BEFS Bulletin – New year, new NPF4, new challenges

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


Happy New Year from all at BEFS. We know that each new year brings its own challenges, and rewards. In the spirit of collective-action we hope to continue to support the sector to minimise the first and maximise the second. Whatever 2023 may bring, we’ll continue to keep you well informed!

At the end of 2022 BEFS Director provided a brief overview of the Scottish Government draft Budget 2023-2024. The overview highlights a few headline figures which may be of interest across the breadth of the existing built environment.

The eagerly anticipated Scottish Parliament debate (and vote) on approval of the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) has been scheduled for the afternoon of 11 January 2023. The Scottish Government does not intend to make any further revisions to the NPF4 before inviting the Parliament to approve it.

On the revised draft NPF4, the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee has published its report pointing out that the biggest concern for the committee was the lack of planners, specifically planners with skills to meet the challenges of NPF4 in achieving the ambitions set out in the document. Space for improvements, including the delivery programme was also recognised.

BEFS associate Edinburgh World Heritage has launched a Climate Emergency Grant providing non-repayable funding to private owners and public, private and third sector organisations to carry out targeted energy efficiency improvements or climate change adaptation interventions alongside conservation repairs in their properties – specifically involving historic windows, doors and rainwater goods. Please see the guidance notes for more information.

BEFS member Under One Roof is looking for a communications and engagement professional with the skills to help expand the organisation’s reach with tenement flat owners and housing professionals.

Congratulations from BEFS members the IHBC go to Laure Emery, Nicholas Uglow, Christian Clarkson and James Legard of the Simpson & Brown Heritage Consultancy Team, on winning the second joint SAHGB-IHBC Heritage Research Award for their research into the history and development of Edinburgh’s Old Royal High School.

And finally, BEFS would like to add their congratulations to Peter Aiers, awarded OBE in the King’s New Year Honours list. Very deserved for his services to heritage, and we thoroughly enjoyed working with Peter during his time at the Churches Conservation Trust!



UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard – Call for Evidence
UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard joint working group
To develop the Standard, benchmarks will be agreed for the operational energy usage and embodied carbon performance levels today, and limits and targets will be set out for future years based on the industry’s required decarbonisation trajectory. The project is seeking case study data from the real estate and built environment industry. Sector groups and building typologies include heritage buildings.
*Deadline extended* Closes 11 January 2023

Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee inquiry into Community Planning
Scottish Parliament
There are two different surveys: the first call for views is aimed at members of Community Planning Partnerships (organisations or individuals). The second survey is aimed at other organisations or individuals who have an interest in community planning.
Closes 13 January 2023

Consultation on Historic Environment Scotland’s first Regulatory Framework
The Regulatory Framework is a high-level description of the regulatory and advisory services HES deliver.
Closes 14 February 2023

Local development plan evidence report – defining Gypsies and Travellers: consultation
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government is seeking views on a proposed definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’ for the specific purposes of the planning legislation, engaging with members of the Gypsy/Traveller community and other travelling communities, those working closely with them, third sector organisations/representative bodies of the Gypsy/Traveller community.
*New* Closes 15 February 2023

Consultation for Scotland’s new Historic Environment Strategy (OPiT)
Closes 20 February 2023


Consultation Responses

Report on the Revised Draft National Planning Framework 4 (LGHPC 21/12/2022)



Use of private and public greenspace by housing tenure during the COVID-19 pandemic (Public Health Scotland 25/10/ 2022)

2022 Listed Building and Conservation Area Owner/Occupier Survey (Historic England December 2022)

The Pandemic & Beyond: The Arts & Humanities Contribution to Covid & Recovery (University of Exeter 08/12/2022)

2022 Scottish Agritourism Growth Tracker  including pull factors such as historic houses and buildings (VisitScotland 05/12/2022)

Waste and Resources Plan Towards a circular economy (2022-2025) (HES 12/12/2022)

Resourcing the Planning Service: Key Trends and Findings 2022 (RTPI 14/12/2022)

A first glance – Scottish budget 2023-2024 (Fraser of Allander Institute 15/12/2022)

Official for National Statistics cost of living insights (ONS 15/12/2022)

Report into the Potential for Place-based Heritage Regeneration in Northern Ireland (AHF 21/12/2022)


Scottish & UK Government Publications

Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and student housing: research (SG 12/12/2022)

A nature positive Scotland – Scotland’s strategy to tackle the nature emergency (SG 13/12/2022)

