Bulletin 348: Heritage Leaders Convene, New Consultations Launched, and a Milestone Anniversary

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


Fresh from the Parliamentary chamber: on Wednesday 20th March 2024 the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill, Stage 1 was debated in the Scottish Parliament. During which, Ben Macpherson MSP proposed an amendment at the next stage, addressing construction waste (link has the full debate); this suggestion was encouragingly referred to by the Minister in her closing remarks. BEFS look forward to seeing progress within this area having lobbied for construction waste to be part of the circular economy for many years. This debate, and the matters raised across the chamber seem ever more pertinent in light of the Climate Change Committee’s damning report in relation to Scotland’s progress against reducing emissions.

As readers will be aware – Scotland’s Historic Environment Forum (SHEF) took place in Stirling last month, bringing the existing historic environment and other relevant sectors together to take stock, discuss emerging and future issues, and set the strategic direction for the coming years. You can now watch a recording of the event and read the findings in the post-event report.

In more technical matters, as part of a wider programme to strengthen the building standards system in Scotland, the Scottish Government, in partnership with LABSS and Fife Council, will be launching the Scottish Building Standards Hub from May 2024 following a successful two year pilot phase.

Additionally, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have published their new professional standard providing a framework for Residential retrofit standards. The standards, effective from 31 October 2024, sets out mandatory requirements and best practice guidance covering the retrofit process from initial assessment through design, installation, and evaluation.

Considering wider place based programmes, Scotland’s Improvement Districts (SIDs) has appointed Rebecca Mather as its new National Programme Manager. Rebecca has previously worked as part of the wider SIDs and Scotland’s Towns Partnership team. Her appointment comes as work continues to develop existing improvement districts and grow the pipeline of potential new ones in communities across the country.

Apart from our usual collection of government and sector consultations, we’d like to draw readers’ attention to an opportunity to inform Scottish Civic Trust’s future activities. Your input will help them better empower Scotland’s communities to take action for our shared spaces and places. You can also read more about the fantastic recent My Place award winners here.

BEFS are delighted to see Member, Archaeology Scotland celebrate their 80th anniversary. This month commemorates their founding in 1944, alongside the Council for British Archaeology (CBA). You can read more about their history in this blog by their Director, Gavin MacGregor.

At a time of increasing community ownership for our places of worship it’s great to see the Historic Environment Scotland’s blog on How To Take a Kirk Into Community Ownership. This draws on the experience of Kilmaronock Old Kirk Trust, providing top tips for community groups thinking about taking on a historic place of worship.

We recently brought Scotland’s Churches Trust’s work on mapping changes to the Church of Scotland estate to readers’ notice. There’s now a request from SCT for assistance in filling in any missing information (or new updates) on the Scotland’s Closing Churches map. Please contact SCT directly with any information.

And finally, BEFS are pleased to welcome our newest Associate, Dundee Historic Environment Trust. We look forward to introducing them to those not already familiar with their work in a blog in the coming months. Meanwhile, you can read about their activities here.



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 consider 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 consider all Protected Characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. Views are being invited to ensure that all members of Scotland’s communities irrespective of age, ability or gender can access these areas safely and confidently without obstruction.
Closes 29 March 2024

Managing the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site
The City of Edinburgh Council
The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh were given World Heritage Status in 1995, recognising the striking contrast and quality in architecture between the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. A Management Plan identifies issues and opportunities within the World Heritage Site and sets out priority areas for action to preserve and enhance the site. While the management plan covers a ten-year period, an action plan is developed alongside it focusing on a two-year period. The City of Edinburgh Council would like to hear your views on the new plan, specifically whether you feel they are doing enough to protect and enhance the Site, and any other ideas or suggestions which you may have.
Closes 8 April 2024

Conservation Management Plan for Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh
Edinburgh World Heritage & City of Edinburgh Council
Greyfriars Kirkyard is one of Edinburgh’s most iconic spaces. However, managing the site has become increasingly complex. Recognising the need for a new strategy, Edinburgh World Heritage and the City of Edinburgh Council have commissioned Kirkyard Consulting to develop a new graveyard Conservation Management Plan. This short survey will allow you to have your say about your experiences of Greyfriars and how you would like to see it managed in the future.
*NEW* Closes 15 April 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 public, to gather a wide range of views on the policy proposals in this draft Adaptation Plan.
Closes 24 April 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.
*NEW* Closes 13 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

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 CPO.Reform@gov.scot

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.



