BEFS Bulletin – CHERF Call for Ideas

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


Following the successful completion of the COVID Historic Environment Resilience Forum workshop series and overwhelmingly positive feedback, BEFS is now looking to organise a series of informal events to explore ideas on what ‘building back better’ could look like for the sector. Within this context, we are looking for your ideas and blue sky thinking on structural / strategic solutions that could fundamentally change the heritage landscape for the better. The deadline for submissions is Monday, 21st September. We already have a number of ideas submitted and whilst we welcome submissions from everyone, if you are not a man we would love to hear from you. More information here.

Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland: The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2020-2021 was published on Tuesday. BEFS Director Euan Leitch reflects on the areas that are of interest to the historic built environment and heritage sector.

The Scottish Government has announced that the culture and heritage sectors are to benefit from a £59 million funding package to protect jobs and help the industry weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The funding includes £21.3 million for Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to protect jobs and support the reopening of properties in their care. An additional £5.9 million will be made available to support heritage organisations through committed grants. HES welcomes the additional funding to support the historic environment.

This morning the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee heard evidence from the National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund in Scotland and Abbotsford Trust on the impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s heritage sector. The papers for the session highlight the challenge heritage is facing. The meeting can be watched here.

Remember to share your organisation’s experiences in Historic Environment Scotland’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) survey, which closes tomorrow.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart is calling for the UK Government to reduce VAT charged on construction works to existing buildings to 5% to support the sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, Mr Stewart highlights that is it no longer just about it being iniquitous but about adapting to working from home and meeting the climate crisis challenge.

The Scottish Government has announced that, subject to the agreement of Parliament, Part 1 of both Coronavirus Acts should be extended to 31 March 2021. This means that the provisions which extend the duration of Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent and Conservation Area Consent are to be extended beyond the current expiry dates. The regulations amend the expiry of the “emergency period” from 6 October 2020 to 31 March 2021 and the “extended period” from 6 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.

BEFS responded to the Town Centre Action Plan review group’s call for evidence, highlighting that addressing circular economy issues, contributing to the localism agenda, introducing policy incentives for reuse/repurposing, and prioritising maintenance of our existing buildings, could provide the benefits for towns, and their people, that the group are hoping to achieve. Read the full submission on BEFS consultations page.

Interested in taking part in our Business Support Programme that will support heritage organisations in Scotland to develop sustainable business models? To express interest fill out this form.

Doors Open Days, Scotland’s biggest free festival of architecture, is presenting its largest ever digital offering this September, celebrating Scotland’s buildings and stories online, through tours, lectures, DIY learning events and more.

Also running in September as part of European Heritage Days is ‘Scottish Archaeology Month’. Scottish Archaeology Month is coordinated by Archaeology Scotland and celebrates Scotland’s rich archaeological heritage through a diverse programme of free events held all over the country.

Remember to register for the RIAS convention ‘WITH THE GRAIN’ at the end of the month. This event will bring architects, built environment professionals and the wider public together online for discussion around how we can work with nature, natural materials and our climate to build resilient communities – reshaping spaces, repurposing the buildings we live and work in and exploring innovative solutions from architects.

Last but by no mean least, our blog this week celebrates the success of the Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival last week, that despite the challenges of coronavirus, attracted over 2000 participants from Scotland and beyond.


Who get’s to speak in Scottish heritage? Can you help us improve the heritage data gap?

Community Council experience of the planning system during Covid-19L: Community Council Survey

External wall systems – advice note: background, consultation questions and response form

HES Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey Follow Up
Opened 13 Aug 2020 and closes 4 Sept 2020.

Town Centre Action Plan Expert Review Group – Online Survey
The survey will run until Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 17:00.

Scottish Planning Policy and Housing: Technical Consultation on Proposed Policy Amendments
Closes 9 Oct 2020.

A consultation on the future of the Land Court and the Lands Tribunal
Closes 19 Oct 2020.

Proposed Changes to Pre-Application Consultation Requirements in Planning
Closes 6 Nov 2020.

Call for Evidence on impact of COVID-19 on the rural economy and connectivity in Scotland
There is currently no deadline for responding.

The Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee has launched a call for views on the impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s culture and tourism sectors.
There is currently no deadline for responding.

