BEFS Bulletin – Built Environment Advocacy

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


BEFS is delighted to welcome Director Ailsa Macfarlane into post this week. Coming from a cultural-heritage project management background, Ailsa has wide-ranging experience with partnership working and stakeholder collaboration across Scotland. Find out more about her background here.

BEFS has compiled an overview of  in the party manifestos that will have implications for Scotland’s built environment. Various heritage and built environment organisations, including a number of BEFS members, produced manifestos ahead of today’s election. The manifestos outline information on specific strategic issues, facts and details, and the corresponding language and messaging that can be adapted and adopted to advocate for the built environment with your newly elected parliamentarians. For advice on becoming an advocate for the built environment check out our Advocacy Toolkit.

BEFS outgoing Director Euan Leitch reflects on why retaining our existing built environment is beneficial and potentially transformative for communities and how crucial it is that we evidence the benefits that arise from investing in heritage going into a new parliament, in our first blog this week.

BEFS submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Scottish skills requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes. It strongly supports the primary focus around retrofitting existing buildings. BEFS also submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s Heat in buildings strategy – achieving net zero emissions consultation, highlighting that Scotland’s home-owners, businesses, suppliers, and manufacturers need as clear an understanding as possible of who needs to do what, and by when. Both responses can be read in full here.

In a final contribution as Director, Euan Leitch, shares his observations about the extended permitted development rights consultation process, motivations, and unexpected outcomes in our second blog this week.

To help promote the reopening of museums and galleries across Scotland, Museums Galleries Scotland have launched the #MuseumsAreGo reopening campaign, on behalf of and with the sector to help reassure and encourage people to visit, as well as support, their local museum and gallery and other museums across Scotland. We are also offering the sector marketing support to those museums who need it most, including an online toolkit and marketing support surgeries in May and June.


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

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

Local Place Plan Regulations consultation
Closes 25 June 2021.

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


Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum – Hustings (CICV 14/21)

The Resolution Foundation Housing Outlook (04/21)

Election Hub – Planning the Scotland We Need (04/21)

Housing in Scotland: Evidence for Scottish Government 2021-26 (UKCCfHE 04/21)

Context – Urban Design (IHBC March 2021)

News Releases

Short-term fixes with long-term consequences (Cockburn Association 03/05/21)
Our thoughts on the long-term implications of recently suggested short-term fixes for the Scottish planning system.

Flow Country: hopes of pressing case for world heritage site at COP26 (FMS 28/04/21)
The Flow Country Partnership is seeking to have the renowned area of peatland stretching across Caithness and Sutherland recognised alongside the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef as a natural world heritage site.

Volunteer army put tech boots on ground to save high street (FS 28/04/21)
A new ‘digital footfall’ scheme has been launched in an East Lothian town this week by a volunteer tech army in response to the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the high street.

Archaeology Scotland’s Student Prize 2021 (AS 25/04/21)
Archaeology Scotland are delighted to announce that, thanks to a generous anonymous donation, we are running a competition to give recognition to excellence in written work on Scottish archaeology produced in the 2020–21 academic year.

Over £150 million funding to kickstart self-building revolution (MHCLG 24/04/21)
New ‘Help to Build’ scheme will make it easier and more affordable for people to build their own homes.

A New Chief Executive for the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS 22/04/21)
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) is delighted to announce that Tamsie Thomson has been appointed as its new Chief Executive.

RTPI Awards for Research Excellence 2021 (RTPI 2021)
The RTPI Awards for Research Excellence are now open for entries. The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Monday 17 May 2021. The RTPI Awards for Research Excellence recognise and promote high quality and impactful spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools and planning practitioners in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and internationally.

Opinion & Comment

Podcast: Building Sustainability – Fellowships – Karen Ridgewell


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

Midsteeple Quarter
Date & time: Sat, 8 May 2021, 14:15.
Online event.
Join Matt Baker, founder and board member of the Midsteeple Quarter project, for a talk on this innovative community-led initiative to revitalise Dumfries High Street! Midsteeple Quarter is a Community Benefit Society set up and run by the people of Dumfries. Their aim is to help shape a new future for our town centre; one that responds to the needs of our community and is run for their benefit. The core principle is that local people have the innovative solutions for our town and that a significant local stake in the future of the town through community ownership and control is the best route towards a sustainable prosperity that is shared fairly amongst everyone.

