BEFS Bulletin – Climate, Decolonising & Conversations

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


At the end of May BEFS took part in a cross-sector Climate Vulnerability (CVI) workshop, assessing the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.  With facilitators from James Cook University Australia, Historic Environment Scotland, and Edinburgh World Heritage, participants were invited (over 5 sessions) to explore vulnerabilities caused by climate change, in relation to the world heritage site’s Outstanding Universal Value and the wider community.
BEFS was particularly interested in the application of the CVI process to an urban site and the wider aims to identify where capacity and opportunities for climate change adaptation and achieving net zero targets might lie. Applying a risk-matrix and rapid-assessment approach and considering the different aspects of the World Heritage property in detail was a valuable exercise. Just as valuable perhaps, was the chance to hear different perspectives and voices from a wide range of participants. BEFS looks forward to seeing how the CVI informs a draft climate action plan for the Old and New Towns!
In our guest blog you can read about the process from the perspective of those directly involved with managing the world heritage site. Read more here.

New funding for the sector – #COP26Conversations Fund
This fund has been designed to help cultural and heritage organisations begin to raise their profile as spaces for communities to engage with the climate challenge and explore positive actions. The fund is being delivered in partnership between Museums Galleries Scotland, the Scottish Library and Information Council and Historic Environment Scotland, it will offer small grants (up to £1,000) to museums, libraries and historic environment organisations to host small scale, community focused events and activities in the build up to and during COP26.

The most recent edition of the Scottish Planner, RTPI’s Journal contains articles by BEFS past and present Directors, as well as a review of regeneration from SURF’s past Chief Executive. Full access here.

BEFS was part of the audience for the well-attended Scotland’s Towns Partnership launch of the Town Toolkit. It’s clear that there are some fantastic examples and case studies – especially around turning empty spaces into business spaces and how to use vacant property. The toolkit is intended to be a resource of practical advice, and it links to a funding finder within the tool kit. Honest feedback is being sought – and the team welcome any useful information and case studies from users – feed back here.

The Managing Imperial Legacies group ran an informative webinar on Decolonising Heritage at the start of July. BEFS was there to understand the depth of organisational change that is necessary to provide more equitable narratives, narratives that address our links and legacies to the transatlantic slave trade, whilst embracing the discomfort of those changes. There was appreciation for all those furthering this progress, and adapting to discomfort, as part of our collective and individual stories. A conference is planned for 2022.

Equity and the climate crisis in on the mind of Scottish Civic Trust who are looking for speakers for their lecture series on Heritage, Equity and the Climate Crisis – full details here.

BEFS recently responded to the recent Local Place Plan Regulations consultation. BEFS response supports the Regulations as they stand, but notes that many of the concerns around LPPs remain unaddressed by the consultation. Guidance and further clarity is needed around a number of issues. Read BEFS and Member responses here.

Historic Environment Scotland are now seeking a new Chair – details can be found here Closes 16th August

BEFS corresponding organisation south of the border, The Heritage Alliance are also currently advertising for a new Chair, see details here Closes 31st July

Last, but very much not least – BEFS are delighted to welcome newest Associate Member Stirling City Heritage Trust. We’ll hear more from them directly in due course, but until there’s a full introduction, please see their website – and also note the opportunity to work with them in the vacancies section below.


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

Draft 2030 Climate Strategy – Edinburgh
Closes 12 Sep 2021.

Consultation Responses

Scotland’s Fourth National Planning Framework Position Statement – Analysis of responses to the consultation (SG 25/06/21)

Planning Performance and Fees Consultation – Analysis of Responses


Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk (CCC 16/06/2021)

Parks for People: why should we invest in parks? (NLHF 07/2021)

Green Heat in Greenspaces (GHiGs) project data (IS 07/2021)

ALVA Tourism Recovery Tracker (via STA 07/2021)

Briefing on Climate Change (SPICe 07/2021)

Building a Green Recovery (IfG 07/2021)

Healthy Homes Scotland (PHS via CaCHE 05/07/2021)

Scottish Government News Releases

Infrastructure Investment: Andrew Watson, director for budget & public spending at the Scottish Government, has written to the Public Audit Committee with the latest report on the progress of Major Capital Projects for the six months ending March 2021.

Building Standards Futures Board minutes: June 2021

Scottish Government Advice & Guidance on returning to offices (Covid 19) 

Environmental Standards: The instrument establishing Environmental Standards Scotland has been formally lodged by the UK Government.

News Releases

Europa Nostra – Call for Nominations – 7 Most Endangered Programme
Launched in 2013 and starting its 7th edition, the 7 Most Endangered Programme is a civil society campaign to save Europe’s endangered heritage. It raises awareness, makes independent expert assessments, proposes recommendations for action and seeks to rally support to save the selected endangered sites. Being on the 7 Most Endangered List often serves as a catalyst for positive change and as an incentive for mobilisation of the necessary public or private support.

CivTech Alliance Challenge 7 – School Building Use
We currently do not fully understand how the physical spaces in schools and educational buildings are utilised beyond timetabling and term-time considerations, and without full understanding, effective planning and management is not possible. This has the potential to detrimentally impact many aspects of the building’s performance – for example in terms of air quality, which if not optimal has the potential to spread diseases such as Covid 19.
However if we could understand how our educational buildings are being used, we could make informed decisions on how we plan, invest in, and utilise them to best effect. So we want to gain an understanding about how people travel through buildings, and how they occupy rooms, spaces and external facilities, and in doing so realise a number of benefits including increased pupil wellbeing, identifying new capacities within buildings for growth and expansion, and improving the learning environment through data driven building management decisions.