Biodiversity strategy to 2045: tackling the nature emergency (SG 13/12/2022)

Land acquisition powers and land ownership restrictions in European countries: evidence review (SG 14/12/2022)

Welsh Government review of Cadw to be led by Roger Lewis (Welsh Gov 14/12/2022)

Response from Patrick Harvie to Alex Rowley MSP regarding the Proposed Domestic Building Environmental Standards (Scotland) Bill (SG 15/12/2022)

Agreement on social rents for 2023-24 (SG 21/12/2022)

The Architects (Fees, Electronic Communications and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022 (UK Gov 21/12/2022)

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Report on the Revised Draft National Planning Framework 4 (Scot Parl 21/12/2022)

Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee Report on the Legislative Consent Memorandum (LCM) for the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (Scot Parl 22/12/2022)


News Releases

Winners of the 2023 European Capitals of Smart Tourism Competition: Pafos (Cyprus) and Seville (Spain) cities have to excel in 4 criteria including cultural heritage & creativity. (European Commission 10/11/2022)

National Trust for Scotland sets out new ten-year plan for St Kilda (NTS 01/12/2022)

Flow Country World Heritage Project Consultation Results & Responses and what lies ahead (Flow Country Partnership 02/12/2022)

Dealing with damp – a new Joint Position Statement on moisture and its effects on traditional buildings: Principles and competencies (SPAB 13/12/2022)

STA Update: Scottish Tourism Alliance responds to Scottish Government Budget Statement 2023-24 (STA 15/12/2022)

Response to Scottish Government Draft Budget 2023/24 announcement on 15 December and 10% budget cut (Creative Scotland 15/12/2022)

Initial statement on the Scottish Government’s 23-24 budget (Culture Counts 16/12/2022)

Historic England Refreshes Energy Saving Guidance for Older Buildings (HE 16/12/2022)

HES welcomes grant in aid from Scottish Government budget (HES 19/12/2022)

EU replacement funding 60% shortfall (Scot Gov 30/12/2022)
Scotland to miss out on more than £300 million in European support under the UK Government’s replacement funding programme.

Heritage Treasures – take part on 11 January 2023 (Heritage Fund 04/01/2023)


Opinion & Comment

Why Venice has delayed its ‘tourist tax’ – again (The Local 07/12/2022)

Stone mason awarded £3.5m damages for Elgin Cathedral dust disease (The Herald 13/12/2022)

20 Minute Neighbourhoods in revised draft NPF4 (SURF 16/12/2022)

Estate of the heart: the landlord set to give up his family’s lands (The Herald 18/12/2022)

COP15: Key outcomes agreed at the UN biodiversity conference in Montreal – detailed overview (CarbonBrief 20/12/2022)

SNP ministers criticised for further delays to energy strategy (The Herald 21/12/2022)

Let’s talk about our historic built environment (The Planner 22/12/2022)

Kevin McCloud calls for grade III status on grand designs (The Times 02/01/2023)

How Madrid reclaimed its river (Politico 03/01/2023)

Highland Council launches Local Place Plans webpage ahead of national planning framework (Scottish Housing News 04/01/2023)

‘We can be more provocative than Historic England’: meet the defenders of British brutalism (The Telegraph 04/01/2023)


Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Questions marked with a triangle (?) are initiated by the Scottish Government to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament. Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an “R”.

S6O-01694 Roz McCall, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 07/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made on the delivery of its Heat in Buildings Strategy, including decarbonising homes and workplaces.
Current status: Taken in the Chamber on 15 December 2022 Heat in Buildings Strategy Debate

S6W-12878 Maurice Golden, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 06/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government what information it has on how many companies are currently accredited to carry out home insulation work in each local authority area in Scotland.
Current status: Answered by Patrick Harvie on 19 December 2022

S6W-12904 Craig Hoy, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 08/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government how often the stonemasonry training working group has met and when its last meeting was.
Current status: Answered by Neil Gray on 19 December 2022

S6W-12887 Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 06/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government how many civil servants are working to tackle climate change and help achieve Scotland’s net zero commitments.
Current status: Answered by Michael Matheson on 20 December 2022

S6W-12966 Monica Lennon, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 08/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to help bring vacant and disused buildings in Hamilton town centre back into use, particularly buildings that have been empty for several years.
Current status: Answered by Tom Arthur on 20 December 2022

