BEFS Bulletin – Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 HES Survey

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


The Our Place in Time (OPiT) CEO Forum met on Thursday 2nd April to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s heritage sector. The (virtual) meeting was chaired by Alex Paterson, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), with representation from BEFS, COSLA, Museums Galleries Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Volunteer Scotland. The Heritage Trust Network Scotland also fed in additional information. The key issues arising were:

  • Organisational viability – cash flow and income concerns
  • Retaining / preserving key assets, skills and capacity for the future
  • Aligning funding sources and initiatives, both existing and new
  • The eligibility / flexibility of some UKG initiatives to the sector, in particular the Job Retention Scheme and the Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Membership – how do we engage and retain members during this time?
  • Research and Intelligence – importance of sharing any research and intelligence, looking to where value can be added and not duplicating efforts
  • Construction site working – clearer guidance required
  • Recovery Phase – opportunity to accelerate the green new deal?
  • Horizon Scanning – what might the future look like for the sector

In these unprecedented times, HES have launched a new survey to understand the impacts of this fast-changing situation on the historic environment sector across Scotland. BEFS has worked with HES on the creation of this repeatable survey that aligns with research being undertaken in England and seeks to identify issues specific to Scotland. To prevent survey saturation this is the main survey we will be circulating, and we would strongly encourage you to respond, cascading this survey to your members if applicable.

BEFS has also written to the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture requesting that when she responds to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee request on measures being taken to support the cultural sector, measures for heritage are specifically identified, with reference to the grants delivered through Historic Environment Scotland. Read the full letter here.

Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 advice and guidance for the heritage sector with our overview of useful websites. It is worth noting that Historic Environment Scotland have updated their Grants Coronavirus Guidance page.

BEFS responded to the Energy Efficient Scotland: Improving energy efficiency in owner occupied homes consultation. BEFS response focuses on: well-maintained buildings being the first step to safer, warmer homes; the EPC ratings being assessed and applied accurately for building type; and adaptations being appropriate for the health of both the occupants and the building in question.

Have you applied to Historic Environment Scotland’s Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund? The fund provides grants to support community efforts to protect, promote and engage with Scotland’s coastal or waterway heritage. Submit your expression of interest by 30th April 2020.

Found yourself daydreaming about the wonderful projects you worked on last year? Why not take the opportunity to submit your favourite project or initiative as a best practice case study to illustrate the breadth of activity undertaken in the historic environment in Scotland? More details here.



Affordable housing (Audit Scotland 09/04/20)

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 – participation requests: evaluation (SG 08/04/20)

Coronavirus: quantifying the impact on the Scottish Economy (FAI 07/04/20)

Review of International Experience of Community, Communal and Municipal Ownership of Land (SLC 07/04/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): construction sector guidance (SG 06/04/20)

Planning Procedures and COVID-19: Chief Planner letter April 2020 (SG 03/04/20)

Scottish energy statistics hub index (SG 02/04/20)

The impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the tourism industry (VisitScotland)

Economic Insight into the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the Heritage Sector in the UK (NLHF 31/03/20)

Scottish Crown Estate: strategic management plan (SG 31/03/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): culture and creative sector support (SG 30/03/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): building standards – special measures to enable the occupation of new buildings: letter to local authorities (SG 30/03/20)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): building standards – special measures to enable the erection of temporary care assistance buildings: letter to local authorities (SG 30/03/20)

The Principles of a Local Discretionary Transient Visitor Levy or Tourist Tax (SG 27/03/20)

European Structural and Investment Funds: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response (MHCLG 26/03/20)

Report on the Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (LGCC 26/03/20)

What’s going on in Scottish local authority housing finance? Briefing paper (UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence 26/03/20)

Beyond bailouts discussion paper (IPPR 26/03/20)

Scottish Government News Releases

Guidance for construction industry (SG 06/04/20)
Work on construction sites, unless it is for essential projects, should stop immediately, as confirmed in new guidance for the construction industry.Climate Change Plan update (SG 01/04/20)
Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced that the Scottish Government will not be publishing the Climate Change Plan update at the end of April.

Tenants to be given extra protection (SG 29/03/20)
Private and social tenants will be given increased protection from eviction during the coronavirus pandemic.

Supporting tourism through coronavirus (SG 28/03/20)
Rural Economy and Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing has pledged financial support following the closure of businesses including cafes, pubs, restaurants, cinemas and leisure centres.

News Releases

Supporting the present and future of community-led heritage regeneration projects in Scotland (AHF 07/04/20)
The AHF is delighted to be able to announce that, thanks to new financial support from Historic Environment Scotland’s Organisational Support Fund, we are able to offer small grants to support community and not-for-private profit organisations and their heritage regeneration projects across Scotland.CIfA and ALGAO issue joint statement on COVID-19 and archaeology in the planning system (CiFA 07/04/20)
ALGAO UK and CIfA have published a statement on adapting to challenges to archaeology in the planning system. The statement notes that contractors and clients may need to adjust expectations as to whether work is possible at the current time.

