BEFS Bulletin – Programme for Government 2021-22

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


BEFS was delighted to see the Parliamentary Motion from Gordon MacDonald congratulating the Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival. The motion, which highlighted collaboration as well as the focus on our existing environment and the skills necessary to maintain our environment, received excellent support.

In a new blog post, BEFS Director Ailsa Macfarlane takes a look at the Scottish Government’s 2021-22 Programme for Government, and gives an overview of where our existing built environment sector might find areas of potential influence and opportunity.

Based on discussion at the Historic Environment Working Group (HEWG) and taking into account Member views expressed, BEFS submitted responses to the Historic Environment Scotland Grants Refresh Consultation (02/09/21) and the Culture Sector Funding Call for Views (08/09/21).

A new online platform has launched to enable culture and heritage organisations to publicise initiatives they are organising in connection with COP26. ‘Culture at COP’ will showcase all COP26 – related art, culture, and heritage events (in-person and virtual) for diverse audiences. It will be designed to link to the COP26 themes and key COP26 Policy Issues as identified by the Climate Heritage Network.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) have announced fourteen outstanding new Scottish buildings as winners of Scotland’s national architecture awards. Bell Street Stables, a conversion of a Victorian council depot to create 52 new homes for affordable rent in the centre of Glasgow, was the winner of Historic Environment Scotland’s Conservation and Climate Change Award, a Special Category Award of the RIAS Awards. Five Scottish projects were also amongst the winners of the RIBA National Awards.

RIAS are currently preparing for their annual convention, Draw Together, 28 September – 1 October. Mark your diaries too for their Conservation Autumn Seminar 2021: Adapt, Retrofit, Re-use on 26 October – further details forthcoming. Meanwhile, the Architectural Society of Scotland Forth & Borders Group have released details of their programme of Winter Lectures 2021-22.

Glasgow City Heritage Trust have launched their new project Gallus Glasgow, inspired by Thomas Sulman’s 1864 ‘bird’s eye view’ map of the city. An interactive microsite featuring a zoomable version of the map enables viewers to explore it in great detail, and the project also features a series of events.

Historic Churches Scotland have released the first edition of a new e-newsletter. Settle down for a read and enjoy insightful articles from the charity’s current volunteers, founding Trustees, and Executive Director Victoria Collison-Owen.

Volunteers are sought by Scotland’s Churches Trust to help with the task of recording the exterior and interior features of Scotland’s at risk church buildings, with the aim of capturing their history and context as part of a national record.

The SCAPE Trust have released a refreshed coastal archaeology Sites at Risk map and app. New features include an historic map slider, a search function and the ability to download records.

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Domestic Energy Performance Certificates Reform Consultation
Closes 8 October 2021

Home Energy Efficiency: Equity Loan Pilot – Call for Evidence
Closes 8 October 2021

Scottish Building Regulations: Proposed changes to Energy Standards and associated topics, including Ventilation, Overheating and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Closes 15 October 2021

UK Government Review of Architects Regulation: Call for Evidence
Closes 8 November 2021

Consultation Responses

BEFS – HES Grants Refresh Consultation Response (02/09/21)

BEFS – Culture Sector Funding Call for Views Response (08/09/21)

Edinburgh World Heritage have responded to the Draft 2030 Climate Strategy for Edinburgh (10/09/21)


David Hume Institute: A Scotland of Better Places (06/21)

SEDA: A New Vision for Land Use in Scotland – 6 Conversations (08/21)

BMJ: Associations between community cultural engagement and life satisfaction, mental distress and mental health functioning using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS): are associations moderated by area deprivation? (03/09/21)

Historic England and the York and North Yorkshire LEP: Celebrating Our Distinctive Heritage Report (07/09/21)

Historic England: Theft of Metal from Church Roofs: Prevention and Response (10/09/21)

AHF: Our commitments to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

Scottish Government News Releases

Schools buildings across Scotland are in their best condition since recorded figures began (SG 07/09/21)

First grants awarded from £50m fund to transform derelict land (SG 10/09/21)

Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme (VDLIP): 2022-23 application form (SG 10/09/21)

News Releases

Repair plan to save Leith’s historic Victoria Swing Bridge (BBC 06/09/21)

Opinion & Comment

Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland: Christie’s clarion call can’t wait another decade (7/09/21)

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 S6O-00166: Kaukab Stewart, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/09/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made in supporting the removal of flammable cladding.

Parliamentary Questions and Answers

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 ref. S6W-02313 Asked by: Craig Hoy, South Scotland, Date lodged: 17 August 2021
To ask the Scottish Government when National Planning Framework 4 will be published.
Answered by Tom Arthur on 1 September 2021
Answer: The Scottish Government are continuing to progress work on a draft NPF4 and will lay it in the Scottish Parliament in Autumn 2021. Public consultation will run alongside Parliamentary scrutiny.

Question ref. S6W-02110 Asked by: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 9 August 2021 R
To ask the Scottish Government what information it has on the estimated number of (a) empty private residential properties, (b) empty public sector residential properties, (c) second homes and (d) self-catering units there currently are.
Answered by: Shona Robison on 3 September 2021

Question ref. S6W-02111 Asked by: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 9 August 2021 R
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the consultation on its short-term lets draft Licensing Order and Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA), what method it used to estimate that there are 32,000 short-term lets in Scotland, and whether it will provide a breakdown of this figure by how many are (a) a single room in a property, (b) a shared room in a property, (c) an entire property and (d) unconventional accommodation such as an outhouse or yurt.
Answered by: Shona Robison on 3 September 2021

Question S6W-02389: Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 23/08/2021 R
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the commitment in the Scottish National Party election manifesto, what action it is taking to ensure that Scotland’s historic estate meets its net zero obligations.
Answered by Jenny Gilruth on 6 September 2021