Rented sector reform: landlord and tenant engagement questionnaire – analysis report (Scot Gov 08/03/2024)

Agricultural tenancies, small landholdings and land management tenancy proposals – strategic environmental assessment: consultation analysis (Scot Gov 14/03/2024)



Submission regarding PE2063: Increase funding for local authorities to enable better management and protection of conservation areas. (Scot Gov 06/03/2024)

Submission regarding PE1864: Increase the ability of communities to influence planning decisions for onshore windfarms. (Scot Gov 15/03/2024)



Climate Change Needs Joint Action (Our Scottish Future 15/03/2024)

Innovate UK funded project to Transform the retrofit industry with a new approach to deliver one million homes per year (Energiesprong UK 05/03/2024)

European Museum of the Year Awards 2024: nominees announced, including The Burrell Collection (European Museum Forum 07/03/2024)

Investing in heritage skills for Fife (Fife Council 12/03/2024)

Scotland’s Improvement Districts appoints National Programme Manager (Scotland’s Towns Partnership) 18/03/2024

First Co-chairs announced to lead the David Hume Institute (DHI 19/03/2024)

Scotland’s 2030 climate goals are no longer credible (Climate Change Committee 20/03/2024)

Keynote speech: Paul McLennan, Reform Scotland event on partnership opportunities for investment in housing (Reform Scotland 13/03/2024)



Residential retrofit standard UK 1st edition (RICS Professional March 2024)

Despite throwing money at the problem, people still aren’t buying heat pumps (Social Market Foundation 08/03/2024)

Adapting to climate change: How the UK can better manage a rapidly changing environment (Institute for Government 13/03/2024)

Dwelling on it: Housing crises in the English speaking world (Social Market Foundation 13/03/2024)

Fiscal Sustainability Perspectives: Climate Change (Scottish Fiscal Commission 14/03/2024)

Scotland’s Historic Environment Forum (SHEF) Event Report, 7 February 2024 (HES 14/03/2024)

Progress in reducing emissions in Scotland – 2023 Report to Parliament (Climate Change Committee 20/03/2024)



Correspondence between Shona Robison and the Convenor of the Finance and Public Administration Committee regarding additional information on the 2024-25 Scottish Budget (Scot Gov 26/02/2024)

Correspondence between Paul McLennan and the Convenor of the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee regarding stakeholder engagement om the content of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2022 (Scot Gov 29/02/2024)

Scottish House Condition Survey: 2022 Key Findings (Scot Gov 29/02/2024)

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Report (Scot Parl 05/03/2024)

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Minutes (Soct Parl 05/03/2024)

Correspondence between Tom Arthur and the Convenor of the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee regarding Community Wealth Building (Scot Gov 06/03/2024)

Correspondence between Kate Hall, Director for Cladding Remediation and the Convenor of the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee regarding the Housing (Cladding Remediation) (Scotland) Bill (Scot Gov 06/03/2024)

Public appointment: Chair appointed to the Board of VisitScotland (Scot Gov 07/03/2024)

Blog: Scottish Building Standards Hub (Scot Gov 08/03/2024)

Single Building Assessment programme: spending information (Scot Gov 08/03/2024)

Crackdown on long term empty homes (UK Gov 11/03/2024)

Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill as amended (Scot Parl 12/03/2024)

Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee Report (Scot Parl 12/03/2024)

Land Reform (Scotland) Bill (Scot Parl 13/03/2024)

Correspondence between The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and Steve Barclay, urging the government to make green spaces a higher priority (UK Gov 14/03/2024)

Bringing empty homes back into use to increase housing stock (Scot Gov 14/03/2024)

MPs launch new inquiry into multibillion pound regional investment deals for Scotland (UK Parl 14/03/2024)

Correspondence between Lorna Slater and the Convenor of the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee regarding the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee’s Stage 1 consideration of the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill (Scot Gov 14/03/2024)

Land Reform Bill: Summary of Research and Recommendations (Scottish Land Commission 14/03/2024)

Correspondence between the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee and Paul McLennan regarding how the government is working with Aberdeen City Council to respond to the current RAAC situation (Scot Parl 15/03/2024)

Rural Affairs and Islands Committee Stage 1 report on the Agricultural and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill (Scot Parl 18/03/2024)

Planning permission appeals: housing development statistics (Scot Gov 19/03/2024)



Scotland’s Closing Churches (Scotland’s Churches Trust 21/02/2024)

Sustainability Bulletin: digital emissions (Heritage Trust Network 21/02/2024)

Heritage Trust Network – Sustainability Bulletin #2: Heating (Heritage Trust Network 06/03/2024)

