Glasgow.

Finally, check out BEFS suggestions for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, covering topics that have or may affect Scotland’s built environment.

As you will undoubtedly be aware, new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has chosen the members of his cabinet, which includes Nicky Morgan MP as Culture Secretary, Alister Jack MP as Scottish Secretary and Robert Jenrick MP as Housing & Communities Secretary.


Committee investigates environmental impact of travel and tourism
The Environmental Audit Committee launches an inquiry into sustainable tourism, looking at both the impacts of tourism and travel on the environment and how these can be reduced. Submissions should be made by 5pm on Friday 13 September.

Call for Evidence on the Long-Term Financial Sustainability of Local Government
The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has today, 2 July 2019, launched a call for written evidence on its pre-budget scrutiny into the long-term financial sustainability of local government. The closing date for receipt of submissions is Friday 23 August 2019.

Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system
Closes 31 July 2019.

Proposed Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill
Consultation closes on 6 August 2019.

Consultation on the Enhanced Heating Regimes within the new definition of Fuel Poverty
Closes 16 Aug 2019.

Are Scotland’s Roads Funded Properly? 
The deadline for submissions is 6 September 2019.

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019
Closes 13 Sep 2019.

Consultation on the Right to Buy Land to Further Sustainable Development
Closes 19 Sep 2019.

Consultation Responses

Scottish climate change adaptation programme 2019-2024: analysis of responses to consultation (SG 12/07/19)


Perceived Authenticity on the Royal Mile – Research Summary (EWH 25/07/19)

Cultural Heritage Innovation – Opportunities for International Development (UK UNESCO 22/07/19)

Planning for a Smart Energy Future Report (RTPI 18/07/19)

Building regulations and fire safety: consultation response and connected issues (House of Commons
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee 15/07/19)

Building standards technical handbook 2019: domestic buildings (SG 12/07/19)

Building standards technical handbook 2019: non-domestic buildings (SG 12/07/19)

Building standards technical handbooks 2019: summary of changes (SG 12/07/19)

Energy efficiency regulations in Scotland: warmer homes for private tenants (Shepherd+Wedderburn 12/07/19)

Heritage 2020 – Mapping collaborative interactions between Higher Education Institutions in the UK and the Heritage Sector (Newcastle University 05/19)

Industrial Districts: Rethinking Strategies for Adaptive Reuse (Detroit future city 04/19)

Detroit Industrial Adaptive Reuse Initiative: Trends and Case Studies in North America and Western Europe (Detroit Future city 03/19)

Scottish Government News Releases

Planning application decision times published (SG 23/07/19)
The average decision time for Local Development decisions in 2018-19 matched the quickest average decision time since 2012-13.

Strengthening fire safety and building standards (SG 12/07/19)
Fire safety is to be strengthened in new high rise buildings and facilities for people with disabilities improved in larger new buildings.

News Releases

New research highlights threats facing Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (EWH 25/07/19)
New research published today by Edinburgh World Heritage concerning the authenticity of the Royal Mile reveals the threats and opportunities facing the historic thoroughfare in the heart of the Old Town.

Cultural Heritage Innovation – Opportunities for International Development (UK UNESCO 22/07/19)
The UK’s National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) report shows how the UK is world-leading in innovation in its cultural heritage sector.

Concern over lack of interest in new community land-buying powers (P&J 22/07/19)
New community land-buying powers have not been used at all since they were introduced more than a year ago, leading to claims the law is not “fit for purpose”.

Inquiry into future of the National Lottery launched (AP 19/07/19)
The DCMS Committee will consider what help funding distributors need to manage “changing trends” in returns to good causes.

Stirling prize 2019 shortlist (Guardian 18/07/19)
Energy efficiency is a priority this year as a railway station, visitor centre, social housing project and opera house vie for the RIBA award for British building of the year.

Planning out of sync with net zero-carbon future, RTPI report finds (RTPI 18/07/19)
Planning needs to change to support a smooth transition to a net zero-carbon future, says a new report published by the RTPI.

Three New Reports Explore Strategies for Reusing Vacant Industrial Properties & Revitalising their Neighbourhoods (Revitalisation 15/07/19)

New partnership for Orkney’s World Heritage Site (HES 11/07/19)
An ambitious new partnership to shape the future direction for Orkney’s World Heritage Site has been unveiled today.

