BEFS Bulletin 351: BEFS calls for certainty and consistency

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In light of the current changes within the Scottish Government, and the leadership change to come; BEFS would like to stress to all those elected members within the Scottish parliament that clarity of vision, certainty of targets, and consistency of messaging around progress towards net zero is essential to ensuring our existing built environment can support a just transition towards a green economy; whilst growing local skilled employment; and supporting all of our places for the future.

BEFS continues to support sustainable solutions for our existing built environment, noting the Infrastructure Commission’s proposals to prioritise making the most of existing infrastructure (including homes) ahead of building new assets. In Scotland, around 20% of our housing stock is pre-1919 (over 50% is pre-1964). This demonstrates the scale of potential for the climate, and social good, that could be affected by policies incentivising, supporting, and ensuring well maintained and appropriately retrofitted homes and public buildings. Action for our existing building stock is essential to meeting net zero. We will not be able to build our way out of the climate and biodiversity crisis.

Scotland’s existing built and historic environment remains an agent of economic recovery. Our built and historic environment deserves to be protected, cared for, and enhanced – it has sheltered us economically and socially for over a century, and we need to enable investment to ensure its ability to do so for the future.


Historic Environment Scotland have published their Annual Operating Plan 2024-25 setting out their priorities to support delivery of activities for public benefit, in light of current economic developments. The plan sets out HES’s key objectives and strategies for the upcoming financial year, focusing on maintaining and enhancing Scotland’s historic environment while adapting to the challenges posed by the current economic climate.

The Scottish Government has released finalised guidance on Local Living and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods. The guidance aims to support the delivery of local living, ensuring daily needs can be met within a place, by introducing a Local Living Framework and complementing existing placemaking tools. It also presents a structured approach to implementation and features case studies showcasing local living across various contexts, with more examples to be added as good practice emerges.

The Shaping Places for Wellbeing Programme, a partnership between the Improvement Service and Public Health Scotland, aims to improve Scotland’s wellbeing and reduce inequalities by changing collective approaches to the places where people live, work, and play. Funded by The Health Foundation, Scottish Government, and COSLA, the programme enables partnership-based action at a local level while addressing the health of our planet. It has been supporting place-based work in seven project towns, and resources covering various topics can be found on the Shaping Places for Wellbeing Knowledge Hub.



A Biodiversity Metric for Scotland’s Planning System – Key Issues consultation
Nature Scot have published a Key Issues paper to inform work developing a biodiversity metric for Scotland’s planning system. Commissioned by the Scottish Government, in support of National Planning Framework 4 policy 3(b), the paper alerts stakeholders and anyone interested in the development of a biodiversity metric for planning to the scope of the work that is to be undertaken. The paper can be viewed on the NatureScot website.
Closes 10 May 2024

Enabling powers for Scotland’s Environmental Impact Assessment regimes & Habitats Regulations
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government are seeking views on proposed enabling powers that would better allow for future amendments to Scotland’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regimes and Habitats Regulations. These are key legislative frameworks which underpin environmental protection and assessment processes. The proposed enabling powers would help replace powers lost because of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) and would help ensure the relevant legislation can remain fit for purpose in future.
Closes 13 May 2024

Housing (Scotland) Bill Call for Views
Scottish Parliament
The Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee and Social Justice and Social Security Committee are seeking views on the Housing (Scotland) Bill. The Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee is the lead committee for the Bill, but the Social Justice and Social Security Committee will consider Part 5 (making provision about homelessness prevention) and Part 6 (insofar as it relates to fuel poverty) as these matters fall within its remit.
*New* Closes 17 May 2024

Call for Views on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill
Scottish Parliament
The Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee is seeking your views on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill. The Bill was introduced by the Scottish Government on 13 March and covers land reform – there are various provisions imposing requirements in relation to owners of larger estates and the transfer of larger estates; lease for environmental purposes – the Bill requires the Scottish Government to publish a model lease for environmental purposes; and small landholdings and agricultural tenancies – there are various provisions in the Bill which the Scottish Government says are to modernise the law. Find out more about the Bill and read its accompanying documents.
Closes 21 May 2024

Masterplan Consent Area Regulations
Scottish Government
The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 introduced MCAs – which will enable planning authorities to take a place leadership role, by proactively consenting the type and quality of development they wish to see in their areas. The Masterplan consent area regulations consultation covers the type of development which can be authorised, potential locations for MCAs and the procedures for making a scheme. It includes two sets of regulations: covering the main process for making MCA schemes and relating to EIA of MCA schemes. The separate consultation on ‘Investing in Planning’ also includes proposals for recouping costs of preparing MCA schemes.
Closes 22 May 2024

