BEFS Bulletin 345: Latest Strategy, Action Plans and a Plethora of Consultations

Get The Latest Built Environment News, Policy Developments, Publications & Consultations


Watch this space: with the 2024 Scottish Historic Environment Forum (SHEF) meeting next week, we look forward to hearing the address from Minister Christina McKelvie MSP, and bringing readers further details of Our Past Our Future (OPOF) delivery planning in due course.

Considering matters of strategy delivery, A Culture Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan was recently released. This document significantly updates the Culture Strategy and notes the substantial work across the heritage sector in relation to green recovery and traditional skills. There is much about collaborative working and obvious synergy with Our Past Our Future.

January has been a busy month at BEFS. The Places of Worship Forum met mid-month to further address the strategic future for places of worship. With growing public attention in this area we are extremely mindful of the steps necessary to support both heritage and communities during this time of transition. It was interesting to see the recent asks from the National Churches Trust: Every Church Counts: A Six Point Plan to Save the UK’s Church Buildings.

The Conservation Officers Group also met in the last few weeks; as ever many topics are raised for future discussion. An area of interest which is always of note is data around planning decisions, and greater understanding of consistency of decision making. It might be of interest to readers to further explore the Spatial Information Service | Improvement Service. There are many aspects to the data work of the Improvement Service, but (some) planning data is part of what they gather – the local authority specific hub can be found here.

When it comes to decision making, the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland have issued a call to South Ayrshire Council for transparency and preservation of the remaining North Wing and clock tower of Ayr Station Hotel, a historically significant landmark. Following the fire at the hotel in September 2023, concerns have now been raised over the lack of transparency in the decision-making process concerning the demolition of the South Wing of the hotel.

All local authorities have been challenged by the recent investigations around Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC).  Concerns have been raised about the use of RAAC in the construction of public buildings; mostly in flat roofing between the 1950s and 1990s. Aberdeen City Council has produced a straightforward FAQ guide for those concerned about their property. Please see the full guide here – RAAC Council Housing – Aberdeen City Council.

And finally, BEFS team are delighted to welcome Malini Chakrabarty who joins us this week as Communications Lead. Malini has extensive experience in digital communications in addition to an academic background in media and public policy research; so look out for exciting new communications initiatives from BEFS this year.



A Feasibility Study of Regional Materials Reuse Hubs in Scotland
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists Scotland
Net Positive Solutions, and consortia partners BE-ST, Green Thinking Ltd and The Rebuild Site have been appointed by Zero Waste Scotland to build on existing research regarding the viability of reuse hubs, part of which is to better understand the willingness and the ability of the construction industry and associated organisations in Scotland to supply materials to and source materials from a reuse hub. As part of the work, they are looking to gain insights across Scotland on the demand for physical or virtual reuse centres, how these could work within your region, what the barriers are and what material could be reused and repurposed most effectively.
*NEW* Closes 5 February 2024

Wellbeing and Sustainable Development (Scotland) Bill
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government is gathering views to help inform the scope of any legislation for a proposed Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill. The Bill aims to further improve decision making and the implementation of the National Performance Framework to ensure that all policy and delivery is focused on increasing the wellbeing of people living in Scotland, both now and in the future.
Closes 14 February 2024

Devolving powers for a Scottish Building Safety Levy
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government announced in its 2023-24 Programme for Government that it was seeking the transfer of powers from the UK Government to create an equivalent tax to the UK Government’s Building Safety Levy. This consultation, launched jointly by the UK Government and Scottish Government, invites views and evidence in relation to the proposal to devolve the requisite powers to the Scottish Parliament.
Closes 19 February 2024

National Parks in Scotland
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government invites individuals, communities, and organisations to develop and submit formal nominations for their area to become Scotland’s next National Park.
Closes 29 February 2024

Managing Change Underwater Heritage
Historic Environment Scotland
Views are being sought on the draft Managing Change guidance on Underwater Heritage. The aim of this guidance is to be a practical guide on increasing the understanding of underwater heritage along with identifying and managing the impacts of change in underwater heritage, while protecting the cultural significance of these issues. The new Underwater Heritage guidance will be part of the Managing Change in the Historic Environment guidance series. This guidance will be relevant to underwater marine planning, including work on the new National Marine Plan 2.
Closes 5 March 2024