Insanitary City: Dr Henry Littlejohn and the condition of Edinburgh
Date & time: Thu, 13 May 2021; 18:00 – 19:00.
Online event.
In 1865, Dr Henry Littlejohn – Police Surgeon, Crown witness in murder cases and medical advisor to the Scottish Poor Law authorities – published his Report on the Sanitary Condition of Edinburgh. His meticulous research produced penetrating insights into the links between poverty, employment and public health in Victorian cities.It had a significance far beyond the city of Edinburgh and Victorian society. In our latest online event, Edinburgh World Heritage is delighted to welcome Richard Rodger, Professor of Economic * Social History, University of Edinburgh, and co-author of ‘Insanitary City: Henry Littlejohn and the Condition of Edinburgh.’ Please join us as he explores the terrible slum conditions of Victorian Edinburgh and the extraordinary work of Dr Henry Littlejohn.

Developing a heritage project – National Lottery Heritage Fund Webinar
Date & time: Tue 25th May 2021 at 10:00.
Online event.
Join the Scotland team online to find out more about our small grants programme – National Lottery Grants for Heritage £3,000 to £10,000. Are you interested in developing a heritage project? The National Lottery Heritage Fund Engagement team in Scotland are running an informal webinar session on Tuesday 25 May at 10am. At this event we will give an overview of our small grants programme (£3,000 to £10,000), guidance for developing a heritage project and information about our application process. There will also be an opportunity to share your project ideas and ask any questions.

(1) Church Recording and Volunteering / (2) Repair & Maintenance
Date & time: Thursday, May 27th at 10.00am
Online: Zoom
Scotland’s Churches Trust is involved, together with other bodies, in a project to record the contents of our historic churches. This is now more important than ever with buildings closing at a rate not seen before. This is done through photographs and detailed description and sent to a central database. Volunteers are always needed! A second event in conjunction with the National Churches Trust (date to be decided), will focus on fabric maintenance and repair of places of worship.

2021 SURF Awards Launch Event
Date & time: 3rd June, 2pm-3.30pm.
Online: Zoom.
The prestigious national 2021 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration will launch at a virtual event on the 3rd June in partnership with the Glasgow Canal Cooperative, as part of the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership, to celebrate and promote the Scottish Government Year of Coasts and Waters. The SURF Awards are delivered each year by SURF in partnership with the Scottish Government. The purpose is to highlight, celebrate and share the achievements of initiatives that address physical, social and economic challenges in communities across Scotland.

RIAS Inclusive Design Seminar
Date & time: Tuesday 8th June 2021, 1.00pm to 4.15pm.
Online: Zoom.
Cost: £5.00 / Free for RIAS Student Members
Join RIAS for this seminar which looks at planning for inclusivity at the outset to deliver high quality environments. Our speakers will cover a range of topics relating to inclusive design and how we can produce external spaces, buildings, interiors and products that are as accessible as possible for a diverse population. Speakers: Eugene Mullan, Smith Scott Mullan Associates; Annie Pollock; Colin Wishart, City of Edinburgh Council; Rick McCluggage, Smith Scott Mullan Associates, Emma Berry & Angel Morales Aguilar, LDN Architects, Joann Russell, Historic Environment Scotland; Lucy Richards, StudioLR.


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

Architectural Conservation CPD: Statutory Protection and Managing Change to Listed Buildings
Date & time: Wed. 30 June, 12:30-13:30 (log-on with light refreshments from 12:15).
Online: Microsoft Teams, streamed live from Lower City Mills, Perth.
The third session in the 6-part CPD programme focuses on listed buildings and the legislative framework that protects them. Delivered by Historic Environment Scotland’s Head of Designations Elizabeth McCrone, this session will cover the role of designation, recent reviews, applying for listed building consent and general approached to managing change to listed buildings with examples. Sessions are hosted online with Q&A and networking opportunities and delivered using live and recorded content by industry accredited professionals and are recognised CPD by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and Scottish Traditional Building Forum (STBF).


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

Development Officer for Northern Ireland
The Heritage Trust Network is recruiting for a new part-time post of Development Officer based in Northern Ireland. The Network has a varied range of members in Northern Ireland including major building preservation trusts in the cities, towns and villages and community and arts organisations.
The deadline for applications is Monday 24th May.