BEFS Bulletin – Help Protect Cultural Heritage

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


BEFS is looking for your help. The Draft UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity)(Scotland) Bill has completed Stage 2 of its progress through the Scottish Parliament and the definition of “environment” currently excludes cultural heritage. This could not only weaken environmental protections for the historic environment but also means the Bill is inconsistent with both Scottish and EU legislation. We need you to tell your MSP about this as soon as possible so that it can be amended at Stage 3. Find out what you can do to help here.

BEFS is supportive of the Scottish Government’s Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland, particularly the inclusion of existing homes within the definition of infrastructure; the support for resilient and sustainable places, and the acceptance of the recommendations previously made by the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland. Read the full consultation response here.

Work is well underway on the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) which will review and update the current NPF3 and Scottish Planning Policy. The Scottish Government have now published a Position Statement to update the public on progress. The Position Statement sets out the governments current thinking now that they have digested the evidence received from stakeholders through the Call for Ideas. BEFS Policy & Strategy Manager reflects on the statement here.

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning has launched Transforming Places Together: digital strategy for planning. Transforming Places Together sets out a vision for Scotland to have a world leading digital planning system that helps connect people with their places to deliver a prosperous, green and fair country and a framework to achieve whole-system digital transformation of planning over the next 5 years.

Nick Wright outlines how community-led planning is an opportunity not only to progress community projects, but also to influence public services and future development of land and buildings, in our blog this week.


Consultation: Scotland’s Third Land Use Strategy
Opened 2 Dec 2020 and closes 17 Jan 2021.

Scotland’s Economic Performance – The contribution of place-based economic development zones
Opened 21 Nov 2020 and closes 20 Dec 2020.

National Planning Framework: Position Statement
Opened 26 Nov 2020 and closes 19 Feb 2021.

Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill
Closes 7 Dec 2020.

HES – Talking About Heritage
Closes 15 Dec 2020.

Community Heritage Volunteer Recruitment Campaign
Closes 15 Dec 2020.

Consultation Responses

Scottish Planning Policy and Housing – technical consultation: analysis (SG 25/11/20)


Building standards technical handbooks 2020: summary of changes (SG 02/12/20)

Scottish house condition survey: 2019 key findings (SG 01/12/20)

Scottish House Condition Survey Key Findings Infographic Summary 2019 (SG 01/12/20)

COVID-19 and Communities Listening Project: A Shared Response (CUKT 26/11/20)

Fourth National Planning Framework: position statement (SG 26/11/20)

Transforming Places Together: digital strategy for planning (SG 26/11/20)

National Planning Framework 4 – improving air quality outcomes: research (SG 25/11/20)

Housing Land Allocation, Assembly and Delivery: Lessons from Europe (SLC 24/11/20)

Transforming Planning, Places and Scotland (Summary of findings) – The benefits of investing in a digital planning service (RTPI 23/11/20)

Transforming Planning, Places and Scotland (Policy Impact Analysis) – The benefits of investing in a digital planning service (RTPI 23/11/20)

Transforming Planning, Places and Scotland (Case studies) (RTPI 23/11/20)

Transforming Planning, Places and Scotland (User and customer impact analysis) – The benefits of investing in a digital planning service (RTPI 23/11/20)

Transforming Planning, Places and Scotland (Economic impact analysis) – The benefits of investing in a digital planning service (RTPI 23/11/20)

How investing in digital planning can transform Scotland over the next 10 years – Infographic (RTPI 23/11/20)

Traditional Buildings Health Check – Pilot Project Review (HES 23/11/20)

Proposed amendments to Scottish Planning Policy: Key Agencies Group joint statement (SG 23/11/20)

Scottish Replacement For EU Structural Funds (SG 19/11/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance (SG 19/11/20)

Has ‘affordable housing’ remained affordable across Scotland? (Shelter Scotland 11/20)

Scotland’s Green Recovery and Climate Emergency Response: interim assessment of progress (Change Works 11/20)

Accelerating Digital: Learning from a digital inclusion accelerator programme (CUKT 11/20)

Making a Difference: Libraries, Lockdown and Looking Ahead (CUKT 11/20)

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 Development Planning – Transitional Guidance (SG 11/20)

Scottish Government News Releases

Scottish House Condition Survey: 2019 Key Findings (SG 01/12/20)
The Chief Statistician has released figures on fuel poverty, energy efficiency, the condition of housing and other key descriptors of the occupied housing stock in Scotland.

Increased funding commitment for affordable homes (SG 29/11/20)
Housing providers and the construction sector can plan more affordable homes thanks to an additional £200 million funding commitment announced today by Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell.

Transforming planning for the digital age (SG 22/11/20)
A £35 million five-year programme will make it easier for planners to work together and for members of the public to get involved in creating and shaping their places.

Replacement for European Structural Funds (SG 19/11/20)
Meeting Scotland’s distinctive needs and priorities. Plans for a Scottish replacement for European Structural Funds after EU exit have been published.

News Releases

Scottish Land Fund boosts 29 community groups with £3.6m funding (SCN 01/12/20)
Plans to purchase a 55-acre site in Lochinver for the provision of affordable housing is among a number of projects across Scotland have received £3.6 million of funding in the latest round of grants from the Scottish Land Fund.

Architect calls for embodied carbon targets to be enshrined in planning policy (BD 01/12/20)
Developers must be incentivised to reduce embodied carbon right from the start of projects if the UK is to make significant progress towards its net zero-carbon commitments, a leading architect has said.

RTPI Scotland welcomes NPF4 position statement (RTPI 27/11/20)
The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has welcomed the publication by the Scottish Government of the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) Position Statement.

RIBA announces new chair elect (SCN 27/11/20)
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today announced that architect and past RIBA president Jack Pringle has been selected as chair elect of the RIBA board of trustees.