Consultation Responses

Call for evidence on the Shortage Occupation List: our response (SG 31/08/20)


Affordable Housing Supply Programme: Process and procedures MHDGN 2020/02 (SG 02/09/20)

Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland: The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2020-2021 (SG 01/09/20)

Key Agencies Planning Group: supporting a green recovery offer August 2020 (SG 01/09/20)

Right to buy: application for consent guidance (SG 31/08/20)

Affordable Housing Supply Programme: Process and procedures MHDGN 2020/02 (SG 27/08/20)

Battery storage consents: Chief Planner letter August 2020 (SG 27/08/20)

Good Stewardship of Land (SLC 26/08/20)

Just Transitions: a comparative perspective (SG 25/08/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the performing arts and venues sector (SG 21/08/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance (SG 21/08/20)

Social Housing Net Zero Heat Fund: overview (SG 21/08/20)

A guide to growing and engaging audiences online (HD 12/08/20)

Heritage for inclusive growth (RSA 07/08/20)

Design in innovation strategy 2020-2024 (Innovate UK 08/20)

Scottish Government News Releases

Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland (SG 01/09/20)
Ensuring Scotland’s economic, health, and social recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is the focus of this year’s Programme for Government, published today.

Supporting tenants (SG 01/09/20)
A new £10 million fund will be part of a package to support people struggling to pay their rent due to financial difficulty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Scottish culture and heritage (SG 28/08/20)
Culture and heritage sectors are to benefit from a £59 million funding package to protect jobs and help the industry weather the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Driving Scotland’s green recovery (SG 21/08/20)
Funding to deploy low carbon heat in existing social housing has been fast-tracked to support Scotland’s economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

News Releases

HES welcomes additional funding to support the historic environment (HES 03/09/20)
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has welcomed confirmation of additional funding from the Scottish Government (SG) to help manage the impacts of COVID-19.

Doctoral Internship & Artist Residencies – Call for Proposals from Host Organisations (SGSAH 02/09/20)
The SGSAH Doctoral Internship and Artist in Residence Programme aims to connect the research skills and creative practice of PhD students with organisations from all sectors to develop impact and make a difference.

Youth unemployment could reach over 100,000 in Scotland this year (IPPR 27/08/20)
IPPR Scotland has published new research which shows the scale of the youth unemployment challenge Scotland could face later this year.

New Protocol on Good Stewardship of Land is published (SLC 26/08/20)
Decisions made about land that take the long view, considering the impact on people’s lives, the environment and local community, will result in greater public benefit.

Reopening dates announced for iconic historic sites across the country (HES 24/08/20)
We have announced reopening dates for a further 10 ticketed iconic sites throughout Scotland after the sites closed their doors in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Cash strapped historic churches helped by the National Churches Trust (NCT 24/08/20)
The National Churches Trust is supporting 45 of the UK’s historic churches and chapels with a grant payout of over £500,000, money which will help fund repairs, maintenance and the installation of community facilities.

High Street Heroes Awards Announced (LL 24/08/20)
Special awards will be presented to honour the heroes of Scotland’s high streets to reward their dedication and determination to help those around them during the coronavirus crisis and to allow high streets re-open safely when lockdown restrictions have been eased.

Government calls to get people back to the office is falling on deaf ears (CentreforCities 21/08/20)
New data shows that Eat Out To Help Out is helping the high street, but workers are resisting the Government’s calls to get back to the office – with average weekday city centre footfall showing no change at all since early July.

RICS unveils Richard Burnett as new Scottish chair (RICS  21/08/20)
RICS has announced Richard Burnett FRICS, director at Montana Management, as the new chair of the RICS Scotland board.

Young people shun future visits to heritage attractions over coronavirus fears (Ecclesiastical 10/08/20)
Research has revealed young people are less likely to visit heritage attractions in person once the lockdown lifts due to coronavirus fears. However, digital is a revenue opportunity for heritage attractions as two fifths (44%) of young adults who visited a heritage attraction online during lockdown said they would be willing to pay to access these if they were no longer free.

The built environment innovation masters fund (CSIC 08/20)
Do you have a passion for innovation and want to make a difference? Tomorrow’s built environment is one of the most exciting places to consider a career in. It touches on all areas of our lives.  And it is going through major change. This is an opportunity to take control of your future and shape our world.

