BEFS Bulletin – Retrofitting Homes for Net-Zero

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


BEFS is delighted to welcome a new Trustee to our Board. Fernanda Acosta Ballesteros, of Archaeology Scotland, brings her experience from diverse roles and organisations across the cultural heritage sector, as well as a focus on engagement, community heritage, inclusion and diversity. BEFS warmly thanks Eila Macqueen as she steps down from the Board after six years.

Ahead of yesterday’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee debate on Retrofitting of Properties for Net-Zero, Patrick Harvie wrote to the committee to set out the Scottish Government’s position, and SPICe published a spotlight blog taking a closer look at the issues involved.

Opening the debate, it was good to hear Committee Convenor, Ariane Burgess, mention a fabric-first approach, the known skills shortage, and VAT as she acknowledged the scale of the challenge ahead. Questions were raised by Fergus Ewing in relation to tenements, along with support for BEFS report Why Flats Fall Down. Although the Scottish Government work plan is currently delayed, previous work by the Tenement Working Group was rightly referenced by Paul Sweeney as an area where progress can be made. Read the debate transcript here.

Meanwhile, work on NPF4 continues, and SPICe have published a central hub for briefings, blogs, and online resources as parliamentary scrutiny of the draft progresses. A new blog from Hazel Johnson, BEFS Policy & Strategy Manager, outlines the results from BEFS initial engagement with Members in forming a response to the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee’s call for views.

Museums Galleries Scotland have shared details of new funding from the Scottish Government. The Museum Capital Resilience Fund will support capital costs that impact the long-term resilience of Scottish museums. All applicants should contact MGS regarding their proposed applications no later than 5pm on Friday 4 February 2022.

As part of the Empire, Slavery & Scotland’s Museums project, MGS also have a follow-up survey that investigates the work museums and galleries in Scotland have done, or plan to do, in relation to the historical impact and lasting legacy of Scotland’s links to the British Empire and colonialism. The survey is open until 7 February.

2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories. The second round of applications to the Community Stories Fund, which will support organisations and community groups to deliver public facing activities and events taking place in Scotland during 2022, will open on 24 January until 18 March 2022.

The deadline for entries for the Scottish Civic Trust’s My Place 2022 Awards, which celebrate community-led built environment projects, has been extended to 13 February.

Finally, the Architectural Heritage Fund have also welcomed two new Trustees to their Board, while Jenny Gilruth, Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, has today announced the appointment of Hugh Hall as the new Chair of Historic Environment Scotland. Congratulations to all.

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Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee – Call for Views: The role of local government and its cross-sectoral partners in financing and delivering a net-zero Scotland
Closes 21 January 2022

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

Heat in buildings – National Public Energy Agency: consultation – call for evidence 2021/2022
Closes 8 February 2022

Local Development Planning – regulations and guidance: consultation
Closes 31 March 2022

Open Space Strategies and Play Sufficiency Assessments: consultation
Closes 31 March 2022

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

Consultation Responses

BEFS Response to the Committee for Local Government, Housing and Planning – Call For Views on NPF4 (10/01/2022)

BEFS Member responses to the committee’s call for views: Archaeology ScotlandRTPISURF


Scottish Homeowners’ Views on Making Domestic Buildings Energy Efficient: Awareness, Challenges, and the Way Forward (Novoville Insights, 18/11/21)

Levelling Up and social needs: An analysis of government’s progress (NPC, 11/01/22)
NPC investigate where Levelling Up money is going and how it compares with public priorities.

SPICe Spotlight: Retrofitting homes for net-zero (13/01/22)

Learning Points: A Blue-Green Strategy for Kilmarnock Town Centre (Architecture & Design Scotland, 19/01/22)
A&DS gathered a group of experts to see how good practice in blue-green infrastructure could be applied to the East Ayrshire regeneration strategy for Kilmarnock Town Centre.