RAAC to ruin: sector must learn lesson that cheap material comes at a cost (Project Scotland 13/03/2024)

Regulator suggests new council powers to help end Scots housing crisis (The Herald 13/03/2024)

The Corner, Darvel wins the Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards 2024 (Scottish Civic Trust 13/03/2024)

Eugenie Aroutcheff wins the Scottish Civic Trust My Place Community Champion Award 2024 (Scottish Civic Trust 13/03/2024)

Number of Scottish universities and colleges dealing with dangerous RAAC rises to 18 (The Scotsman 14/03/2024)

Rishi Sunak pledges to create 20,000 more apprenticeships (BBC News 18/03/2024)

Heat pumps still too expensive, government warned (BBC News 18/03/2024)

How To Take a Kirk Into Community Ownership (HES 18/03/2024)

Fife Council to declare housing emergency this week (The Herald 19/03/2024)

Living near heritage sites ‘makes you happier’ (The Times 21/03/2024)



Link to Parliamentary Questions and Answers


Submitted by: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: 08/03/2024
That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the Housing (Cladding Remediation) (Scotland) Bill, agrees to—
(a) any expenditure of a kind referred to in Rule 9.12.3A of the Parliament’s Standing Orders arising in consequence of the Act, and
(b) any charge or payment in relation to which Rule 9.12.4 of the Parliament’s Standing Orders applies arising in consequence of the Act.
Current status: Taken in the Chamber on Tuesday, 12 March 2024

Submitted by: Paul McLennan, East Lothian, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: 11/03/2024
That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Housing (Cladding Remediation) (Scotland) Bill.
Current status: Taken in the Chamber on Tuesday, 12 March 2024

Submitted by: Lorna Slater, Lothian, Scottish Green Party.
Date lodged: 18/03/2024
That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill.
Current status: Due to be taken in the Chamber on Thursday, 21 March 2024

Submitted by: George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: 19/03/2024
That the Parliament agrees that the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee be designated as the lead committee in consideration of the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill at stage 1.
Current status: Taken in the Chamber on Wednesday, 20 March 2024

2030 Climate Change Targets
Urgent Question asked by: Maurice Golden, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party
Date: 20/03/2024
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Climate Change Committee stating that the scale of reductions in emissions needed for Scotland to meet its 2030 climate change targets is “beyond what is credible”.



For further listings, please see BEFS events calendar

Arts and Humanities Research Council – Place Programme Policy Brief Series: Embedding Diverse PerspectivesAnchorAnchor
Date & Time: Monday 25 March 2024; 1-2pm
Location: Online
In this event, the AHRC share insights and recommendations from the University of Sheffield’s Roots and Futures project. It engages with current opportunities and challenges to equality, diversity and inclusion in local heritage and makes recommendations for embedding multiple histories, cultures, and perspectives in city-level heritage strategies. Further events will follow in May and throughout the rest of 2024.AnchorAnchorHeritage Trust Network – North UK Mills Network
Date & Time: Tuesday 26 March 2024; 2-3.30pm
Location: Online
Are you working in a mill, have a mill project you are undertaking or just have an interest in mills?
The intention of the group is to facilitate dialogue, share historical, operational and (for current and aspiring future mill conservation projects) technical /practical considerations relating to industrial and pre-industrial mills. Join the Heritage Trust Network group to share your knowledge, opinions and aspirations for 2024, supporting sustainable mill heritage for this and coming years.Scottish Heritage Social Media Group – Podcasting in 2024AnchorAnchor
Date & Time: Wednesday 27 March 2024; 2-3.30pm
Location: Govan Old Parish Church, 866 Govan Rd, Glasgow G51 3UU
Join Tom Horne as he delves into the world of podcasting, exploring his experiences as coordinator and producer of the new Govan Early Medieval podcast and presenter of the award-winning The Shindig podcast. Discover the pros and cons of this content medium and gain insights into what sets his second podcast apart.Aberdeen Heritage Lectures 2024: Iron Age and Medieval Structures: Cruden Bay and Deer
Date & Time: Wednesday 27 March 2024; 7-8pm
Location: Online
Alison Cameron, Director of Cameron Archaeology Ltd presents a talk on recent discoveries at Deer and Cruden Bay and how they enrich our understanding of development of settlement in North East Scotland.Architecture & Design Scotland – Climate Action Towns Gathering
Date & Time: Thursday 28 March 2024; 1-3pm
Location: The Engine Shed, Forthside Way Stirling, FK8 1QZ
Join A&DS to celebrate the Climate Action Towns project and the launch of their latest resources. At the upcoming Gathering, they will share our reflections on the project, launch a report and toolkit to help other towns embed climate action in their place, as well as hear from representatives from the towns. If you are unable to attend in person they will also share the event online/hybrid (the link to join online will be provided closer to the time via email.)HTN Youth Forum – Skills for a Heritage Career
Date & Time: Thursday 28 March 2024; 6.30-8pm
Location: Online
Volunteering and networking can be a mine field when starting out in the sector and they can play an important part in securing your first role and progressing in your career. Join the Heritage Trust Network’s Youth Forum at this online event to find out what organisations offer to make their volunteering inclusive, top tips for building your network in the sector, and what it means to be a project manager in the sector.AHSS Lecture – Facile Princeps: The Country Houses of David Bryce
Date & Time: Monday 8 April 2024; 6.30-8pm
Location: Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL (wheelchair accessible). Also streamed online via Zoom.
David Bryce (1803–1876) was one of Victorian Britain’s most prolific architects, whose opulent, richly modelled architecture left a lasting impression on Scotland, where he led the revival of the Scottish baronial style. In this talk, Dr Ralph St Clair Wade, lecturer in the History of Art at Cambridge University, provides an introduction to Bryce’s country house practice and offers new insights into the architect’s work, drawn from his doctoral research. Tickets available from Eventbrite or on the door: £5 / students £2 /Heritage Trust Network – A Future for Your Church
Date & Time: Thursday 18 April 2024; 10-11.30am
Location: Online
Are you a community group thinking about taking ownership of your local church? Are you already managing your church for the benefit of the community? This free online event is for you. Heritage Trust Network and Historic Churches Scotland are joining forces to host the next event in this series for any group contemplating the future of their church building. This event will explore future uses and financial models for three churches in Fife.