Question S6W-02155: Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee City West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether the climate emergency is a material consideration in Scotland’s planning system.
Answered by Tom Arthur on 6 September 2021

Question S6W-02126: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what funding it has allocated to Historic Environment Scotland to enable historic sites to be made safe for reopening to members of the public, and what the timescales are for the reopening of these sites.
Answered by Jenny Gilruth on 7 September 2021

Question ref. S6W-02205 Asked by: Graham Simpson, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 12 August 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what its most recent estimate is of government investment in infrastructure, and what information it has regarding how this compares with other OECD countries.
Answered by Michael Matheson on 8 September 2021

Other Parliamentary Activity

CaCHE (UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence) is taking over the secretariat duties of running the Scottish Parliament cross party group (CPG) on housing, convened by Graham Simpson MSP.

The Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee is still to confirm its work programme but has agreed on some immediate issues including taking evidence on boundary reviews and considering draft laws on the licensing of short-term lets in November.


For the full list of BEFS Members’ upcoming events see our events calendar.

SCHT: McLuckie & Walker – the Men Who Built Stirling
Date & Time: Thursday 16 September, 18:00
Join Stirling City Heritage Trust’s Dr Lindsay Lennie for an online talk to discover more about Stirling’s taste for roller skating, as well as its historic hospitals, pubs, and stylish villas. This webinar follows on from the McLuckie & Walker Exhibition which was produced with the assistance and archival material from Stirling Archives, The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling Local History Society, and The British Newspaper Archives, and was hosted by ‘Made In Stirling’ throughout June 2021.

GCHT: Paint your Zoom Room
Date & Time: 23 September, 14:30-16:00
This workshop encourages participants to draw a section through the interior of their chosen room, using the same architectural drawing conventions that would have been used when the dwelling was first designed and constructed. However, this drawing will show finishes, furniture, decoration and contents; expressing the room as the lived in experience it is in 2021.

SHBT: Doors Open Day – Custom House, Leith
Date & Time: 25 September, 10:30 – 16:30
Location: Edinburgh
The oldest custom house in Scotland, now an A-listed Georgian Building, is delighted to open its doors to the public as part of Doors Open Day. Visitors will enter in timeslots to ensure smooth movement around the building, and will have an opportunity to hear about the ongoing restoration project before visiting our tenants’ studios and seeing the building’s historic features. Booking is essential.

GCHT: Atlantic Slavery Hidden in Plain Sight in a Victorian City
Date & Time: 29 September, 19:30
Sulman’s Bird’s Eye View of Glasgow was completed in 1864, thirty years after chattel slavery was abolished in the British West Indies, and one year before slavery was abolished in the United States of America. Join Dr Stephen Mullen as he explores how transformation of the Victorian city was shaped by elites wealthy from Atlantic slavery, revealed by the panoramic detail of Sulman’s map.

SoAoS: Searching for the Ice Age Pioneers: Excavations at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay
Date & Time: 11 October 18:00-19:00
Online: YouTube Live.
The Society of Antiquaries of London and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland are delighted to announce a joint online lecture for this autumn. Professor Steven Mithen FSAScot will present a lecture focusing on his work at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland.

AHSS: Not Dead Space: Edinburgh’s Five World Heritage Site Graveyards
Date & Time: 11 October, 18:30
Both Online and In-Person at Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.
Five council-owned graveyards lie within the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, each contributing to the Site’s outstanding universal values. This talk with Dr Susan Buckham describes the history, development and significance of the five WHS burial grounds over their long lifetimes and explores how best to breathe new life into them in a sustainable way, in order to support their heritage values and their role as urban greenspaces.

SCAPE: Scottish Salt Symposium
Date & Time: 16 & 17 October, 09:30 – 17:30
Location: Brora, Sutherland
A two-day event in Brora, Sutherland will bring historians, archaeologists, enthusiasts and salt producers together to celebrate the once vital, but little-known, Scottish salt industry. Keynote speaker historian Professor Chris Whatley, author of The Scottish Salt Industry 1570-1850, will be followed by wide-ranging programme of talks and field trips.


IHBC CPD – Conservation Engineering with Ian Hume
Date & Time: 28-29 September, 10.00-13.00 both days
Online: GoToWebinar
The sessions are intended to help conservation professionals understand some of the structural engineering problems and solutions which historic buildings might have.  The sessions will attempt to put conservation professionals in a position to hold informed discussions with project structural engineers, some of whom may not be particularly familiar with the constraints which conservation might put on their structural solutions.

IHBC at COP26 – Conserving our Places Conserves our Planet
Date & Time: 1-12 November
Online: Podcast
A podcast series to raise awareness and understanding of how conservation philosophy and practice contributes towards meeting the challenge of climate change.  Episodes released throughout the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 in Glasgow “COP26” feature sectoral experts sharing their expertise, experience, and views on what’s being done now and what’s to come.

IHBC: COTAC Conference 2021 – Protecting our World, Protecting our Heritage
Date & time:  23-24 November, 10.00-13.00 both days
Online: GoToWebinar
Day 1 will explore the expected impact of climate change on the built heritage, and the potential impact of climate change mitigation on the built heritage.  Day 2 will explore ways to support development of the training, skills, and expertise needed to protect the built heritage and reduce emission of greenhouse gases.


Edinburgh World Heritage: Communications Officer
Edinburgh World Heritage is looking to appoint an ambitious and creative Communications professional who is looking to further develop a wide range of key communication skills, from classical PR/media management, to extending the reach and impact of EWH’s large digital footprint, as well as helping design and promote heritage-themed events and other city-wide initiatives.
Closing Date: 17 September 2021

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