Rebuilding Heritage Resources
Collected blogs, guides, and toolkits from the NLHF-funded support programme to help the heritage sector respond to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scottish Government Publications

Building standards – (fire safety) external wall systems: consultation analysis (17/01/22)

UK Government Publications

UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2022
This report outlines the UK government and devolved administrations’ position on key climate change risks and opportunities. The risk assessment considers UK-wide climate risks across multiple sectors of the economy and priorities several for action.

News Releases

Scotland Regeneration Capital Grant Fund: Projects set for £25m funding boost (The Herald, 03/01/21)
22 projects in locations across Scotland which will share £25 million of funding.

Project appoints mentors to help develop traditional skills in Fife (Project Scotland, 14/01/22)
The Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration project has appointed Roz Artis and William Napier to work with individuals and SMEs in Fife who wish to develop traditional skills within their workforce.

‘Wallunteers’ build it better at Bannockburn House (Scottish Construction Now, 17/01/22)
The Bannockburn House Trust completed the then biggest urban community buy-out in the UK in 2017. A team of 20 volunteers have so far repointed more than 150 square metres of wall.

Hill House Box shortlisted for EU contemporary architecture prize (The National, 17/01/22)

One of Edinburgh’s oldest buildings to host culture project inspired by climate crisis (The Scotsman, 18/01/22)

Archaeological research in the Highlands (National Trust for Scotland, 14/12/21)
The National Trust for Scotland has 17 properties that fall within the Highland Council area and are therefore covered by the recently published Highland Archaeological Research Framework.

Opinion & Comment

David Lonsdale: Local councils must act to boost our town centres (The Herald, 7/01/22)
The director of the Scottish Retail Consortium argues newly-elected council administrations this Spring must ensure their policies and approach towards retail are supportive.

Podcast: What does the future hold for cities? (RSA Bridges to the Future, 11/01/22)
Matthew Taylor is joined by two Harvard economists, Edward Glaeser and David Cutler, to examine the history and future of the global city.

Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral could be handed over to Historic Environment Scotland as part of radical shake-up by Church of Scotland (Edinburgh News, 11/01/22)

M. Nolan Gray: Stop Fetishizing Old Homes (The Atlantic, 11/01/22)
Considering the American city, city planner Gray argues that whatever your aesthetic preferences, new construction is better on nearly every conceivable measure.

A look ahead at the coming year (Scottish Land Commission, 12/01/22)
Chief Executive Hamish Trench looks ahead to the Commission’s focus in 2022.

David Williams: Planning’s second century needs to learn from the errors of its first (The Planner, 14/01/22)
Instead of ‘creating place’, planners should focus on improving existing heritage -not just listed buildings and conservation areas, but the whole built fabric.

Home truths on the challenge to make Scotland a net zero nation (The National [Subscribers], 16/01/22)
Homes account for around thirteen per cent of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, and over two million need to be retrofitted to meet net zero targets.

Timothy Brittain-Catlin: Are Scotland’s baronial castles worth saving? (Apollo, 16/01/22)
Scotland is strewn with baronial ruins like those of Buchanan Castle; many more have been demolished.

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-05062Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/12/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the best and most cost effective way to insulate traditional granite homes, such as those in the north east and Aberdeen; what the reasons and evidence are for its position, and how it plans to support the decarbonisation of such homes.
Answered by Patrick Harvie (06/01/2022)

S6W-05067Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date lodged: 15 December 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Historic Environment Scotland publication, Guide to Energy Retrofit of Traditional Buildings, regarding the need for “an extensive programme of domestic retrofit” and the part that “the existing built environment, including older or historic buildings, will need to play…in the national refurbishment effort”.
Answered by Jenny Gilruth on 11 January 2022

S6W-05393Colin Beattie, Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Scottish National Party, Date lodged: 24 December 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what level of funding can be provided by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to stabilise and develop the site of Mavisbank House in Loanhead; what engagement HES is undertaking with relevant stakeholders to take forward development of this site; what short-term developments HES anticipates for this project, and whether HES will take a leadership role in the site’s development.
Answered by Jenny Gilruth on 11 January 2022

S6W-05249Willie Rennie, North East Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date lodged: 20 December 2021
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the climate emergency, and in regard to energy saving and efficiency improvements delivered through its national fuel poverty scheme and other related schemes, what action it has taken to ensure that improvements that are made to homes prioritise environmentally-friendly technologies and heating systems.
Answered by Patrick Harvie on 17 January 2022