Community Land Scotland calls for new powers to control sales of large estates (SHN 26/11/20)
Community Land Scotland (CLS) has called for new powers to control sales of large estates and to break up landowning monopolies in its new manifesto for a sustainable Scotland.

New project funding and loans to support sector resilience (NLHF 25/11/20)
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has resumed accepting small and medium project funding applications and launched an interest free loans pilot.

Digital planning could benefit Scottish economy by £200m, says RTPI report (RTPI 23/11/20)
The Scottish economy could benefit to the tune of more than £200m over the next ten years by introducing digital planning services, according to a study by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in Scotland.

My Place Awards: 2021 (SCT 11/20)
The My Place Awards celebrate community-led built environment projects that have transformed their locality.  The Awards honour projects that have excelled in terms of design and community involvement/impact.

Opinion & Comment

Kevin Stewart: Building a planning system for the future (SHN 02/12/20)

Communities Realising the Potential of Vacant and Derelict Land (SLC 26/11/20)

Land for Housing – What Europe can teach us (SLC 24/11/20)

Edinburgh’s 1919 Act Housing, Part I: ‘Healthy Houses for the People is the Best Public Health Insurance’ (MD 24/11/20)

Five things we’ve learned about improving Stirling’s historic built environment (HES 23/11/20)

Finding the way to build back better (Building Design 19/11/20)

What would you ask a conservator? (HES 18/11/20)

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-33486: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of research by Scottish Renewables recording a 20% reduction since 2011 in the number of local authority planning department staff, how the forthcoming NPF4 planning reforms will ensure that the planning system will be focused on tackling the climate emergency.

Question S5W-33487: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of research by Scottish Renewables recording a 20% reduction since 2011 in the number of local authority planning department staff, how it will ensure that councils are appropriately resourced to deliver the planning consents needed to deliver the renewable energy generation required to meet the net-zero target.

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-33094: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 06/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government how much funding it has allocated to improve the energy efficiency of (a) business buildings, (b) local authority buildings, excluding housing, (c) social housing and (d) domestic housing in each of the last five years.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (18/11/2020)

Question S5W-33091: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 06/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government how much it is has invested in (a) decarbonising heat and (b) improving energy efficiency in each of the last five years, broken down by sector.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (30/11/2020)

Question S5W-33042: Claire Baker, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2020
To ask the Scottish Government how the £97 million in UK Government consequentials announced on 5 July 2020 has been allocated as packages of support for the arts, culture and heritage sectors, and how much is still to be distributed.
Answered by Fiona Hyslop (16/11/2020)


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

Make your Mark in Volunteering – Campaign Launch
Date & time: Fri, 4 December 2020; 11:00 – 12:30.
Fiona Hyslop Cabinet Secretary and OPiT CEO Group chair Alex Paterson, Historic Environment Scotland invites you to the MYM Launch.

Dunglass Harbour: Its History, Repair and Management
Date & time: Mon, 7 Dec 2020, 18:15.
Online Event.
Architect Ben Tindall reveals how a typical small harbour can be brimming with interest, from geology and mining to smuggling and science, as well as fishing and disaster. Characters encountered in the talk include the explorer Captain Basil Hall, the engineer Joseph Mitchell, Somerville the Soldier, and the artist E A Walton. We will also discover how repairs in the marine environment can be complex, particularly when funding is hard to get.

Ding Dong! Merrily, at home! with Edinburgh World Heritage
Date & time: 6pm, Thursday 10 December 2020
Online: Zoom (ticketholders will receive joining info in their email confirmation
Don’t suffer a blue Christmas, join Edinburgh World Heritage at home for the holidays with our special guests on Thursday 10th December. We’ll wish you a merry Christmas with mistletoe and wine through your screen (BYOB). Baby, it’s cold outside, so park yourself in front of the (virtual) fire and toast to a wonderful Christmastime with an evening of music, song, poetry and performance. Special guests include Alexander McCall Smith in the role of Mr. Charles Dickens, as well as soloists from St Mary’s Music School, and members of the choir of Old St Paul’s.


Retrofitting Traditional Buildings: Principles & Practice
Date & time: A two part Online Masterclass. Day 1 – 4th December / Day 2 – 11th December 2020; 9.30am-1.00pm both days.
Price: £100 per person.
Guest speaker, Nick Heath of NDM Heath Ltd , will examine current issues, solutions and emerging best practice in how to achieve ‘responsible retrofit’ – sustainable, low-energy traditional buildings with retained character, minimal risk to buildings and occupants and real benefits for all.


Administration Co-ordinator
Arts & Business Scotland are looking for an experienced Administration Co-ordinator, currently based in our Edinburgh office. We are looking for an all rounder, with exceptional organising and multi-tasking skills, a sound knowledge and experience of databases, websites and social media.
Closing date: Wednesday, 9 December 2020.

NCCSS seeks a new Chairperson
The National Committee on the Carved Stones in Scotland (NCCSS) is seeking a pro-active chairperson to lead this unique national organisation and work with representative members to ensure that carved stones of all ages in Scotland play an active part in our appreciation and understanding of Scotland’s past.  The role is voluntary and will require a commitment to actively contribute to Committee meetings, to give firm strategic direction to the organisation, set overall policy and define goals. Applications are sought from persons with specialist knowledge of curatorial and/or research opportunities and challenges relating to carved stones from all periods in Scotland.
Closing date is Monday, 14th December 2020.

Corporate Services Manager
The Green Action Trust, one of Scotland’s leading environmental charities, is seeking a Corporate Services Manager. This is a great opportunity for a highly driven, competent and innovative individual with a successful background in corporate administration and/or change management to put their own mark on shaping our future.
Closing Date: 14.00 on Wednesday 16 December 2020.