Mill of Benholm Working Party 
Date & Time: Saturday 4 May 2024; 10-4pm
Location: Benholm, Montrose, DD10 0HT
The Mill of Benholm has been dormant for over a decade. Join SPAB Scotland on Saturday 4 May to help change that! They’ll be clearing vegetation from the lade and returning the much-needed water supply to the mill. They will also be joined by 2022 SPAB Millwright Fellow Owen Bushell who will give an introduction to the mill machinery and how it works.

SURF Awards – Shared Learning Workshops
Shared learning workshops with contributions from the winner and highly commended projects in the Removing Barriers to Employability, Housing and Regeneration, Improving Scotland’s Places and Community Led Regeneration, and Creative Regeneration categories in the 2023 SURF Awards.
Removing barriers to employability: SURF Awards Shared Learning Workshop
Date & Time: Thursday 2 May 2024; 10am-1.30pm
Location: Glasgow Women’s Library, 23 Landressy St, Bridgeton, Glasgow G40 1BP
Effective approaches to housing led regeneration – SURF Award Shared Learning Event
Date & Time: Thursday 9 May 2024; 10am-1.30pm
Location: Grassmarket Centre, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QA
Delivering place-based regeneration initiatives: SURF Awards Shared Learning Workshop
Date & Time: Thursday 16 May 2024; 10am-1.30pm
Location: Kinning Park Complex, 43 Cornwall St, Glasgow G41 1BA
Using creativity in regeneration: SURF Awards Shared Learning Workshop
Date & Time: Thursday 23 May 2024; 10am-1.30pm
Location: Civic House, 26 Civic St, Glasgow G4 9RH


SPAB – An Introduction to Plain Lime Plastering
Date & Time: Friday 26 & Saturday 27 April 2024
Location: Heritage & Rural Skills Centre, Buscot and Coleshill Estate, Swindon SN6 7PT
Join SPAB for a practical course covering the mixing and application of lime plaster to lath, masonry, and modern substrates, including pricking up and base coats, float coats and setting coats. You will also get a brief introduction to running a cornice in-situ. This course is suitable for people with practical plastering skills. Experienced plasterers used to working in gypsum will particularly benefit from the course.


SPAB – An Introduction to Plain Lime Plastering
Date & Time: Friday 26 & Saturday 27 April 2024
Location: Heritage & Rural Skills Centre, Buscot and Coleshill Estate, Swindon SN6 7PT
Join SPAB for a practical course covering the mixing and application of lime plaster to lath, masonry, and modern substrates, including pricking up and base coats, float coats and setting coats. You will also get a brief introduction to running a cornice in-situ. This course is suitable for people with practical plastering skills. Experienced plasterers used to working in gypsum will particularly benefit from the course.