BEFS Bulletin – Draft NPF4 Released, Traditional Skills at COP26

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


The Scottish Government has published the draft Fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4), alongside a consultation which runs until Thursday 31 March. An accompanying explanatory report on the framework’s Housing Land Requirement has also been published.

A letter from the Convener of the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee proposing a collaborative approach to committee scrutiny forms useful additional context.

BEFS will organise a virtual event in early January ahead of a consultation response, giving Member organisations opportunity before then to digest the detail of the draft. BEFS notes that, currently, the Historic Environment largely sits within ‘Distinctive Places’, and there is an opportunity to flag the role that the existing built environment can and should play within Sustainable, Liveable, and Productive Places. BEFS looks forward to further discussion with Members.

Meanwhile, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland along with Heads of Planning Scotland have written to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes urging her to address the need for investment in the planning service in forthcoming Scottish budget.

Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland have announced the launch of a new AHRC-funded cross-border research pilot programme, ‘Outreach to Ownership’. Across the course of the next year a total of £125,000 will be given in grants to up to eight delivery partner organisations to support research into diverse approaches to inclusive community engagement in the culture sector. Applications are invited from a range of culture sector organisations of all sizes and governance structures in Scotland and England.

Registrations are also encouraged to the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s new research panel, UK Heritage Pulse. This collaborative data and insight project aims to bring people together from across the UK heritage sector with a view to informing strategy, recovery and reinvention post-Covid.

As we continue to look to the future beyond COP26, John McKinney of the Scottish Traditional Building Forum introduces ‘Build Your Future’ on the BEFS Blog. This suite of online and in-person activities is designed to promote construction as a career of choice to young people. Underlining the importance of traditional skills, it was good to see a visit to Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) Engine Shed from Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth.

HES have launched their first dedicated climate change adaptation plan, as well as a new Climate Change Explorer app. They are also partners in a new film from the National Library of Scotland, #ClimateNeedsCulture.

The European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2022 now open for submissions, with five categories revised to reflect the latest developments in heritage policy and practice in Europe. Read more and submit your applications here.

Congratulations to all those shortlisted for the Archaeological Achievement Awards, and to Gordon Castle Walled Garden in Moray, who have won the Historic Houses Garden of the Year Award with a record public vote.

Finally, Dig It! and Edinburgh-based game design company Dungeons on a Dime have teamed up to combine the latest archaeological research with a new tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) that will enable the public to learn more about life in Scotland 1,300 years ago. The Carved in Stone crowdfunding campaign launched on Saturday 13 November on Kickstarter with a range of digital, printed, and special rewards for supporters. The campaign has hit its first crowdfunding goal — but there’s still more adventure to unlock!

Get the BEFS Bulletin directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.


Scottish Building Regulations: Proposed changes to Energy Standards and associated topics, including Ventilation, Overheating and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Closes 26 November 2021

Draft Heat Networks Delivery Plan
*NEW* Closes 13 December 2021

Building Regulations – Compliance And Enforcement: Consultation
*NEW* Closes 4 February 2022

Draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) – Public Consultation
*NEW* Closes 31 March 2022


Scotland’s Garden and Landscape History (SGLH): Autumn 2021 Newsletter

Scotland’s Churches: from surfeit to shortage? (Scotland’s Churches Trust, in collaboration with the National Churches Trust)

A 20 Minute Future: A Planning Concept for Urban Growth (RTPI Scotland, 10/11/2021)

Guide to Energy Retrofit of Traditional Buildings (Historic Environment Scotland, 11/11/21)

From Retrofit to Regeneration (Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance, 11/11/21)

Heritage Fund Local Area Guidance: Designed to help you meet our priority outcome: the local area will be a better place to live, work or visit. (National Lottery Heritage Fund)

Climate Ready Historic Environment Scotland (HES, 18/11/2021)

Creative Industries and Tourism Beyond Economic Development (UK National Commission for UNESCO and PRAXIS at the University of Leeds)

New SEDA guides on Air Quality in Airtight Homes (October 2021)

Historic Environment Scotland Annual Report and Financial Statements 2020-21 (23/11/2021)