Stone, Sea and Sky: Architects’ and Artist Briefs (SCT 11/07/19)
The Scottish Civic Trust is coordinating an ambitious place-making project across Scotland’s islands this summer supported by the LEADER programme. We’re looking for architects and artists to support us by delivering a range of activities from July-September.

How council housing changed lives in Scotland (BBC 03/07/19)
This year marks 100 years since a landmark piece of legislation paved the way for council housing. Local government correspondent Jamie McIvor looks at how it developed in Scotland.

Opinion & Comment

Do “the creative industries” really matter for city economies? (CityMetric 19/07/19)

How setting national climate budgets obscure the need to really tackle the climate emergency (Cliff Hague 17/07/19)

I’ve seen the future and it’s Norwich: the energy-saving, social housing revolution (Guardian 16/07/19)

Improving public health through planning is a no brainer (RTPI Scotland 15/07/19)

Should we build cities from scratch? (Guardian 10/07/19)

Parliamentary Questions

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

Question S5W-24358: Finlay Carson, Galloway and West Dumfries, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 16/07/2019 R
To ask the Scottish Government what measures it has taken to support the work of the Scottish Land Commission since September 2018.

Question S5W-24341: Michelle Ballantyne, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 15/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government how the amount awarded from the next round of Coastal Communities Fund awards will compare with the previous levels.

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-23989: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 24/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making with its commitment to deliver 50,000 affordable homes in the current parliamentary session.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (15/07/2019)

Question S5W-24217: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 03/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government, of the 35,000 homes for social rent due to be delivered by the end of this parliamentary session, how many have (a) been completed and (b) started construction.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (15/07/2019)

Question S5W-24145: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 02/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government how many of the 50,000 affordable homes that it has committed to building in the current parliamentary session have started construction.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (15/07/2019)

Question S5W-24130: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 02/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what percentage of social landlords currently meet its minimum site standards for Gypsy/Travellers, broken down by local authority.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (18/07/2019)


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

Walter Scott’s Romantic Landscape: Abbotsford Gardens Study Day
Date & time: 27 July 2019, 11am – 4pm
Since 2014 Gardens Heritage Development Manager Pippa Coles has been overseeing the rehabilitation of the gardens and policies at Abbotsford. With Pippa as our guide for the day, we shall begin with a brief introduction, followed by an examination of the formal gardens and terraces surrounding the house. After lunch in the Ochiltrees Café, we shall explore the wider landscape created by Walter Scott as the setting for his romantic creation.  This will be an opportunity to see work in progress, and to discuss the challenges of managing this iconic landscape.
Cost: £20.00 SGLH Members, £30 Non-members
For further information or to book, please contact

Your Town: Clear, Green, Sustainable and Healthier
Date & time: Tuesday 27 August 2019 | 13:30-16:30
Venue: Tontine Building, 20 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5ES
Join Scotland’s Towns Partnership to discuss the importance of creating and promoting spaces for active and healthy communities; encouraging people to engage with the places they live in; and the potential for added-value for the local economy.
•    Key context speakers on national support and advice.
•    Practical planning toolkit exercise.
•    Town surgery sessions – seek out solutions and ideas for your town.
•    Exchange news and ideas with Scotland’s towns community of practitioners.
Attendance is free for STP members, and £50+VAT for non-members. Not a member? Join now and enjoy all-year-round access to free learning events; being part of a community of practitioners; and a range of toolkits and funding supports!

Scottish Living History Festival
Date & time: Saturday 31st August, 11:00am-5:00pm
Location: Callendar House and Park, Falkirk
As part of Archaeology Scotland’s 75th-anniversary celebrations, they are planning a special, family orientated, free event for the public to enjoy – the Scottish Living History Festival!
This interactive, fun-filled and educational event will take place on Saturday 31st August at the amazing Callendar House museum and outside in its wonderful designed landscape in Falkirk. Meet stars of TV, Professor Dame Sue Black and actress Georgia Hirst (Torvi) from the hit show Vikings!  Bring the kids to have a go at lots of different activities, re-enactments, talks and workshops. If you wish to support or sponsor this event, check out their Crowdfunder page for unique rewards and more information! To keep up to date with new announcements and giveaways be sure to click “Interested” or “Going” on their Facebook Event Page.

