BEFS Bulletin – Building for Scotland’s Communities

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Mediation in Planning
Closes 12 Mar 2021.

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

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

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

Heat in Buildings Strategy
Closes 30 April 2021.

Consultation Responses

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scottish Government News Releases

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

News Releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Opinion & Comment

Parliamentary Questions

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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