Architectural Heritage Fund Annual Review 2020-21 (23/11/2021)

Scottish Government News Releases

The Draft Fourth National Planning Framework (Draft NPF4) 

Hydrogen action plan: draft (10/11/2021)

Subordinate Legislation

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2021

News Releases

Glasgow man ‘hasn’t switched on heating for two years’ after high flats refurbishment (Glasgow Live, 15/11/21)

Research captures and enhances value of UK culture and heritage: AHRC and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will support a new study to measure the value of UK culture and heritage (UKRI 19/11/2021)

Bowhill House to be heated by one of Scotland’s largest heat pumps (Historic Houses, 22/11/2021)

Opinion & Comment

We can save Britain’s heritage and embodied carbon (The Developer, 08/11/21)

Not just a pretty face — why preserve London’s facades? (Financial Times, paywall 12/11/21)

Cool reception for Edinburgh Castle’s solar panel proposal (The Times, paywall 16/11/21)

Global heating is destroying rock art tens of thousands of years old, experts warn (The Guardian, 16/11/21)

Neat enough for Pepys: Magdalene college Cambridge’s inventive new library (The Guardian, 23/11/21)

Podcast: When did you last change your mind? (RSA Bridges to the Future)

Parliamentary Questions & Answers

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

S6W-04031: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Date lodged: 28 October 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to ensure that older buildings, which may be subject to stricter planning regulations, can become energy neutral, and what support it can offer to the owners of these buildings to help make their properties energy neutral.
Answered by Patrick Harvie on 11 November 2021

S6W-04067: Sharon Dowey, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party 
Date lodged: 3 November 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it has taken to introduce appropriate remuneration for board members of national culture and heritage public bodies, as referred to in A Culture Strategy for Scotland.
Answered by Jenny Gilruth on 11 November 2021

S6W-03774: Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 14 October 2021
To ask the Scottish Government, regarding its Heat in Buildings Strategy, what it is doing to ensure that colleges and schools have sufficient trained professionals to teach the skills required to deliver the strategy; what planning is taking place to create and provide such courses; what it is doing to encourage potential students to undertake such training; what it estimates the cost will be to local authorities of providing such training; where it anticipates local authorities will fund this from, and whether it will provide any financial support to local authorities for this.
Answered by Patrick Harvie on 11 November 2021

S6W-04058: Stephen Kerr, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party  
Date lodged: 1 November 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to increase the percentage of non-electrical heat demand that is met by renewable technologies.
Answered by Patrick Harvie on 15 November 2021

S6W-04183: Monica Lennon, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour 
Date lodged: 5 November 2021
To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to announce the composition of the Green Heat Finance Taskforce.
Answered by Patrick Harvie on 19 November 2021

S6O-00383: John Mason, Glasgow Shettleston, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 10 November 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what role Passivhaus homes and off-site manufacturing have in the Glasgow Shettleston constituency in supporting its aim to achieve net zero by 2045.


Motion ref. S6M-02029
Glasgow Traditional Building Forum Hosts COP26 Skills Demonstration Event
Submitted by: Paul Sweeney, Glasgow, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Thursday, November 11, 2021

Motion ref. S6M-02200
Net Zero and Construction: Perspective and Pathways
Submitted by: Monica Lennon, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Friday, November 19, 2021


For the full list of BEFS Members’ upcoming events see our events calendar.

Cupar Development Trust: AGM and Lecture 
Date & Time: 30 November, 1745 for 1800
Online: via Zoom
The AGM agenda will be dealt with briskly, and the formalities will be immediately followed by a lecture by Euan Leitch, Chief Executive of SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Forum.

Icon Scotland Group: 24th Annual Plenderleith Memorial Lecture
Date & Time: 2 December, 19:00 – 20:15
Join Icon Scotland for our 24th annual lecture in memory of Dr Harold Plenderleith, one of the key founders of modern conservation. This year, our invited speaker is Sir Geoff Palmer OBE, Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, renowned scientist and human rights activist, who currently chairs the Scottish Government as part of Empire, Slavery & Scotland’s Museums Steering Group. Sir Geoff will share his perspective on the steps the heritage sector is taking to come to terms with and address racism and invisible histories, and the challenges we must face to ensure more equal and representative material heritage in the future.