Members Appointed to the Board of Historic Environment Scotland (HES 06/04/20)
The Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Ms Hyslop, today, (Monday 6 April 2020), announced the appointments of Andrew Davis, Emma Herd, Jane Williamson and Terry Levinthal as Members of the Board of Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

Archaeology publications available to download for free (BCA)
The CBA has been dedicated to publishing the best in British archaeology for more than 60 years and we continue to make archaeological research widely available. Many of our publications have been available to download through the Archaeological Data Service (ADS) but we have decided that we will temporarily make all of our publications available to download for free.

RTPI Scotland welcomes emergency planning legislation (RTPI 03/04/20)
RTPI Scotland has welcomed emergency legislation that will ensure planning permissions due to lapse during the six-month ‘emergency period’ will be extended for a further year.

V&A Dundee director Philip Long to lead National Trust for Scotland (BBC 02/04/20)
V&A Dundee founding director Philip Long is stepping down to become the new chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland.

Government confirms the biggest changes to building safety in a generation (MHCLG 02/04/20)
New measures announced include mandatory sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage in all new high-rise blocks of flats over 11 metres tall.

A call for communities to help protect their historic environment (KSB 01/04/20)
We are very pleased to have been awarded more than £220,000 by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to engage communities across the country to develop and tell the heritage story of where they live – and we are looking for communities to take part.

10 new sites awarded the European Heritage Label (EHL 31/03/20)
Cultural heritage is where the future meets the past, brings us together and is part of our common history. Pleased to announce 10 new sites awarded the European #Heritage Label for their role in history and culture.

Culture at your fingertips from home (DCMS 28/03/20)
Across the UK, arts organisations, museums and theatres are unveiling innovative digital plans to ensure culture and creativity is accessible for all.

Advice: how to consider the environment in your heritage project (NLHF 03/20)
Think long term, assess the positive – and negative – impacts of your actions, and remember: small changes can make a big difference.

Europe’s 7 Most Endangered heritage sites 2020 announced (EN 24/03/20)
Europa Nostra – the European Voice of civil society committed to cultural and natural heritage – and its partner organisation, the European Investment Bank Institute, have announced today the 7 Most Endangered monuments and heritage sites in Europe for 2020.

Opinion & Comment

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-28178: Gordon Lindhurst, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 31/03/2020
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, what its response is to reports that Airbnb and other similar businesses are continuing to list properties for rent, and what measures it has put in place to ensure that such businesses comply with its guidance.

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-28177: James Dornan, Glasgow Cathcart, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/03/2020
To ask the Scottish Government what impact COVID-19 will have on the delivery of (a) the 50,000 affordable homes target by the end of this parliamentary session, (b) fuel poverty targets and (c) energy efficiency measures.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (03/04/2020)

Question S5W-27992: Oliver Mundell, Dumfriesshire, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/03/2020
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the advice that it is issuing to help control the spread of COVID-19, what action it is considering in relation to the planning system for large-scale projects, such as wind farm developments, where public consultation might be curtailed.
Answered by Kevin Stewart (31/03/2020)


The SPAB goes online!
Due to the COVID-19 social distancing measures, the SPAB is bringing our learning resources to you to! With your needs in mind, we have created a series of online learning videos for professionals and enthusiasts of the built environment. These include:
  • CPD sessions on key topics such as ‘Mould and Timber Decay’, ‘Traditional Roofing Techniques’ and ‘Understanding Building Performance’;
  • Lectures on interesting conservation case studies, such as Hill House;
  • Lectures on architectural history, including a photographic virtual tour of Glasgow;
  • Free SPAB Member skill-share sessions on topics such as ‘Ventilating your Home’, ‘Identifying & dealing with buildings at risk’ and ‘Installing wireless services in an old home’.

Understanding Building Conservation – Online Classroom
Date & time: 2nd & 3rd June 2020 AM – 10:00am – 16:00pm.
Location: Online.
Improve your decision making when working on and managing traditional buildings, including both unprotected traditional buildings, and those which are protected due to their historic significance.

Please note that Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust’s entire Architectural Conservation CPD: Principles & Best Practice for Traditional and Historic Buildings 2020 programme has been postponed and rescheduled for 2021. Details of new dates here.


Help needed to maintain and host Doors Open Days website – paid contract!
We’re looking for help to maintain and host our Doors Open Days website. This is a paid contract!
Check out the brief below or download it here. Please circulate to anyone you think may be interested! Closing at 9am Friday 17 April 2020.Vacant & Derelict Land Project Manager
This exciting 2 year post is the result of a partnership between the Scottish Land Commission and the Development Trusts Association Scotland which seeks to address the challenging problem of vacant and derelict land.
Closing 24th April 2020.

Trust Seeks New Chair
The Scottish Civic Trust is now seeking a new Chair of its Board of Trustees. With a clear Strategic Plan in place, a highly motivated staff team and a dedicated Board of Trustees, this is an excellent opportunity to fulfil a leading role in a respected national body with an exciting agenda.

The Scottish Civic Trust is recruiting for new Trustees to help us deliver an exciting and sector-leading range of priorities, aimed at celebrating Scotland’s built environment, taking action for its improvement, and empowering its communities.