BEFS Bulletin – What Is The Legacy of COP26?

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


BEFS is delighted to officially welcome Ilona McAllister to our team. Ilona has joined us as Company Secretary and Business Administrator, bringing extensive experience of operations from 17 years in London working in politics, media and finance. BEFS sends warm thanks to Fionnuala Douglas, who leaves us after 5 years, and wishes her luck in her new appointment.

COP26 is into its final days, and this edition of the Bulletin is packed full of climate-related events, talks, and blogs. But what will be the legacy of all this activity? BEFS Director Ailsa Macfarlane offers a personal reflection on how big promises translate into national and local policies – and why it’s time for the sector to change the conversation.

BEFS will be Feature Hosts at the IHBC@COP26 ‘Conservation Helpdesk+’ this afternoon. Join us from 4pm as we discuss advocacy and introduce a viewing of Heritage and Sustainability: A Journey Down the Royal Mile, a film made with partners across the sector and launched for this year’s Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival. The IHBC’s ‘Climate and Conservation’ Podcast, consisting of 10 episodes featuring expert leads and practitioners from the US and Europe across COP26, can be accessed through SpotifyAmazon Music, and their podcast website.

There’s still time to book your free place for Tenement Maintenance = Sustainable Homes this Friday 12 November at SpACE in Edinburgh. BEFS, Under One Roof, and Novoville will tackle shared repairs, owners’ associations, and support to get started – don’t miss the chance to put your questions to the experts over some post-work refreshment.

Tenements are in the spotlight at the moment, with a recent article in The Times (paywall) considering the issues inherent in retrofitting these buildings in line with net zero ambitions. Despite many salient points, no mention is made of embodied carbon or longevity, in contrast to the Empty Homes and the Climate Emergency report which emphasises the environmental case for refurbishment.

BEFS was interested to see the publication of a new set of guidance from the Scottish Futures Trust which aims to support public bodies in achieving net zero carbon targets on construction projects. The standards have been developed in partnership with the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and NHS National Services Scotland with input from sectoral stakeholders and public bodies.

Celebrating Archaeology in Scotland 2021 has been released. This magazine style report showcases the fantastic work taking place across Scotland and promotes how people from all corners of the heritage sector are delivering the aims of the Archaeology Strategy. There’s also still time to book a free ticket to the online Edinburgh Lothian and Borders Conference to be held on the 20 November.

It’s the last chance to register for the Heritage Trust Network’s 2021 Conference. Join them tomorrow for a day of online talks on the theme of Recovery, Sustainability, Wellbeing, followed by two days in Coventry 19-20 November.

We’re delighted to see that BEFS Members, Edinburgh World Heritage, recently met with the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Angus Robertson.

Congratulations to Ochiltree Community Hub and The Swan, Banton, winners of the Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards, which celebrate . Ochiltree Community Hub was recognised for its efforts in building a new community centre, while The Swan was recognised for its efforts in saving the pub from demolition and attracting new investment to the area. All the winners and entrants of the My Place Awards and My Place Photography Competition  at the My Place 2021 Exhibition in Glasgow until 22 November.

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HES Covid-19 Survey
Closes 21 November

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


Adapting To The Climate Crisis: The Scottish Civic Trust’s Response (May 2020)

Transforming Planning in Practice: updated planning reform implementation programme (SG 29/10/21)

Scotland’s Road to Net Zero – Tracking Scotland’s Performance (The Fraser of Allander Institute, 1/11/21)

The Impact of Arts-Based Education (RSA, 1/11/21)

New net zero guidance published to dramatically reduce climate impact of future public buildings (Scottish Futures Trust 4/11/21)

Climate Heritage Network Resource Library (Climate Heritage Network)

Communicating Climate Heritage Toolkit (with Advocacy Guide, Mission Statement, Resource mapping and analysis)

Levelling up – an opportunity for coherent regional policy or a constitutional ruse? (Academy of Social Sciences)

Local housing manifestos: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow (Shelter Scotland)

Heritage, Mental Health and Wellbeing (UNESCO)

Building a Heritage-Led Green Recovery (Historic Houses)

A Toolkit for Successful Town Centres (Scotland’s Towns Partnership)

Scottish Government News Releases

Chief Planner Letter: stakeholder update – November 2021

Empowering communities on climate action – Seven towns chosen for the Climate Action Towns programme (SG 7/11/21)

UK Government News Releases

Levelling Up Fund: first round successful bidders. Successful bidders for round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund include Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh & Inverness.

