Policy & Legislation: Scotland

Posted on March 17th, 2010 by Charles Boot

Alison Allighan writes:

Over the past two years Historic Scotland (HS) has been withdrawing sections of the Memorandum of Guidance on Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas which was last updated in 1998. Section 5 ‘Gardens and Designed Landscapes’ was superseded with the publication of Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) 3 early in March 2008. Last autumn, under the title of Managing Change in the Historic Environment, HS published the first of a suite of Guidance Notes to replace the Memorandum, for public consultation. We were disappointed that of the first fourteen guidance notes produced, ‘gardens and designed landscapes’ was not among them. Whilst the guidance notes relating to ‘Setting, Boundaries and Demolition’ contain some material relevant to designed landscapes, we would hope that Historic Scotland would see fit to produce a more specific note in the near future. Autumn 2009 also saw the update of the now consolidated SHEP to include policy relating to Listing and Listing Building Consent. There were no changes to the policy for gardens and designed landscapes with this update.

Following the public consultation on the Historic Environment Amendment Bill Scotland earlier in 2009, the responses received suggested that two main areas of concern not addressed by the Amendment Bill were the lack of a statutory duty of care for the historic environment, and the lack of a statutory duty for local authorities to maintain Historic Environment Records (HERs) and Sites and Monuments Records (SMRs). Discussion is now underway with the Built Environment Forum Scotland to see whether it might be possible to lobby for inclusion of these additional amendments to the Bill.

Early in November we attended the Ministerial Summit on the Built Environment, organised by the then Scottish Minister for Culture and External Affairs, Mike Russell. Held at Glasgow University the summit attracted delegates from the wide range of heritage organisations across Scotland. A series of presentations was followed by discussions chaired by the Minister who encouraged very lively debate by roving through the audience with his hand-held microphone. This event was then followed up by a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the Historic Environment, recognising the value of Scottish Heritage as a resource.

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