BEFS Bulletin – NPF4 Adoption, its delivery though placemaking & HES updates

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


The National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) was published by the Scottish Ministers and adopted on 13 February. It should be read as a whole and replaces NPF3 and Scottish Planning Policy. In advance of adoption the Chief Planner provided advice on the transition to the new development plan system including supplementary guidance and some policy considerations.

BEFS also note that, in highlighting how their work can meet the policy aim of NPF4 – ALGAO (Association of Local Government Archaeology Officers) have released a new guidance document which aims to show the full range of core and secondary activities of public benefit that comprise archaeological works undertaken within the context of the planning system.

Implementation and delivery of NPF4 will depend on many actors and require collaboration of national and local government, regional bodies, key agencies, businesses, voluntary organisations and communities as well as investors throughout Scotland. In our latest BEFS Blog, urban designer Paul Morsley, development economist Steven Tolson and land-use planner Nick Wright summarise their work on the public sector’s role in delivering NPF4 through mixed-use placemaking.

The Heritage Alliance have summarised a recent machinery of government (MoG) change within the UK government. This transfer of functions between Ministers in the UK Government has resulted in the creation of a new department focused on energy security (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero); the changes have also re-focused the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, removing ‘Digital’ and highlighting the importance of these industries to the economy, as well as building on the UK’s position as a global leader in the creative arts.

Following a productive online consultation held at the end of January, BEFS engaged with representatives across the sector in-person. Each session examined the draft strategy for Scotland’s historic environment and outputs will help to inform BEFS response. Thank you to all participants! The Historic Environment Sector Strategy consultation closes on Monday 20 February. BEFS encourages organisations and individuals to submit your own views.

This week RIAS were delighted to reveal the shortlist for the 2023 RIAS Awards. This year’s list features 13 incredible projects from across Scotland, celebrating craftsmanship, innovation and site-specific design in architecture across a range of scales.

HES Director of Operations, Craig Mearns, provided a progress update on the high-level masonry inspections across HES sites. Out of the 70 sites closed in 2021-2022, HES was able to restore full or partial access at around 30 sites. The update includes details on site inspections, prioritisation, and future inspections currently scheduled.

Historic Environment Scotland’s new grants programme, the Historic Environment Grants (HEG) will go live on 15 March. You can sign-up to hear more about applying at one of their hour-long sessions; the HES Grants Team will explain what’s new about the HEG programme and how to apply for funding. For those unable to attend the session, videos of the presentations will be posted on the HES website on 16 March.

Within Scotland, the Office of the Chief Statistician has announced a delay in publication of the 2021 Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS) Key Findings report. The results of the 2021 SHCS were expected to be published in May 2023. This data underpins much of the ‘fabric first’ work that needs to be highlighted on the route map to the Heat in Buildings Strategy being fulfilled, so it is particularly disappointing that the delay continues.

Considering building data – and marking the publication of a new paper by Andy Wightman about Scotland’s Land Information System (ScotLIS) and its potential for the future – the David Hume Institute and BEFS will hold a webinar on Wednesday 8 March. Look out for the paper’s publication, BEFS Twitter will ensure we publicise its release.

Related to this, the recent commentary from the Fraser of Allander Institute reflects on the Scottish Government response to the recommendations from the work previously undertaken via ClimateXChange to inform the Joint Budget Review, highlighting the need for more joined-up thinking, and more reliable and accurate data to help meet net zero ambitions.

And finally, the announcement (15/02/2023) by the First Minister that she intends to stand-down, but will remain in role until her successor is elected by the SNP, will undoubtedly have ramifications (in time) across roles within the current Government; BEFS will monitor and report as necessary.



Scotland’s new Historic Environment Strategy (OPiT)
Contribute to the creation of a new strategy for Scotland’s Historic Environment.
Closes 20 February 2023


Managing Change – fire and historic buildings
Views requested for updated guidance setting out the principles and specific issues that are relevant to fire and historic buildings.
Closes 13 March 2023


Culture in communities – your views

Scottish Parliament
‘Place-based’ approach to culture means giving people a greater say in shaping the cultural life of their local communities. This consultation wants to know more about what is happening in our local communities and understand aspects including what does good ‘place-based’ cultural policy look like in practice.
**NEW** Closes 31 March 2023


Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan
Scottish Government
This consultation seeks views on the vision and the actions to transition to an affordable, resilient and clean energy system set out in the draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan as well as understanding how maximum social and economic benefits from the energy transition for Scotland can be secured.
Closes 4 April 2023