Creating Better Places for Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller Community
Date: October 1st 2019.
Venue: Saracen House, Glasgow.
The Gypsy/Traveller community is deeply rooted in Scotland with its long history and culture. Despite this, Gypsy/Travellers are too often marginalised and excluded from decisions that affect them. This event is an ideal opportunity for Gypsy/Travellers, local and national government officers, elected representatives at local and national level, planners, community planning, community councillors, public health professionals, employers, infrastructure providers and all other relevant stakeholders to engage with other thought leaders and potential partners that can help forge solutions to the challenges faced by the community.

Future Planning: Designing Places in a Climate Emergency
Date: Tuesday 8th October 2019
Venue: University of Strathclyde Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow.
Continuing trends towards urbanisation and the pressing realities of a climate emergency require us to urgently revaluate how we plan, design and build the ways we live in and move around our urban environments. For a future-proofed, long-term approach to planning and delivery, resilience, liveability, and sustainability must become the essential building blocks of our towns and cities. This is supported by concurrent changes to the Scottish Planning Bill, on-going public health reform work, the Vacant & Derelict Land Initiative, and changing population demographics. The conference is bringing together key stakeholders and agencies across the planning, housing and built environment sectors. This event counts towards CPD provision for planners and is part of the Planning Skills Series. To find out more and book visit the website. For all enquiries, contact Organised by the Ecosystems Knowledge Network in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage’s Green Infrastructure Fund.

22nd Annual Plenderleith Memorial Lecture
Date & time: 28 November 2019; 18:00 – 19:30.
Venue: The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU.
After the dust has settled – rediscovering the spirit of the Mackintosh. So much of the fabric of the iconic Glasgow School of Art building was destroyed in the devastating fire of June 2018 – the building currently exists largely in the virtual world of recordings, drawings, scholarly essays and memories. Over a year later, the Mackintosh Building is slowly beginning to piece together its future again, a journey of making the intangible tangible. The philosophy behind achieving this is still being developed and challenged by the team responsible and by the wider community of interest. Icon Scotland Group is delighted to welcome Project Manager Liz Davidson who will explore the task of the reconstruction project for this year’s Harold Plenderleith Memorial Lecture.


ILM Leadership Course 
MGS, supported by the Social Enterprise Academy, are delivering a two stage ILM Leadership course programme in 2019/20. The first programme, Developing your Leadership is a six-day course split over three months. It will help you develop your knowledge and understanding of leadership roles, gain clarity about leadership concepts and behaviours and reflect on and gain confidence in your own leadership approach. The second programme, Leading Growth, is a five-day course split over three months that will further develop your listening, coaching and general leadership skills. On completion of both accredited courses delegates can choose to further their leadership learning and enrol in the Napier University BA in Business and Enterprise, leading to a degree qualification.
The Leadership programme offers complete flexibility. You can choose to undertake one course, two courses, or continue to degree level. Accreditation to ILM is optional however in order to progress to the next course you must achieve accreditation by passing the required criteria.
MGS is offering these courses at a discounted rate to those within the museums and galleries and third sectors. Places are limited and expected to sell out fast. To see full course details and book, visit the website. For more information please contact our Senior Skills Development Manager, John Campbell on 0131 550 4131 or


Casework Officer
Historic Environment Scotland are seeking a casework officer to join their historic buildings casework team on a 12-month contract.
Closing Date: 14 August 2019 at midday.


Information in the Bulletin is extracted from a number of websites including the Scottish Government (SG); the Scottish Parliament (SP); Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS); Historic Environment Scotland (HES); Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH); Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO); English Heritage (EH); Design Council (DC); Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG); Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS); Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); National Assembly for Wales (NAW); Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS); Scottish Government Building Standards  (SGBS); Europa Nostra (EN); Historic England (HE).

If you have any questions or comments on the above, or would like to submit information to be included, please get in touch with Saskia Smellie or telephone BEFS Office on 0131 220 6241.