Home Energy Model: replacement for the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP)
UK Government
The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) is the methodology currently used by the government to estimate the energy performance of homes across the United Kingdom. The Home Energy Model will replace the SAP for the energy rating of dwellings. This is a consultation on the Model while it is still at a formative stage, so that industry can participate in the development process.
Closes 6 March 2024

Social Housing Net Zero Standard in Scotland
Scottish Government
The social housing sector has led the way on energy efficiency in recent years and is well placed to build on this further while building in longer term ambition to transition to clean heating. This consultation seeks views on a new Social Housing Net Zero Standard (SHNZS) in Scotland. This new standard will replace the second Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH2).
Closes 8 March 2024

Proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill
Scottish Government
There is no way to meet a legal obligation to reach ‘net zero’ without changing the heating systems in the vast majority of buildings. The purpose of this consultation is to make everyone aware of the proposal to make new laws around the heating systems that can be used in homes and places of work, and to invite views on those proposals.
Closes 8 March 2024

Scotland’s draft Circular Economy and Waste Route Map to 2030
Scottish Government
This consultation invites views on the proposed priorities to accelerate more sustainable use of our resources, support delivery of a circular economy to 2030, and reduce emissions associated with resources and waste. It outlines what the Scottish Government intend to do, by when, and how they will work with others, to drive sustainable use and management of our resources, and delivery of Scotland’s circular economy up to 2030. The direction and actions set out in this Route Map are complemented by the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill and its provisions.
*NEW* Closes 15 March 2024

Guidance on inclusive design for town centres and busy streets
Scottish Government
When the design of town centres and busy street environments does not fully take into account the needs of all members of the community, people may become excluded from these areas and the essential functions that they provide. Potential barriers to access should be removed and not included in any scheme. This draft guidance was developed in response to research which identified that street design should consider the needs of everyone and should take into account all Protected Characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.
Closes 29 March 2024

Scottish National Adaptation Plan (2024-2029)
Scottish Government
The effects of climate change are already being felt by people in Scotland. That is why, as well as taking action to reduce emissions, we must also take steps to adapt to climate change. This consultation seeks your views on the Scottish National Adaptation Plan 2024-29. The final Adaptation Plan will only be effective if it is informed by Scots’ local and lived experience of climate change. During the public consultation period on this draft Adaptation Plan a formal public consultation will be opened on the Scottish Government’s ‘Citizen Space’. Alongside this the Scottish Government will run a series of events tailored to both delivery partners and the general public, to gather a wide range of views on the policy proposals in this draft Adaptation Plan.
*NEW* Closes 24 April



Additional Dwelling Supplement – change proposals: consultation analysis and Scottish Government response (Scot Gov 19/01/2024)

A Human Rights Bill for Scotland: consultation analysis  (Scot Gov 24/01/2024)



Fairburn Tower Refurbishment Project Completed for Landmark Trust (Narro Associates January 2024)

Register of Community Interests in Land – Community Bodies (RCIL-CB) (Registers of Scotland January 2024)

RIBA awards Royal Gold Medal 2024 to Professor Lesley Lokko (RIBA 18/01/2024)

Government must act now to protect tenants from ‘catastrophic’ impact of poor housing on health, warn MPs (UK Gov Health & Social Care Committee 19/01/2024)

AHSS Advocates Transparency and Preservation in Ayr Station Hotel Demolition Crisis (AHSS 22/01/2024)

Over a quarter of Scotland’s households in housing need (Homes for Scotland News 22/01/2024)

Number of Homes Insulated Through Government’s Landmark Schemes Drops 40% in a Single Year (New Economics Foundation 26/01/2024)

Europa Nostra and EIB Institute announce heritage sites in Europe shortlisted for the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2024 (Europa Nostra 30/01/2024)



New-build housing – how regulation can improve the consumer journey (CIOB December 2023)

Improving Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings: Guidance for Specifiers and Installers (Government of Ireland December 2023)

How changes to the immigration system could impact your firm (CBI 08/12/2023)

Report: Guidelines on innovative/emerging cultural heritage education and training paths (European Cultural Heritage Skills Alliance 27/12/2023)

Construction Leadership Forum: Transformation Action Plan (CLF January 2024)

Every Church Counts: A Six Point Plan to Save the UK’s Church Buildings (National Churches Trust January 2024)