Development plan amendment regulations
Scottish Government
With the move to National Planning Framework (NPF) and Local Development Plans (LDPs) having a review period of 10 years, the 2019 Act introduced the provision for them to be amended between full review cycles. This enables the planning system to respond where newly emerging matters arise.
The development plan amendment regulations consultation covers proposals for the regulations. The aim is for procedures to amend both NPF and LDP to be proportionate and to provide a process that is more responsive and streamlined, whilst balancing the need for robust justification, engagement, and scrutiny. This will ultimately give decision makers some flexibility of process, based on the scale and significance of the amendments.
Closes 22 May 2024

Investing in Planning
Scottish Government
This consultation on resourcing Scotland’s planning system is in response to current resourcing challenges. It builds on ideas generated in a stakeholder workshop held in November 2023 and sets out a series of proposals which aim to improve capacity and build resilience particularly within planning authorities.  In addition to inviting stakeholder views on the proposals outlined, the consultation encourages stakeholders to suggest further ideas on alternative ways to support delivery and build resilience.
Closes 31 May 2024

Time limits for enforcement action for unauthorised Environmental Impact Assessment development
Scottish Government
Comments are invited on proposals to disapply Section 124 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (‘the 1997 Act’) concerning the time limits for taking enforcement action on unauthorised development which requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This follows a case of unauthorised development in Northern Ireland for which an EIA was required, but not undertaken. The need for EIA was only identified after the time limit for enforcement had expired and the development was immune from enforcement action. As the Scottish planning system is similar to the system in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government considers it is possible, although unlikely, that a similar situation could arise in Scotland.
*NEW* Closes 11 July 2024

Compulsory Purchase Reform
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government have committed to reform and modernise compulsory purchase legislation. As a first step, they have established an advisory group to help support the reform programme. The group, to be co-chaired by the Chief Planner and Roseanna Cunningham, brings together several expert practitioners with first-hand experience of the compulsory purchase process. They recognise, however, that a range of organisations have an interest in this area and are consulting broadly and are keen to hear from a wide range of voices as the work moves forward.
Please get in touch at

Strategic Plan Survey – Scottish Civic Trust
The Scottish Civic Trust are refreshing their Strategic Plan. To inform their future activities they are surveying people across Scotland about key themes related to their work. All input will help them better empower Scotland’s communities to act for shared spaces and places. All survey results are anonymous and will be stored on a Google Drive to which only Scottish Civic Trust has access. Analysed and summarised survey results will be shared in reports to Scottish Civic Trust’s funders and may appear in their annual reports.



Local Living and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods
The Scottish Government has published finalised guidance on Local Living and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods, following a consultation on the draft in summer 2023. The guidance aims to support the delivery of local living, ensuring daily needs can be met within a place. It introduces a Local Living Framework, complements existing placemaking tools, and presents a structured approach to implementation. The guidance also features case studies showcasing local living across various contexts, with more examples to be added as good practice emerges.



Project Announcement: HAZEL, a pilot generative artificial intelligence (AI) guidance assistant (Historic England 23/04/2024)

Committee brands Government answers on adapting to heatwaves a “missed opportunity” (Environmental Audit Committee 30/04/2024)



Our Creative Future – The Manifesto (Creative UK April 2024)
Manifesto for Cultural and Creative Industries to deliver their full potential, generating social and economic prosperity across our nation

Historic Environment Scotland Annual Operating Plan 2024-25 (HES 16/04/2024)

Kick the Dust programme evaluation: empowering young people in heritage (National Lottery Heritage Fund 25/04/2024)



Draft regulations: amendments to the VAT (Refund of Tax to Museums and Galleries) Order 2001 (UK Gov 25/03/2024)

Finance Committee approves Aggregates and Devolved Taxes (Administration) (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 (Scot Gov 29/04/2024)

‘Place and Wellbeing: integrating land use planning and public health in Scotland’ briefing paper to reflect changes brought about by NPF4 (Public Health Scotland April 2024)

Local Government, Housing and Planning: Official Report and Minutes (Scot Parl 16/04/2024)

Climate Change Committee Scotland report – next steps: Net Zero Secretary statement  (Scot Gov 18/04/2024)

Climate change action: policy package (Scot Gov 18/04/2024)

Correspondence between Màiri McAllan and the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee regarding the climate change policy actions announced in parliament on Thursday 18 April (Scot Gov 18/04/2024)

Debate: Impact of Environmental Regulations on Development (Built Environment Committee Report) (House of Lords 19/04/2024)

A changing climate? The Scottish Government’s newly announced policy package (Scot Parl 19/04/2024)

Powers secured to introduce building safety levy (Scot Gov 19/04/2024)

Correspondence between Paul McLennan and the Convener for the  Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee regarding short-term lets (Scot Gov 22/04/2024)

Local Government, Housing and Planning: Official Report and Minutes  (Scot Parl 23/04/2024)

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill (Scot Parl 23/04/2024)