Douglas Lumsden, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 09/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the potential economic impact of Policy 27, part (d) in the revised fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4).
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the late inclusion of Policy 27, part (d) in the revised fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4), whether it considered any need to consult further with industry, in light of the change from the initial consultation and in line with section 3CA, part (5) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the late inclusion of Policy 27, part (d) in the revised fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4), what its reasoning is for not consulting further with industry.
To ask the Scottish Government how many local planning authorities raised concerns about future drive-through developments during the public consultation period on the draft fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) from 10 November 2021 to 31 March 2022.
To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to publish more information on how the fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) can be amended in future, and what that process will include.
Current status: Answered by Tom Arthur on 20 December 2022

Sharon Dowey, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 14/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether there are any plans to re-evaluate the criteria used by Historic Environment Scotland to risk assess its sites, and, if this is the case, what changes are being considered.
To ask the Scottish Government, further to its answer to question S6W-11289 by Neil Gray on 19 October 2022, whether it will provide an update on discussions with Historic Environment Scotland regarding the future potential approaches for Properties in Care.
To ask the Scottish Government how much money has been spent by Historic Environment Scotland specifically on the repair of monuments in care in each of the past five years.
To ask the Scottish Government how many stone falls have occurred at Historic Environment Scotland sites in each of the past five years.
Current status: Answered by Neil Gray on 21 December 2022

S6W-13324 Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 19/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government how much funding was allocated to each local authority from the Town Centre Fund Capital Grant in for each year since 2019-20.
Current status: Answer expected 17/01/2023

S6W-13331 Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 19/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government when the Green Heat Finance Taskforce last met and what actions were agreed.
Current status: Answer expected 17/01/2023

S6W-13337 Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 19/12/2022
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S6W-12638 by Patrick Harvie on 15 December 2022, when it will publish the data, in light of it already being used for policy formulation and implementation.
Current status: Answer expected 17/01/2023



AHSS Richard Murphy – Adaptation and Development: Transforming the former Royal High School and Other Projects
Date & Time: Monday 9 January 2023; 6:30pm
Location: Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL (wheelchair accessible)
Note: Lectures will also be streamed online via Zoom
Architect Richard Murphy explores his approach to designing within, and adjacent to, historic buildings, with particular emphasis on his current project – the conversion of Thomas Hamilton’s Royal High School for St Mary’s Music School and the creation of public performance spaces.

RSA: Environment & Climate Scotland – Any Questions?
Date & Time: Wednesday 11 January 2023; 6-7:30pm
Location: Online
The RSA are hosting an insightful discussion on environmental and climate change issues in Scotland. This event is one of two being held in advance of a day conference coming up on 16 March 2023 titled “F5: Future Food, Fisheries, Farming and Forestry”.

RICS: World Built Environment Forum Week
Date: 16-23 January 2023
World Built Environment Forum Week celebrates the latest and best thinking from across the built and natural environment. The week-long schedule showcases pioneering ways in delivering sustainable places and spaces.
Booking link

RSA: Land Use in Scotland – Any Questions?
Date & Time: Tuesday 17 January 2023; 6-7:30pm
Location: Online
All are welcome to this event, where the discussion will be centred around the Scottish Government “Vision for Agriculture” document, other related policy consultations, and SEDA’s report of “A New Vision for Land Use in Scotland: 6 Conversations”, all as part of a wider conversation about issues relating to the environment and land use. This event is the second of two preceding a full day conference in March.

The Church of England – Carbon Footprint Report Webinar
Date & Time: Tuesday 17 January 2023; 12-1pm
Location: Online
This webinar will give you the key findings from the Church of England’s Carbon Emissions Report for 2021. It will also explain what is in- and out-of-scope of the Church of England’s Net Zero Carbon target, and how we approach measurement using the Energy Footprint Tool for churches and the wider Energy Toolkit for other buildings and travel.

AHSS David Cook – Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and its Work
Date & Time: Thursday 19 January 2023; 7:30-10pm
Location: Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow
Note: Lectures will also be streamed online via Zoom
Director, David Cook and some of the team from GBPT discuss the highs and lows over 40 years in rescuing and repurposing Glasgow’s historic buildings.

The Church of England – Measuring Your Church’s Carbon Footprint Webinar
Date & Time: Tuesday 24 January 2023; 12-1pm
Location: Online
Does your church want to know it’s carbon footprint? Find out how, and why it’s important.
This practical webinar will explain what you need to know to use the Energy Footprint Tool; what information you need to have to hand, and how to enter it. It also touches on the wider 360 Carbon tool, for those keen churches which want to go further.