Community Wealth Building
Scottish Government
Views are being sought on the internationally recognised Community Wealth Building (CWB) approach to economic development, as a key practical means for the Scottish Government to make progress towards realising the wellbeing economy vision outlined in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET).
Closes 25 April 2023


International Culture Strategy: survey
Scottish Government
Views sought to inform the development of a strategy to support the international aspirations and potential of Scotland’s culture sector.
**NEW** Closes 26 April 2023



Review of permitted development rights – phase 2 consultation: Feedback updated 10 Feb 2023 (Scot Gov 10/02/2023)



Developing with Nature (NatureScot 23/12/2022) – Guidance on securing positive effects for biodiversity from local development to support NPF4 policy 3(c)

Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF): recommended projects 2014 to 2024 (Scot Gov 06/02/2023)

Letter to Angus Robertson from the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee regarding concerns over the Future of the Culture Sector (Scot Parl 07/02/2023)

Chief Planner Fiona Simpson & Tom Arthur outline transitional arrangements for National Planning Framework 4 (Scot Gov 08/02/2023)

Announcement of Low Carbon Fund: Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme Projects (Scot Gov 08/02/2023)

Climate change insights, business and transport, UK: February 2023 (ONS 10/02/2023)

Domestic quality assurance for Heat in Buildings Programme BRIA (Scot Gov 10/02/2023)

National Planning Framework 4 (Scot Gov 13/02/2023)



Results of FOI request about HES ‘Properties in Care’ (AHSS 19/01/2023)

Delay in publication of 2021 Scottish House Condition Survey Key Findings report (Scot Gov – Office of the Chief Statistician 30/01/2023)

Finalists Announced for 12th Scottish Empty Homes Awards (SEHP 02/02/2023)

2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction spotlights heritage, traditional knowledge (Climate Heritage Network 05/02/2023)

Progress update on our high-level masonry inspections (HES 08/02/2023)

Flexible planning rules – new measures to boost hospitality and town centre recovery (Scot Gov 10/02/2023)

Reflecting on Scottish Mills Weekend 2022 (SPAB 13/02/2023)

Planning for greener communities (Scot Gov 13/02/2023)

The Scottish Government Needs A Rethink To Meet Net Zero Ambitions (Fraser of Allander Institute 14/02/2023)

Delivery of Public Benefit and Social Value for Archaeology in the Planning Process (ALGAO 14/02/2023)



Saving Scotland’s Tenements (Bylines Scotland 27/01/2023)

How can nature-based solutions help cities achieve their climate goals? (CarbonBrief 30/01/2023)

Planting more trees could reduce premature heat-related deaths in European cities by a third – new research (The Conservation 01/02/2023)

City planners are questioning the point of parking garages (The Conservation 01/02/2023)

Shortage of stonemasons could affect Scotland’s crumbling heritage (The Herald 05/02/2023)

Festivals face ‘economic shock’ as a result of licensing of short-term lets (Kalkine Media 07/02/2023)

Be part of history and have your say in Historic Environment Scotland public consultation (Daily Record 08/02/2023)

Britain is addicted to the wrecking ball. It’s trashing our heritage and the planet (The Guardian 10/02/2023)

It’s not easy being green when you live in a conservation area (Financial Times 10/02/2023)

Why Scotland’s heritage risks being just a thing of the past for Generation Z (The Scotsman 12/02/2023)

Meet one of the few full-time thatchers in Britain (The Times 12/02/2023)

Shawlands Camphill Gate is back on top after £1.4m repairs (The Herald 12/02/2023)

Planners to favour green regeneration of derelict sites as NPF4 comes into force (Scottish Housing News 13/02/2023)

Planning reforms aim for ‘fairer’ and ‘greener’ Scotland (Project Scotland 13/02/2023)



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”.

Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 27/01/2023
To ask the Scottish Government what the total budget allocation has been for Architecture and Design Scotland for each year since it was founded.
To ask the Scottish Government how it monitors the efficacy of Architecture and Design Scotland.
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a breakdown of what Architecture and Design Scotland’s budget is allocated to.
Current status: Answered by Neil Gray on 7 February 2023

S6W-14302 Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 26/01/2023
To ask the Scottish Government what support and advice it will provide to households and buildings in conservation areas to comply with the Bute House Agreement commitment to require home and building upgrades at the point of sale, change of tenancy, and refurbishment to meet a standard equivalent to EPC C, on a mandatory basis from 2025.
Current status: Answered by Patrick Harvie on 9 February 2023