News Releases

UK Green Building Council picks 17 “exemplary sustainable projects” for COP26 virtual pavilion (Dezeen 25/10/21)

UK Green Building Council launches new network in Scotland (UKGBC, 4/11/21)

Climate Beacons for COP26 (Creative Carbon Scotland)

Opinion & Comment

Who owns Scotland? Mapping the land in our towns and cities (BBC 24/10/21)

Insulate Britain won’t be stopped by people who think you can grow concrete (Insulate Britain, The Guardian, 27/10/21)

Climate Change, architecture and winter clothes (Marcus Patton, Ulster Architectural Heritage, 1/11/21)

Michael Palin is praying for survival of church buildings (Paywall – The Times, 1/11/21)

COP26: Climate Resilience Heritage Summit (Icon’s Chief Executive Sara Crofts shares some reflections on adaptation, 3/11/21)

Building for the future: The challenge of decarbonising Scotland’s homes (Holyrood Magazine, 8/11/21)

We can save Britain’s heritage and embodied carbon (The Developer, 8/11/21)

Grade I to net zero: can historic houses be made energy efficient? (Paywall – Financial Times)

Empty Homes and the Climate Emergency (Empty Homes Partnership)

New Angle: Voice – Pioneering Women of American Architecture (Podcast – Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation)

SCAPE: three-minute #ClimateHeritage video exploring how eroding coastal archaeology inspired the revival of salt making in a Scottish Highland village.

Is this how a Pictish fort looked 1,000 years ago? (BBC)

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”.

Fulton MacGregor (Coatbridge & Chryston) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on when it expects to publish the draft National Planning Framework 4, and on the timeframes for (a) consultation on and (b) adoption of the framework.
Minister for Public Finance, Planning & Community Wealth, Tom Arthur: The Scottish Government intends to lay the draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) in the Scottish Parliament later in autumn this year for a scrutiny period of up to 120 days. Public consultation on the NPF4 will run alongside the Parliamentary process, and the Scottish Government is keen to hear the views of as wide a range of people as possible. The final adoption date will depend on the approval of NPF4 by the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Government is currently aiming to lay a finalised version for approval by summer 2022.

Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) (Con) 
Draft Heat in Buildings Strategy:
S6W-03772 Impact of on remote and rural communities.
S6W-03777 Research into cost effectiveness
S6W-03776 Temperature of air source heat pumps vs gas boilers
S6W-03771 Financial support for homeowners
S6W-03773 Total cost of the project
Answered by Patrick Harvie (04/11/2021)

Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) (Con): To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on whether the funding allocated to the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme will be sufficient to meet its ambitions for the deployment of heat networks.
Answered by Patrick Harvie (04/11/2021)

S6W-02606: Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/09/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to introduce or reintroduce any empty homes grants that aim to bring properties back into the social rental sector.
Answered by Shona Robison (26/10/2021)

Other Parliamentary Activity

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Pre-budget scrutiny 2022-23 – 26 October 2021

The Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee Pre-budget scrutiny: culture sector funding

Fife MSP Alex Rowley is drawing up a proposal for a private member’s bill that would see all new housing constructed in Scotland built with high performing materials, using a construction method that would ensure greater levels of energy efficiency, lower energy bills and alleviate fuel poverty.


Motion ref. S6M-01786: Clackmannanshire Stonemason, Liam Macaulay
Submitted by: Alexander Stewart, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.
Date lodged: Tuesday, November 2, 2021


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

HES & Partners: Visions of Climate Heritage
Explore the story of Scotland’s climate heritage, past and present, in this crowdsourced exhibition. Enter your best photographs and artwork for the chance to win a prize.
Closing date: 30 November 2021
Information session and photography top tips

Date & Time: 1 – 12 November, Mon, Wed, Fri – 12.30pm
Online: Scottish Civic Trust YouTubeFacebook and Twitter
Although marginalised communities bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change, they are often excluded from discussions about sustainability. Join Scottish Civic Trust for an online lecture series about the intersection of heritage, equity and the climate crisis. Speakers will be touching on a range of topics, including Indigenous approaches to sustainable management of heritage sites, involving children in the sustainable management of World Heritage Sites, heritage as a social and multi-species practice and more!

Heritage Trust Network: Recovery, Sustainability, Wellbeing
Date & Time: 11 November – Online, 19 and 20 November – Coventry
Join Heritage Trust Network for our annual Conference in the 2021 City of Culture and online. This year our speakers will focus on how we can develop our projects and approaches to heritage regeneration whilst thinking about our environmental impact, our people and our long term survival. Join us at the in-person event for a day of interactive workshops, followed by a day of walking tours and building visits.

Archaeology Scotland: The Bedrule Heritage Project – Dig & Workshops
Date & Time: 11 November – 20 November
Location: Bedrule Castle, Hawick TD9 8TE
A new project conducted by Archaeology Scotland in partnership with Campaign for a Scottish Borders National Park will investigate and excavate the remains of Bedrule Castle among other sites part of ‘The Twelve Towers of Rule’ in the Scottish Borders. Open to anyone interested, the Bedrule Heritage Project, named after the dig site, will aim to unpack more of its history and the lives of the people of Rule Water. It will achieve this through a series of workshops and an archaeology dig at Bedrule Castle between November 11-20.