Opinion & Comment

Human Rights and Land Reform: A springboard for future resilience (SLC 31/08/20)

Building Social Value in Construction (BEN 31/08/20)

Round table discussion: Covid, Community Engagement and the Planning System (PAS 28/08/20)

Have we gone too far? (Worldlandscapearchitect 24/08/20)

Black and brown faces in green spaces (NLHF 19/08/20)

Throwing new light on difficult histories (National Trust Scotland 18/08/20)

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-31401: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/08/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what immediate steps it will take to ensure an energy efficient and climate driven economic recovery post COVID-19.

Question S5W-31402: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/08/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what information it has on what urban and community regeneration projects are currently underway across Scotland.

Question S5W-31404: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/08/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what long-term funding and support is in place for charities post COVID-19 to ensure that they can continue providing support at a (a) local and (b) national level.

Question S5W-31438: Maurice Golden, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 26/08/2020
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a breakdown of how the £97 million of consequentials from the UK Government’s culture and heritage support package has been spent in Scotland.

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-31292: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 19/08/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had regarding the vandalism of war memorials, and whether it is considering introducing a statutory aggravation.
Answered by Ash Denham (26/08/2020)


Motion S5M-22588: Gordon Lindhurst, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/09/2020
Edinburgh Traditional Building Forum Delivers Eighth Festival
That the Parliament congratulates the Edinburgh Traditional Building Forum on delivering the eighth Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival in August 2020; recognises the efforts of the forum in celebrating Edinburgh’s traditional buildings during COVID-19 restrictions, bringing together experts with the wider public online in order to demonstrate knowledge and skills across a whole spectrum of traditional construction skills; recognises that the festival was a collaboration between the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, Architecture and Design Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, SPAB, the Built Environment Forum Scotland, the Stone Federation Great Britain, the British Geological Survey, LDN Architects, the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust and City of Edinburgh Council Shared Repairs Service; believes that this collaborative approach plays a vital role in widening the public’s understanding of the importance of maintaining Scotland’s traditional buildings with the right knowledge and skills, and thanks each of the organisations for their ongoing efforts to protect and maintain Scotland’s historic built environment.

Supported by: Brian Whittle, Miles Briggs, Andy Wightman, Kenneth Gibson, Bill Kidd, Elaine Smith, Murdo Fraser, Jeremy Balfour, Richard Lyle


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

Edinburgh’s Climate Emergency: can heritage be part of the solution?
Date & time: Wed, 16 September 2020; 18:00 – 19:00.
Online event.
In May 2019, the City of Edinburgh Council formally declared a climate emergency and committed the city to becoming?a carbon-neutral city by 2030. In the final conversation of our summer lockdown series we will attempt to understand the likely impact of climate change on the Old & New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, as well as explore what we can do to help the city meets its goal ambitious goal.

Andy MacMillan Memorial Lecture 2020 – Jude Barber, Collective Architecture
Date & time: 24th September, 18:00 – 19:00.
Online platform: Online Event.
Join us for the annual Andy MacMillan Memorial Lecture 2020 and to announce the A&DS and RIAS Scottish Student Awards shortlist. Now in its 19th year, the awards show the five schools of architecture and recognise theirs and their students outstanding achievements. As ever, the awards mark the quality of Scottish architectural education.

Fabric First: A Green Recovery
Date & time: Wed, 30 September 2020; 18:00 – 19:00.
Online platform: The Meeting will take place using an online webinar platform.
Linda Fabiani MSP, invites you to attend the Cross Party Group on Architecture and the Built Environment debate and discussion. Speakers include:
•    Chris Morgan – Director John Gilbert Architects
•    Duncan Smith – Housing Asset & Energy Strategy Manager at Renfrewshire Council
•    David Pierpoint – CEO The Retrofit Academy Community Interest Company
•    Prof. Sandy Halliday Hon FRIAS – Principal at Gaia Research (Recent winner in the Top 50 women in Engineering)

Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, University of Stirling – Seminar Series
The Centre has a regular Tuesday seminar series, as well as hosting one-off events through the year. Tuesday lunchtime seminars offer a regular point of contact between staff and students with an interest in Environment, Heritage and Policy from across the University, and a warm welcome is also extended to anyone with an interest beyond the University. The aims are to share and ‘test out’ new ideas, seek wider collaboration, disseminate research, strengthen and expand upon the established links between the Divisions, and — most importantly — reinforce a strong and vibrant research culture. We also welcome external speakers. The seminars are very informal and have no single format.