S6W-14585 Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 02/02/2023
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S6W-12522 by Patrick Harvie on 9 December 2022, whether it has concluded reviewing its “cost estimates to deliver the heat transition on this basis”, and when it plans to “provide a further update” in order to answer the question.
Current status: Answer expected on 2 March 2023

Brian Whittle, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 06/02/2023
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on progress towards completion of the fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) guidance documents, and by what date these will be published.
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will issue guidance to stakeholders on how they should express their interest for inclusion in the Planning, Infrastructure and Place Advisory Group.
To ask the Scottish Government what support will be made available to provide planners with additional resources to assess the environmental impacts of developments, including making assessments of the impact of these on biodiversity.
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the establishment of a Planning, Infrastructure and Place Advisory Group, and by what date it will publish the final list of group members.
Current status: Answer expected on 6 March 2023

S6W-14827 Katy Clark, West Scotland, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 10/02/2023
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to support local authorities in efforts to repair older public buildings for continued use.
Current status: Answer expected on 10 March 2023

S6W-14931 Paul Sweeney, Glasgow, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 10/02/2023
To ask the Scottish Government what the expected timeline is for applications to the 2024-25 round of the Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme (VDLIP).
Current status: Answer expected on 10 March 2023



For further listings, please see our events calendar.

SoAoS February Lecture – Rethinking Weapons in Bronze Age Shang China
Date & Time: Thursday 23 February 2023; 6pm
Location: Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL (wheelchair accessible)
Note: Lectures will also be streamed online via Zoom
Dr Qin Cao’s lecture will explore the significance of weapons to early Chinese civilization, and how the application of European archaeological theories and methods benefit research into Chinese Bronze Age material remains.

Scottish Empty Homes Partnership – 12th Scottish Empty Homes Conference
Date & Time: Wednesday 1 March 2023
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.

A&DS – Place Forum: The power of place in child-poverty and cost of living crisis
Date & Time: Wednesday 1 March 2023; 11am-1pm
Location: Online via Teams
This event looks at one of the core themes emerging from the 2022-23 Programme for Government: Child Poverty and the cost of living crisis, and at how the key institutions that help shape our places can work together to make place-based strategies relevant to tackling these themes.

The David Hume Institute & BEFS – Scotland’s Land Information System (ScotLIS): what is it and why it matters?
Date & Time: Wednesday 8 March 2023; 11am-12:30pm
Location: Online
Join this webinar to mark the publication of a newly commissioned paper on Scotland’s Land Information System and find out why it is critical to infrastructure. Information about land and buildings is used every day by businesses, policy-makers, academics and ordinary citizens, covering land ownership and valuation, energy efficiency ratings, building types, vegetation cover and flood risks. However, as the impacts of climate change intensify, there is even greater need for more timely, more comprehensive, and more accessible information about land and buildings in Scotland.

Scottish Civic Trust – North of Scotland Local Heritage Surgeries
Date & Time: Friday 10 March 2023
Location: Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archive, Wick Airport, Wick, KW1 4QS
Is your local heritage or civic group looking to engage a wider range of people in your activities? Scottish Civic Trust are hosting local heritage surgeries for groups to chat and brainstorm with their staff about outreach and engagement strategies.

AHSS Dr Diane Watters – Discovering Urban School Buildings in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland
Date & Time: Monday 13 March 2023; 6:30pm
Location:  Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL (wheelchair accessible)
In this talk, Dr Watters examines three grammar school case studies – St Andrews, Dunfermline and Edinburgh – highlighting the development of these medieval school buildings up to c.1600 and attempting to counter the orthodoxy that there were only a few permanent town school buildings in Scotland prior to the fifteenth century.

Scottish Civic Trust – South of Scotland Local Heritage Surgeries
Date & Time: Saturday 18 March 2023
Location: Heritage Hub, Kirkstile, Hawick TD9 0AE
Is your local heritage or civic group looking to engage a wider range of people in your activities? Scottish Civic Trust are hosting local heritage surgeries for groups to chat and brainstorm with their staff about outreach and engagement strategies.



PAS – Coaching and Training to Develop Local Place Plans in Fife
Dates & Times: Sessions begin on Tuesday 14 February and run until Thursday 30 March
Location: Online and at various venues across Fife
Working with Fife Local Action Group (LAG), the PAS team are offering a comprehensive programme of coaching and training to support community groups in their Local Place Plan journey; whether you are considering developing a plan or you are part way through your journey. A wide range of support is available, free of charge to eligible groups and as spaces are limited it will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

MGS – Developing My Leadership 2023
Date & Time: Thursday 23 February 2023; 10am-4pm
Location: Online
Developing My Leadership offers an opportunity for new and aspiring leaders in the cultural heritage sector to connect, share challenges, good practice, and experience with peers. It’s designed to support learners to develop key leadership skills in order to work productively with those around them and lead in an effective and authentic way. Deadline to apply is 14th February 2023.