Archaeology Scotland: Dunfermline Abbey Churchyard Workshops
Date & Time: 4 – 5 December 
Location: Dunfermline Abbey 
The Abbey Churchyards’ books are the gravestones, ready to entertain us with tales of love, human tragedies and heroic acts. Sadly today, too many of these stories have not been checked out and are long overdue for new readers. This project shines a light on these forgotten tales so these stone books can become familiar and well-loved classics and treasured tombs for future generations to enjoy. Join us for two workshops to continue checking and photographing the records for the New Churchyard, start mapping and looking at the reinstatement of the buried stones excavation area.

ICE: John Rennie and the Aberdeenshire Canal
Date & Time: 6 December, 18:00 – 19:00
For a number of years prior to 1793, the building of a canal from Aberdeen into the heart of Aberdeenshire had been a topic for discussion. In that year, a group of interested parties arranged for a feasibility study to be carried out in relation to the building of a canal from Aberdeen harbour to just short of Inverurie and thence to Monymusk. The Institution of Civil Engineers invite you to join them for an exploration of the role that Scottish engineer John Rennie played in the building of the Aberdeenshire Canal.

SHSMG: Using Social Media to Help with Fundraising
Date and Time:  7 December, 15:00
The final Scottish Heritage Social Media Group virtual event of 2021 will see Kenneth McElroy, Director at the Caithness Broch Project and Education & Volunteer Officer at Kilmartin Museum discuss how he’s used social media to promote and run large online crowdfunders and smaller creative fundraising projects for organisations in the heritage sector, all while sharing tips that you can apply to your own work.

SoAoS: Presbyterianism and Philhellenism, 1821–56
Date & Time: December 13th 6:00pm to 7:30pm GMT
Both in-person at NMS Auditorium and online via YouTube live.
Short description of event: This lecture explores the philhellenic writings and initiatives of these figures during the period between the outbreak of the Revolution and the end of the Crimean War, evaluating their significance within their wider Scottish, British imperial, and Greek contexts. It argues for the existence of a distinct, dissenting Presbyterian missionary philhellenism that was in turn linked with Britain’s political and colonial interests in the eastern Mediterranean.


Arts & Business Scotland: Hybrid working
Date & Time: 9 December, 12:00 – 13:30
Online: via Zoom
This webinar will provide practical guidance and insights into the move towards hybrid working and flexible working arrangements and the employment law implications. Delivered by Employment Lawyers from Anderson Strathern, the session will cover:
•     Top tips on managing a hybrid working policy.
•     How discrimination risks can be identified and mitigated
•     How can mental health and capability issues be appropriately managed
•     Can staff be made to work from home?
•     What if everyone wants to work from home?
•     What if the home is outside the UK

Arts & Business Scotland: Contracts 
Date & Time: 13 December, 12:00 – 13:00
Online: via Zoom
This webinar will cover key issues and considerations around entering into contracts and contracting generally in a COVID 19 and post pandemic world. Delivered by Scott Fyfe, Associate, Corporate from Anderson Strathern, the session will cover:
•    Contracting in a COVID19 and post pandemic world

•    Essential clauses including those covering cancellations and restrictions due to COVID-19.


National Lottery Heritage Fund: Head of Investment (Scotland)
The NLHF are looking for a Head of Investment to lead their grant-making team in Scotland. The role will ensure excellent grant-making through leadership of the Fund’s Investment Team, effectively managing an annual grants budget of around £15m and working collaboratively with partner organisations and stakeholders.
Closing date: 28 November

Heritage Trust Network: Heritage Trainee (Graduate)
The Heritage Trust Network is recruiting for a new post of Heritage Trainee (Graduate) for a fixed term of 6 months. This post has been designed to help the successful graduate develop on-the-job skills and knowledge to help them gain early-career access to the heritage sector.
Closing date: 13 December 

Get the BEFS Bulletin directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.