Opinion & Comment

How we measure energy efficiency in our homes isn’t working (01/07/2021)

Architecture & Design Scotland – Whole Place Approach 29/06/2021 

National Trust for Scotland – Shaking Off the Past (National 04/07/2021)

Carbon cost of demolishing Derby Assembly Rooms (AJ 06/2021)

Construction groups unite with proposed new carbon reporting rules (RICS 05/06/2021) 

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”.

Parliamentary Questions & Answers

Question ref. S6W-00749 Craig Hoy, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 15 June 2021
To ask the Scottish Government how many homes in each local authority area in the South Scotland parliamentary region have been returned to use with support from the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, in each year since 2011.
Answered by Shona Robison (29/06/2021)

Other Parliamentary Activity

The Scottish Parliament is in recess from 26th June 2021 – 29th August 2021
The UK Parliament will be in recess 22nd July 2021 – 6th September 2021

UK Renewable Energy: The Scottish Affairs Committee has published its notes from its visit to Orkney from Sunday 27 – Monday 28 June as part of its renewable energy in Scotland inquiry.

UK Withdrawal Agreement: The first UK-EU annual report on the functioning of the Withdrawal Agreement has been published.

UK Building Safety: The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published the Building Safety Bill. The legislation aims to ensure there are people responsible for safety during the design, build and occupation of high-rise buildings.


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

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: In Conversation with David Walker
Date & time: Wednesday 14th July 2021 | 7.30pm BST
In GCHT evening lecture series ‘Transforming Glasgow’, we are looking to the past for inspiration and possible solutions. The series focuses on how Glasgow has changed and reinvented itself in a variety of ways from the latter half of the 20th century onwards to today. How have these changes come about and what has the impact been? What lessons can be learned?
Join us for a screening of our interview with Professor David Walker, a leading figure from the early days of conservation in Glasgow & Scotland, as we explore the huge amount of work that was done in the 1960s and since to protect Glasgow’s heritage and impress upon the people in power how significant it is to the city.

CIfA Ethics workshop
Date & time: July 21st, 2021 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Using case studies developed from real-life experiences in archaeological practice, participants will use ethical guidance and experience to formulate and discuss their reactions and solutions to these ethical quandaries. This represents a valuable opportunity for participants to undertake Continuing Professional Development/Education and it can help professional archaeologists to gain facility in setting about and responding everyday ethical situations.

Pathways to Traditional Skills; A European Perspective
Date: Tuesday 24 August 2021 – one day conference
Historic Environment Scotland has led a research outcome of the Erasmusplus Traditional Building Skills project working with Scottish and EU partners comparing educational routes into building craft skills and developing new courses in schools and colleges. This conference will report the findings from this work, assess how we can learn from other models and consider the future of building craft skills and how they can be passed on to the next generation.

SURF Annual Conference – Partners in Place
Dates: 24th, 25th, 26th August 2021
Booking now open for a series of three 90min virtual sessions focusing on: Post-Covid Recovery; Place-based Regeneration and Climate Change.


CPD: Heritage Impact Assessments with Georgina Allison
Date & time: Tues.13th July, 12:30-1:30pm
Online: GCHT Zoom Meeting
Join GCHT for this CPD lecture delivered by conservation accredited architect Georgina Allison, covering the process, expertise and importance involved in a Heritage impact assessment, along with some case studies, to gain knowledge pertinent to all architects and conservation professionals undertaking work on historic buildings.
This CPD is being delivered as part of GCHT’s “THE GREENEST BUILDING HAS ALREADY BEEN BUILT” programme, in line with COP26 2021.

Architectural Conservation CPD: Timber Decay and Repair in Traditional Buildings
Date & time: Wed. 25 August, 12:30-13:30 (from 12:15).
Online via Microsoft Teams, streamed live from Lower City Mills, Perth.
The more technical second half of the 2020 CPD programme opens with this session on timber decay and repair. Delivered by Historic Environment Scotland’s Technical Research Manager Roger Curtis, this CPD will look at the use of timber in traditional construction, decay processes, remedial measures and repair techniques to structural and finishing timber. 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).


Tender Opportunity – Stirling City Heritage Trust
Stirling City Heritage Trust is seeking a suitably qualified consultancy to help develop a 5 year Strategic Plan. Closing Date: Wednesday 13 July 2021, 12 noon

Fife Historic Buildings Trust – Project Development Officer
A new full-time fixed term post, funded by Historic Environment Scotland, to work with the FHBT team to develop new historic environment regeneration projects in Fife, principally the restoration and re-use of historic buildings at risk. Closing Date: noon – Thursday 29th 2021

Edinburgh World Heritage – Graveyards Engagement Officer
Edinburgh World Heritage is looking to appoint a Graveyards Engagement Officer to play in key role in engaging audiences in one of our five historic burial sites in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. Closing Date: Friday 30th July at 12noon

Director of Scotland’s Churches Trust
Due to the retirement of the present post holder at the end of 2021, it is looking to recruit a Director who will be responsible for the day to day running of the Trust and related activities, and who will report to the Board of Trustees.
Closing Date: 1 September 2021

Volunteer with ?Glasgow Doors Open Days
Become a part of one of Glasgow’s largest annual cultural events, by volunteering with Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival! Meet new people, boost your CV, get involved in our city’s heritage and help others enjoy their time at the festival.