Scotland’s Historic Environment

Scotland’s historic environment is the physical evidence of human activity. It connects people with places and with the traditions, stories and memories linked to those places. From the ordinary to the iconic, the historic environment surrounds us in our daily lives.

The places in which we live and work, and which we visit, are part of our cultural identity. They embody social and economic changes over time, telling the story of Scotland’s past. By understanding what people value about their local place, we can help to make sure that new development respects and adds to the legacy of what has gone before.

visitscotland_31480317342-low-resThe historic environment is one of Scotland’s most precious assets:

  • It contributes to our economy supporting over 66,000 jobs. It contributes in excess of £2.3 billion to Scotland’s economy, with £2.9 billion in gross value added in 2017. The economic value of volunteers in the sector has recently been measured at £14.7 million.
  • It contributes to our sense of wellbeing – those who visited a historic or archaeological place were over 50% more likely to report a high life satisfaction than those who did not visit. 89% of adults strongly agreed or agreed “it is important to me that heritage buildings, monuments and places are well looked after”.
  • It contributes to minimising carbon emissions -1/5 of dwellings are almost 100 years old and comprise embodied energy. Re-use and maintenance of this existing building stock supports reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Read more facts and figures on Scotland’s historic environment.

As a membership forum for organisations and individuals working with Scotland’s historic environment, BEFS seeks to improve the legislation and policy that helps care for Scotland’s historic environment for people to use, experience, appreciate and enjoy.

Learn more about BEFS role in the historic environment and its membership.

For information on Scottish legislation and policies relating to the historic environment see key policies.

A rich array of successful projects & initiatives taking place across Scotland

Historic Environment Case Studies

55,400 jobs, 121,000 volunteering days, 14.6 million visitors to historic environment sites

More Facts & Figures