BEFS, Under One Roof, & Novoville: Tenement Maintenance = Sustainable Homes
Date & Time:  12 November 18:00 – 19:30
Location: SpACE, Lauriston Fire Station, ECA, Edinburgh
Join us for a free evening event at SpACE – Edinburgh’s pop-up Space for Architecture + Carbon + Environment – exploring why tenement maintenance is important for sustainable homes. Come along to hear from our speakers about organising repairs and sharing information with your neighbours, explore how to form owners’ associations, and find out what support is out there to help you get started – as well as looking at how maintaining your home plays an important role in tackling climate change.

Scottish Civic Trust: Construction Collage
Date & Time: 12 November, 13:00 – 16:00
Location: South Block, 60-64 Osborne Street, Glasgow, G1 5QH
Pop into Scottish Civic Trust’s offices to participate in Construction Collage, a collaborative workshop on the topic of how construction can respond to the challenges of climate change. Groups of 4-8 will play together to explore the environmental and social issues of the construction industry.

Community Heritage Conversations #9: Celebrating Community Heritage
Date & Time: 13 November 10:00 – 12:30
Scotland’s Community Heritage Conversations is a new series of digital events to bring together volunteers, community groups and heritage professionals, providing them with a stage to share experiences, inspire and support one another with ideas and plans, and to celebrate the places that matter to us all. This event will showcase the diverse range of activities being delivered by our local communities and how they have come together to celebrate and highlight the tangible and intangible aspects of their local area.

Jedburgh & Hawick CARS: Treatment of the Dead at Jedburgh Abbey Ramparts
Date & Time: 16 November, 18:00
Recent repair works at the Jedburgh Abbey Ramparts have helped uncover the site’s history whilst also unearthing human skeletal remains from the former Abbey graveyard. Ian Hill of HARP Archaeology presents the findings of these works, providing further detail on what we have learned from the human remains uncovered.

Edinburgh, Lothians & Borders Archaeology Conference 
Date & Time: 20 November 10:00 – 15:00
This annual archaeology conference is organised by City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council and Scottish Borders Council.  It provides an important opportunity to hear and discuss first hand accounts of the archaeological fieldwork and research being undertaken in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders.

Scotland’s Towns Conference 2021
Date: 22-26 November
Online:  Hopin
The Scotland’s Towns Conference 2021 will focus on Greater, Greener, Fairer: A New Future for Scotland’s Towns and discuss key recommendations from the Town Centre Action Plan Review group . The conference will be grounded by core sessions on: 1) Policy, Planning, Place, 2) Financing, and 3) Delivering.Hosted by Journalist and Broadcaster Rona Dougall, the programme includes inspirational keynotes and whiteboard conversations, lunch + learn sessions, international learning, exhibition, Scotland Loves Local Awards and new ways to network and connect through 1-2-1s.

AHSS: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures – Scotland’s Historic Buildings and the Climate Emergency
Date & Time: 22 November, 18:30 – 20:00
Location: SpACE, Edinburgh, and Online
Please join us, in person at the SpACE pop-up (ECA Fire Station, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh), or on-line, to hear our expert panel discuss the problems and challenges of historic buildings in relation to the climate emergency, and to consider any new aspects or commitments which may have arisen as a result of COP26.

IHBC: COTAC Conference 2021 – Protecting our World, Protecting our Heritage
Date & Time:  23-24 November, 10.00-13.00 both days
Online:  GoToWebinar
Day 1 will explore the expected impact of climate change on the built heritage, and the potential impact of climate change mitigation on the built heritage.  Day 2 will explore ways to support development of the training, skills, and expertise needed to protect the built heritage and reduce emission of greenhouse gases.


FHBT: Interpretation for Inverkeithing Heritage Regeneration Project
Fife Historic Buildings Trust invites tenders to design, produce and install a range of interpretive outputs in Inverkeithing: external interpretation boards, a refreshed guide book, text for carving into new sculptural features, interpretation in the historic Town House, and for use by local businesses.
Closing date: 15 November

GBPT: Director
Glasgow Building Preservation Trust is a registered charity which was established almost 40 years ago with the mission to rescue, repair, and restore historic buildings at risk across the city.
The Trust now seeks a new Director who can work with the staff team and board to deliver regeneration and restoration projects across the city of Glasgow.
Closing date: 15 November

Landscape Institute: Policy and Partnerships Manager (Scotland)
The Landscape Institute (LI) seek a Scotland-based Policy and Partnerships Manager for a 12-month maternity cover role. The LI is looking to build its external presence, and you will work on policy, research and insight, campaigns, and networking to grow LI’s influence and help build the profession in Scotland. The post will work with the Head of Policy and LI membership to develop policy positions, prepare expert briefings, build the LI network, and ensure that the voice of landscape is heard by decision-makers.
Closing date: 17 November

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