Cities Outlook 2024 (Centre for Cities 22/01/2024)

What’s the impact of different forms of energy subsidies in crisis time? (Fraser of Allender Institute 24/01/2024)

Architecture and Design Scotland’s 2023 Annual Review (A&DS 30/01/2024)



A Culture Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan (Scot Gov December 2023)

House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee. Prevention in health and social care: healthy places First Report of Session 2023–24 (UK Gov 16/01/2024)

Infrastructure investment plan 2021-2022 to 2025-2026: carbon assessment (Scot Gov 17/01/2024)

Empire, Slavery and Scotland’s Museums (Scot Gov 22/01/2024)

Planning permission appeals: housing development statistics (Scot Gov 23/01/2024)

Development plan examinations: list (Scot Gov 23/01/2024)

Correspondence between the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee, Paul McLennan and Patrick Harvie regarding Housing to 2040 (Scot Gov 24/01/2024)

Rise in international visits: Overseas travel and tourism statistics published for Q3 2023 (Scot Gov 24/01/2024)

Scotland’s International Strategy (Scot Gov 24/01/2024)

Correspondence between the Director-General Scottish Exchequer and Public Audit Committee regarding Infrastructure Investment (Scot Gov 29/01/2024)

Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26: major capital projects progress update – December 2023 (Scot Gov 29/01/2024)

Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC): Cross Sector Working Group minutes 25 October 2023 (Scot Gov 29/01/2024)

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee 4th Meeting, 2024 (Session 6),
Housing (Cladding Remediation) (Scotland) Bill Second evidence session with stakeholders: Clerk’s Note (Scot Gov 30/01/2024)

Scottish Fiscal Commission Report on Spending Trends in the 2024-25 Scottish Budget (Scot Gov 30/01/2024)

Rural Affairs and Islands Committee 3rd Meeting, 2024 (Session 6), Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill: Clerk’s Note (Scot Gov 31/01/2024)



City Talks Podcast: Are we seeing the arrival of the post-retail High Street? (Centre for Cities 11/01/2024)

Inverkeithing pupils create Fife’s future heritage (Scottish Construction Now 18/01/2024)

ScotGov rent rise curbs blamed for ‘forcing’ landlords out (The Herald 19/01/2024)

Hostile architecture is making our cities even less welcoming (The Observer 21/01/2024)

Church as estate agent is a sign of the times (BBC News 22/01/2024)

The Scottish Planning System – Learning to live with NPF4 (Brodies 22/01/2024)

Scotland’s historic sites down £10m in visitor income (The Scotsman 22/01/2024)

Stamp duty land tax, the tax paid on the purchase of a property, is among our worst and most damaging taxes (IFS 22/01/2024)

Are Britain’s Abandoned Churches Worth Saving? (Sky News 23/01/2024)

Scottish taxpayers coughing up £3.7m running costs for half empty Government buildings (Daily Record 24/01/2024)

Record number of solar and heat pump systems installed in Scotland in 2023 (STV News 25/01/2024)

What barriers are still in place for women in architecture? (RIBA 25/01/2024)

National heritage underpinning the world stage (Heritage Futures 26/01/2024)

Businesses, academics and researchers in Scotland urged to apply for grants worth £450,000 on average to fund research (STV News 29/01/2024)



Link to Parliamentary Questions and Answers



Submitted by: Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: 23/01/2024
That the Finance and Public Administration Committee recommends that the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2024 [draft] be approved.



For further listings, please see our events calendar

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland – Mesolithic catastrophe: the impact of the Storegga Slide tsunami on the Mesolithic population of Britain
Date & Time: Thursday 8 February 2024; 6-7pm
Location: Hybrid – Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1EL and livestreamed via Zoom
This paper will explore events surrounding the largest marine megaslide tsunami so far recovered on the planet. Combined with the climatic cold period or ‘neoglacial’ within which it occurred known as the ‘8.2 kyr event’, it had significant effects on both the landscape, seascape as well as the human population of much of Britain. The Lecture will be presented by Dr Clive Waddington FSA MCIfA FSAScot.

