BEFS Update

During these extraordinary times, BEFS will be providing short weekly updates on relevant information for the built environment sector.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF)have released the initial findings of their survey on the initial impact of COVID-19 on the heritage sector. It reports that:

  • 82% of organisations reported high or moderate risk to their long-term viability. That figure rises to 90% of charity, third sector or private organisations
  • 37% of organisations who responded can survive for no more than six months
  • 11% expecting to keep going for no more than two months.

Further details can be found here. As a result, the NLHF have launched the Heritage Emergency Fund.

The Our Place in Time CEO Forum is meeting this afternoon and BEFS will provide any updates arising from this. BEFS overview of advice and guidance on the Coronavirus, from across the heritage funding landscape and built environment sector, has also now been updated.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill has been published and passed by the Scottish Parliament within 48 hours. It includes provision to extend by 12 months from the date of the Act consented planning permissions that are due to expire within a 6 month period. This was agreed in consultation with Heads of Planning, Scotland, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. The Bill is available with planning referred to in Schedule 7, Para 8-10 here. A more readable explanation is available courtesy of the Scottish Parliamentary Information Centre.

The Scottish Government Planning Directorate will shortly be releasing further information on adjustments to planning procedures due to the restrictions on gathering, but one early case study of pre-application consultation switching to online can be found here. The development industry is working hard to ensure timescales remain as uninterrupted as possible. It remains to be seen what this fully means for public participation. One consultant is maintaining a spreadsheet on how planning authorities are managing their local processes, which can be found here.

Kevin Stewart has decided, due to the COVID-19 crisis, not to implement the Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. The Minister felt the additional duties and responsibilities the regulations would place on local authorities at this time would be detrimental to their focus on frontline emergency responses to the pandemic.

The international climate crisis conference COP 26 scheduled to take place in Glasgow this November has been postponed until November 2021. The Scottish Government has also postponed work on all non-essential legislation which includes the Circular Economy Bill and delayed the planned April update of the Climate Change Plan.

The RTPI are undertaking research on Measuring Planning Outcomes Research to consider how local authorities can measure the outcomes of planning in order to track and improve the impact of planning. To aid them in this we would encourage you to respond to this survey.

During these extraordinary times, BEFS will be providing these short updates weekly when relevant information for the built environment sector becomes available, in addition to the fortnightly bulletin.