A&BS – Corporate Partnerships Training (Levels 1 & 2)
Dates & Times: 27 & 28 February (Level 1); 1 & 2 March (Level 2); 9:30am-12:30pm
Location: Online via Zoom
Level 1: If you are new to sponsorship fundraising or are looking to strengthen your understanding of key foundational concepts, this two-session ‘how-to’ course will take you through the foundations of sponsorship, from attracting businesses to nurturing long-lasting partnerships.
Level 2: If you are already a fundraiser in the cultural sector, delivering sponsorship in particular, and would like to develop your skills, this two-session course provides a comprehensive training opportunity to deepen your knowledge of corporate fundraising.

Icon Scotland – Creating Conservation Videos Workshop
Date & Time: Thursday 11, 18 & 25 May 2023; 9-11am
Location: Online via Zoom
Over three sessions, learn about creating conservation video content to be used to educate, promote and share the profession. The workshop will cover the start-to-finish workflow for creating conservation videos, ethical and legal considerations of sharing conservation content, platforms and methods that support video content, and tips and tricks, such as repurposing footage. Sessions will take place one week apart and will allow attendees to create their own videos and receive feedback from the instructor.



The National Trust for Scotland – Heritage Compliance Officer
Salary: £34,376-£38,027 (subject to experience)
Status: Full-time (flexible working possible)
Location: Hybrid working, available for meetings in Edinburgh
The National Trust for Scotland is looking to recruit a heritage compliance officer to help identify and manage the conservation and operations risks. This is a unique opportunity to work across all aspects of a major heritage organisation, liaising with colleagues in all disciplines.
All enquiries and applications should be addressed to: Diarmid Hearns, Head of Public Policy, Risk and Environment:
Further details and applications

Scottish Civic Trust – Resources Manager
Salary: £27,000 pro-rata
Status: Part-time (17 hours per week)
Location: Glasgow
Scottish Civic Trust is recruiting for a Resources Manager to oversee the day-to-day running of finance at their organisation. The role includes statutory reporting, management accounting, cash management, and budgeting and forecasting. The Resources Manager will also manage HR, governance administration and premises management.
Further details and applications
Closing date: 5pm on Friday 24 February 2023

SURF Alliance for Action Programme – Girvan Facilitator
Salary: £33,000 (pro rata)
Status: Part-time (17.5 hrs per week)
Location: Girvan
SURF is seeking a part-time Facilitator to support its new Alliance for Action programme site in Girvan, South Ayrshire. The successful applicant will be responsible for helping to build on local progress towards the town’s regeneration, supporting collaboration and project delivery in response to community demand. Specifically, the post-holder will be responsible for helping to build on local demand for complementary economic, physical and social improvements in the town, following consultation activities in recent years including those that informed a 2021 Girvan Place Plan and the emerging Place-based Strategy for Girvan.
Further details and applications
Closing date: Tuesday 28 February 2023

Stirling City Heritage Trust – Traditional Buildings Inspector
Salary: £35,000 – £40,000
Status: Full-time, Fixed Term to 31 March 2026
Location: Stirling
Stirling City Heritage Trust are seeking a Building Professional or Craftsperson for the role of Traditional Buildings Inspector. The Traditional Buildings Health Check is a proactive building maintenance service operated by Stirling City Heritage Trust, providing advice and inspection services to traditional property owners in Stirling. This is a unique opportunity to work on the first project of its kind in Scotland. Applicants would need to demonstrate excellent communication and ICT skills and have a flexible approach to the role with the ability to self-manage a busy workload.
A passion for Scotland’s traditional buildings and an enthusiastic approach to feed into the development of the service.
Further details and applications
Closing date: Midday on Wednesday 1 March 2023

Fife Historic Buildings Trust – Finance & Administration Officer
Salary: £30,000
Status: Full-time or job share, fixed term for six months (possibility of extension)
Location: Kinghorn Town Hall, potentially hybrid
Fife Historic Buildings Trust are recruiting for a charity finance professional to co-ordinate the financial activities of FHBT. Sound financial control underpins all the great work they do, and this is an opportunity to bring your experience to join a welcoming and high achieving team, and play your part in their work for people and historic places in Fife.
Further details and applications
Closing date: 5pm on Friday 3 March 2023