PAS – Creating Better Places for Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller Communities
Date & Time: Wednesday 25 January 2023; 10am-1pm
Location: Online
PAS and Impact Engagement will explore how Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers can ensure access to key services and be included in the decisions impacting on their lives. This event will focus on access, engagement and inclusion in planning, housing, health and social care, connectivity, education, decision making and more.

Architecture & Design Scotland – Reflections and Projections: our work in 2023
Date & Time: Wednesday 25 January 2023; 11-11:45am
Location: Online via Teams
Architecture and Design Scotland Chair Ann Allen and the Scottish Government’s Place Principle lead Sam Cassels will share A&DS review of 2022, present plans for the new year and discuss how the public sector and partners are working together to create better places in Scotland.

AHRC UKRI – ‘Where Next?’ Launch Event
Date & Time: Wednesday 25 January 2023; 2-4:30pm
Location: Online via Zoom
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is launching its ‘Where Next?’ event for people to find out more about the submission process for this scheme, how AHRC will process submissions and how develop ideas.

Scottish Empty Homes Partnership – 12th Scottish Empty Homes Conference
Date & Time: Wednesday 1 March 2023; timing and programme to be confirmed
*Early Bird tickets on sale until Friday 6 January*
Location: The Engine Shed, Forthside Way, Stirling, FK8 1QZ
With the theme Repair, Reuse, Revitalise, this conference will discuss how the repair and reuse of empty homes is helping to revitalise communities and local economies, as well as offering a cost-effective approach to delivering environmental sustainability goals.



Under One Roof – Communications and Engagement Officer
Salary: £25,000 pa (pro-rata for part-time)
Status: Full-time or part-time (minimum three days a week). Post is currently funded until July 2023, but future funding is expected to make the post permanent.
Location: Remote/home-based, with occasional travel throughout Scotland
Under One Roof is looking for someone whose skills will help expand the organisation’s reach with tenement flat owners and housing professionals. The Communication and Engagement Officer role will focus on building upon the organisation’s well-established website, which is a widely respected source of information throughout the housing sector. The officer would be responsible for social media activity and newsletter editing, whilst developing new content for the website and ensuring existing content is organised, up-to-date, and accessible to all who use it.  The role will also involve developing new communications projects such as podcasts, and overseeing events and activities that will extend the knowledge of tenement maintenance, management and retrofit throughout Scotland.
Closing date: Midday on Monday 9 January 2023

PhD studentship – Mobilising cultural heritage in UK marine fisheries
This PhD studentship opportunity is led by Ian Baxter, Heriot-Watt and co-supervised by Ruth Thurstan, University of Exeter. Historic England is the Associate Partner and Antony Firth (Head of Marine Heritage Strategy) will also be providing co-supervision, with some limited financial support and internship opportunities.
Maritime cultural heritage is embedded in the practice of small-scale fishing: traditional ecological knowledge, maritime landscapes, historic landing places, traditional vessels, and all their associated skills and material culture. The fishing sector is going through transitions post-Brexit on top of environmental, generational and technological changes that are likely to further diminish the tangible and intangible heritage of fishing. How can we use this cultural legacy to drive greater sustainability within fisheries management before it is too late?
This studentship forms part of the large-scale NERC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Management of Marine Resource (CDT SuMMeR) and application details can be found here – search on the webpage for Heriot-Watt University project CDTS211:
Closing date: Tuesday 17 January 2023

Simpson & Brown – Heritage Consultant/Assistant
Salary: £27,000 – £33,000 (F. T. E. if part time; depending on experience)
Status: Fixed-term of 1 year with possibility of extension. Full or part time; flexible working arrangements
Location: Edinburgh
Simpson & Brown is looking for enthusiastic and dynamic people to join the Heritage Consultancy Team.
As leading experts in historic buildings and sites with 44 years of experience working with some of the United Kingdom’s most important built heritage, the Heritage Consultancy Team provides expert advice on how to balance the conservation of our historic buildings and sites with the social, cultural and economic needs of today. The Heritage Consultant/Assistant role primarily consists of researching and writing a variety of documents relating to the built environment. A good undergraduate degree relating to the historic environment, such as architectural history, conservation of the historic environment, archaeology, or history of art with a special focus on the historic environment is essential. A relevant post-graduate degree, IHBC accreditation or other heritage-related skills and accreditations are desirable. The start date would be from March 2023, following successful interview. Further details and applications
Closing date: Midnight on Sunday 29 January 2023