AHSS Lecture – Phoenix Rising? A Reconstruction of Mavisbank with a View to Restoration
Date & Time: Monday 12 February 2024; 6.30-8pm
Location: Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL (wheelchair accessible). Also streamed online via Zoom.
Three centuries on since its founding, and fifty years since the fire that left Mavisbank a vulnerable shell, there is at last a real prospect of rescuing this internationally important place from oblivion. A forensic approach to research and analysis in the remarkable Clerk of Penicuik archive has enabled William Kay to create a full reconstruction of the original architecture, interiors, collections and designed landscape during Sir John Clerk’s tenure, 1723–1755. Tickets available from Eventbrite or on the door: £5 / students £2 /

Heritage Trust Network – So You Want to Work in Heritage
Date & Time: Thursday 15 February 2024; 6:30pm
Location: Online via Zoom
The Heritage Trust Network Youth Forum’s next event will cover what professionals look for in job applications, apprenticeships, volunteering and case studies. The event will include advice and tips from established heritage professionals and those who read the application forms, and members of the Youth Forum will share their stories and experiences.

AHSS Lecture – Hill House, Helensburgh
Date & Time: Thursday 22 February 2024; 7.30-9pm
Location: St Andrews West Church & Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4JP. Also streamed online via Zoom.
Liz Davidson, Project Director for the house, talks about the ongoing consolidation and conservation undertaken by the National Trust for Scotland. Tickets available from Eventbrite or on the door: £5 / students £2 /

RSA Scotland – Fellows Festival
Date & Time: Thursday 29 February 2024; 2-6pm
Location: French Institute of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1RN
All are welcome to join the RSA Fellowship for the 2024 Fellows Festival event in Scotland.
The theme of inspiring inclusion is going to take centre stage in this packed programme of speakers and topics to engage, motivate and excite. As the organisation embarks on their 270th anniversary year, they will demonstrate how our heritage has defined their commitment to courage, reflecting on how nearly three centuries of social impact has shaped our behaviour and looking at how we can be even braver and bolder in our social change ambitions.



C&BS – Effective copywriting: from blank page to impactful story
Date and Time: Thursday 8 February 2024; 10am-4:30pm
Location: Thorn House, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PR
This interactive online course blends practical writing exercises with essential tips and techniques, guiding you through the entire copywriting process: planning, structuring, drafting, editing, and proofing. While the course provides a specific focus on writing a case for support, the resulting learning can be applied to all kinds of fundraising and other communications.

Stirling City Heritage Trust – Level 3 Award in Energy Efficiency for Older and Traditional Buildings – Retrofit Course
Date and Time: Wednesday 28 & Thursday 29 February 2024; 9am-4:30pm
Location: 2-day course at Enterprise House, Springkerse Business Park, Stirling FK7 7UF
The course will be delivered by Professor John Edwards, an expert in sustainable buildings, having helped develop British Standard (BS7913) for older and traditional buildings and was involved in producing BSI PAS 2030, PAS 2035 and PAS 2038. The course cost is being subsidised through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as part of the SCHT Retrofit Project and Historic Environment Scotland. The subsidised course fee is £300 (normally £690) & includes: Course fee, course e-book and an examination fee.

C&BS – Introduction to being a Board Member (March course)
Date and Time: Thursday 7 & 14 March 2024; 10am-1pm
Location: Online
Do you have new trustees who have joined your Board recently or have you taken on a trustee role yourself? This course covers everything you need to know to launch your Board career, from trustee duties, roles, meeting management, advocacy and fundraising to strategic planning, finances and much more!



The Heritage Trust Network – Volunteering opportunities
Youth Forum
The Heritage Trust Network is seeking young people aged 18-30 who are interested in the rescue, restoration and management of historic buildings, structures and places who want their voice heard in the heritage sector. Volunteers will be involved in: shaping the new Youth Forum; creating recommendations and advice to help members involve young people in heritage in a democratic way; co-designing, leading and taking part in online and in-person events; and creating online content including social media posts, blogs or vlogs
If you are interested in joining, please fill out a short application form here
Digital Heroes Project Volunteer
Are you digitally skilled, interested in helping heritage organisations and available to volunteer? The Heritage Trust Network are seeking people based in Scotland to join their Digital Heroes project which matches up digitally skilled young people with one of their member organisations to help them undertake a digital project. Examples include doing social media posts, digitising an archive or creating a digital marketing plan. If you are interested in volunteering as a digital hero, please fill out a short application form here