Other Parliamentary Activity

Subordinate Legislation on Short-Term Lets Considered by The Local Government, Housing And Planning Committee on 21 December 2021 (published 12/01/22)

Letter from Patrick Harvie, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights to the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Convener regarding Retrofitting Housing for Net Zero – January 2022 (11 January 2022)

Retrofitting Housing for Net Zero – Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Debate (18 January 2022) Scottish Parliament TV Recording, Transcript


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

AHSS Strathclyde Group: Conservation in Post-War Scotland
Date & Time: 20 January, 19:30
Gordon R Urquhart, historian and author, charts the development of architectural conservation in Scotland from late 18th-century antiquarianism through to the emergence of a popular (and professional) conservation movement in the tumultuous postwar era.

ICON Archaeology Group: Conservation of the Galloway Hoard
Date & Time: 27 January, 12noon
Online £10 / Icon Members free
The Galloway Hoard was found in 2014 and an exhibition is now on tour in Scotland after extensive research and conservation work. It was a true conservation challenge having a variety of material (glass, rock crystal and other minerals, minerally preserved organics) in addition to the precious metals. This lecture will be given by Martin Goldberg (curator) and Mary Davis (conservator).

SPAB Scotland: Milling Matters – John O’Groats Corn Mill 
Date & Time: 1 February, 12noon
Online: £6 / £5 members or £21 for all four lectures
In the first in a series of four ‘Milling Matters’ lectures from SPAB Scotland and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, Rognvald Brown, chairman of the John O’Groats Mill Trust will present the experiences of the Trust with re-establishing this B listed former corn mill in Caithness as a heritage visitor attraction and community venue.

Scottish Historic Buildings Trust: The Port House, Jedburgh
Date & Time: 1 February, 18:00
Built in 1899 to the designs of Architect James Pearson Alison, the Port House, originally a Co-operative department store, had fallen into disrepair in recent times and was on the Buildings at Risk Register before being saved by the Jedburgh Community Trust. In this presentation, Emma Berry, a Partner and Advanced Level Conservation Architect at LDN Architects, will discuss the project from its inception to its imminent completion.

Heritage Trust Network: At the Heart of the Community – A Future for Your Church
Date & Time: 3 February, 10:00 – 11:30
Heritage Trust Network and Historic Churches Scotland are joining forces to host this event for any community group contemplating the future of their church building. We will hear a case study from Dinah McDonald, trustee of Historic Kilmun, who will talk about their journey to taking ownership, building repairs, fundraising and the current focus of becoming sustainable.

SoAoS: Diversity is not a silo: routes to anti-racist work in Scottish heritage
Date & Time: 7 February, 18:00
Dr Churnjeet Mahn will discuss what we need from the past to make more inclusive futures for BAME groups across Scotland. Case studies will explore how BAME people in Scotland are systematically excluded from the educational and organisational structures that underpin the management and public understanding of heritage in Scotland. Rather than being part of decision making on ‘national’ bodies, or in the board rooms of influential organisations, BAME people are more likely to be found in ‘community’ settings or events. How do we begin to think beyond silos of diversity?


Arts & Business Scotland: Culture and Business Scotland Conference 2022
Date & Time: 10 February, 14:00 – 17:00
Hosted by BBC Scotland’s Arts Correspondent Pauline McLean, this event welcomes the business, public, and culture sectors to come together to discuss how engaging with creativity and culture can be the key to not simply surviving but thriving in the face of key collective universal challenges.


Edinburgh World Heritage: Head of Engagement
Edinburgh World Heritage is looking to appoint a Head of Engagement to communicate the work and value of our organisation, and of Edinburgh as a World Heritage Site, maximising the impact of our reputation, income, profile and engagement. The Head of Engagement leads, and provides strategic direction for, the communications, interpretation, advocacy and learning and engagement programmes, as well as developing and implementing our fundraising strategy.
Closing date: 7 February, 10am

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