Housing (Cladding Remediation) (Scotland) Bill Stage 2 Amendments (Scot Parl 23/04/2024)

Clean heating and energy efficiency grants to get to Net Zero (Scot Gov 24/04/2024)

Scottish Parliament: Portfolio Question Time: Historic Environment Scotland (Reopening of Sites) (Scot Parl 24/04/2024)

Place Directors: fact sheet (Scot Gov 24/04/2024)

New powers to strengthen council planning (UK Gov 25/04/2024)

High Streets (Designation, Review and Improvement Plan) Bill 2nd Reading HL Bill 69 (UK Parl 29/04/2024)

Amendments to the Agricultural and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill (Scot Parl 29/04/2024)

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee 13th Meeting 2024 (Scot Parl 30/04/2024)



‘Community capital’: ownerless Scottish properties to be offered to local schemes (The Guardian 23/02/2024)

Blog: Our support for the Skills Investment Plan (Museums Galleries Scotland 17/04/2024)

Industry leaders issue rally cry for government to introduce Heat in Buildings Bill (Scottish Housing News 18/04/2024)

Podcast: Housing Bill part 1: Rent controls and tenants’ rights with Dr John Boyle (Scottish Housing News 24/04/2024)

Scotland’s new heat standard ups the zero carbon ante (The RIBA Journal 24/04/2024)

Safety inspections at Scotland’s historic sites ‘90 per cent completed’ (The Scotsman 24/04/2024)



Link to Parliamentary Questions and Answers



SURF Awards – Shared Learning Event: Effective approaches to housing led regeneration
Date & Time: Thursday 9 May 2024; 10am-1.30pm
Location: Grassmarket Centre, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QA
Short description: Shared learning workshop featuring the winner and highly commended projects from the Housing and Regeneration category of the 2023 SURF Awards, exploring successful approaches to housing led regeneration initiatives providing wider community outcomes.

SPAB Scotland – Visit to the Mills of Dean Village
Date & Time: Saturday 11 May 2024; 10am-12pm
Location: Stockbridge Market, Saunders Street, Edinburgh EH3 6TQ
To celebrate National Mills Weekend, join SPAB Scotland for a springtime walk around beautiful Dean Village with its 800 years of milling history. Led by tour guide Estelle Meyer and stone conservation expert Nic Boyes, the visit will involve exploring the area’s fascinating industrial history and discussing some of the conservation and building maintenance issues spotted along the way. The walk will also include entry into the rarely open St Bernard’s Well, a wonderful Greco-Roman building housing a natural spring.

Historic Environment Scotland – Improving Access Spring Symposium
Date & Time: Wednesday 15 May 2024; 9.30am-3pm
Location: The Barracks, Stirling FK8 1QZ
The Improving Access project is exploring how to improve access to the heritage sector’s workforce in Scotland and understand the current barriers to people looking to enter the workforce. This symposium will discuss the project’s learnings and facilitate conversations with the sector, encouraging organisations to input into the implementation of the project’s recommendations and testing of any future pilot approaches. The event will be open to the historic environment sector, funding groups and community organisations engaging in accessibility work.

Icon Scotland – Repatriation of Objects from Scottish Collections Webinar 
Date & Time: Thursday 16 May 2024; 2.30-4.45pm
Location: Online
The Icon Scotland Group’s seminar will discuss the repatriation of objects from Scottish Collections. The talks will look at the complexity of repatriation, while exploring the roles of conservators and other collection care professionals, as well as the significance of these heritage items and potential conservation measures.

SURF Awards – Shared Learning Workshop: Delivering place-based regeneration initiatives
Date & Time: Thursday 16 May 2024; 10am-1.30pm
Location: Kinning Park Complex, 43 Cornwall St, Glasgow G41 1BA
Short description: Shared learning workshop featuring the winning projects from the Improving Scotland’s Places and Community Led Regeneration categories of the 2023 SURF Awards, exploring successful approaches to regenerating Scotland’s places.

Date & Time: Wednesday 22 May 2024; 10am-4.30pm
Location: Bellfield Church, 16B Bellfield Street, Portobello, Edinburgh EH15 2BP
This in-person CPD event, led by conservation accredited structural engineer Ian Hume, will explore conservation philosophy from a structural engineering viewpoint. Participants will gain insights into how structures work, ways to avoid structural interventions, problems to look for, and methods for dealing with structural issues in traditional buildings and designated heritage assets. The event aims to help attendees better understand the challenges faced by structural engineers and identify heavy-handed solutions. Free for IHBC members/supporters, £20 for non-members. Lunch not provided. Web link for booking/more information. Book with IHBC Scotland

SURF Awards – Shared Learning Workshop: Using creativity in regeneration
Date & Time: Thursday 23 May 2024; 10am-1.30pm
Location: Civic House, 26 Civic St, Glasgow G4 9RH
Short Description: Shared learning workshop featuring the winner and highly commended projects from the Creative Regeneration category of the 2023 SURF Awards, exploring successful approaches to linking creative arts and culture into regeneration initiatives.

Archaeology Scotland – Archaeological Research in Progress Conference 2024
Date & Time: Saturday 25 May 2024; 9am-5.30pm
Location: Soutar Theatre, AK Bell Library, 2-8 York Place, Perth PH2 8EPThe annual ARP Conference is Scotland’s premier event in archaeological research. This year’s conference, hosted by Archaeology Scotland in collaboration with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, will provide insights into ongoing archaeological projects from various periods across Scotland. Participate either in person or online. The conference will be recorded and later available on our YouTube channel for those unable to attend.

Historic Environment Scotland – Documenting Scotland’s Historic Environment
Date & Time: Wednesday 29 May 2024; 9.30am-4pm & 10am-12.30pm
Location: The Engine Shed, Stirling
Three morning talks at the Engine Shed will review a wide range of site recording techniques, from traditional survey methods to the latest innovations in digital documentation such as laser scanning, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and photogrammetry. Explore how certain methods should be selected to obtain data from a site or meet the specific needs of a conservation project. A networking lunch will provide you with the opportunity to continue discussions and explore the Engine Shed. In the afternoon, the speakers will lead a hands-on demonstration of some of the innovative digital documentation in the Engine Shed’s main hall.

SPAB Scotland – Limeworking at Saddell Castle
Date: Saturday 1 – Sunday 2 June
Location: Saddell, Kintyre PA28 6RA
Join SPAB Scotland for this weekend event at Category A listed Saddell Castle. Under the guidance of experts, you’ll learn traditional lime working techniques and carry out real repairs on a live site, as part of a major conservation project run by the Landmark Trust.

SURF Awards – Launch Event
Date and Time: Thursday 6 June 2024; 2-2.45pm
Location: OnlineLearn about the 2024 SURF Awards process, 5 award categories, and insights from past winners. Scottish Government to officially open awards for applications. Ideal for those considering entering or re-entering.

SPAB Scotland – Working Party at Tibbermore Church
Date: Wednesday 12 – Sunday 16 June 2024
Location: Tibbermore, Perth PH1 1QJ
Join SPAB Scotland to help repair this historic church inside and out and learn traditional building craft skills along the way – including lime pointing, plastering and harling, Scotch slating, and signwriting. These friendly Working Parties are a great space to learn about building conservation, whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned professional. There will also be a celebratory ceilidh at the end of the week. In partnership with Historic Churches Scotland.

IHBC Annual School 2024 – #IHBC Reading 2024
Date & Time:  Wednesday 12 – Saturday 15 June 2024
Location: Online and in-person: Reading Town HallThe IHBC is delighted to welcome Gerard Lemos, Chair of English Heritage as the opening speaker for the IHBC Annual School 2024, Reading – Place & Building Care: Finance, policy & people in conservation practice. Join in person or online for an enriching experience diving into the world of heritage conservation. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to learn, network, and explore heritage conservation and planning challenges in managing buildings, property and places together. Insights, learning and engagement for all disciplines and interests. Flexible, low-cost online delegate engagement options and bursaries available.Booking open now.



SPAB – Repair of Old Buildings Course
Date & Time: Monday 20 – Friday 24 May 2024
Location: Museum of the Home, Kingsland Road London E2 8EA

This popular short course has been presented by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings since the 1950s. Run over five days, this course delivers an intensive programme of lectures and visits to building repair projects. Presented by leading building conservation professionals, the Repair Course considers British and international approaches to the conservation of old buildings.


C&BS – Introduction to being a Board Member
Date & Time: Tuesday 28 May & Tuesday 4 June 2024; 4-7pm
Location: Online
Do you have new trustees on your Board, or have you taken on a trustee role yourself? If so, this is an essential course for launching or refreshing your Board career. C&BS Head of Board Development, Catriona Reynolds, takes new trustees and Board members through their paces in two information-packed, hands-on sessions.


Salary:  Pro rata of £23,400 p.a. (Real Living Wage)
Status: Full-time (37.5 hours p/w); 12 months fixed term
Location: Working from home or from an agreed shared workspace anywhere in Scotland.
The Heritage Trust Network is recruiting for the post of Heritage Trainee (Scotland). This exciting opportunity continues the Network’s focus on welcoming new people to the sector, already evident through the Network’s Youth Forum and involvement with the Make Your Mark campaign. The post has been designed to help the successful applicant develop on-the-job skills, knowledge, and networks to help them gain early-career access to the heritage sector. The role is funded by Historic Environment Scotland and National Trust for Scotland. More information and application details here.
Closing date: 10pm on Monday 6 May 2024
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.