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BEFS statement on Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

The Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill has been published and can be found at

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/bills/43-HistoricEnvironment/index.htm

BEFS have released the following statement on the Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

Ensuring the care of Scotland’s historic environment

Stakeholders welcome and strongly endorse proposed amendments to heritage legislation introduced to Parliament today; however, we seek additional legislative provisions which will bring the management and protection of Scotland’s unique and irreplaceable historic environment into the 21st century.

The Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill will go a significant way towards ensuring the care of Scotland’s irreplaceable historic environment by closing gaps and loopholes, however NGO stakeholders ask that the Bill will:

  1. Provide for a responsibility on all public bodies to protect, enhance and have special regard to Scotland’s historic environment in exercising their duties.

  2. Ensure that local authorities have access, and give special regard, to appropriate information and expert advice on the local historic environment in exercising their duties.

Dr Simon Gilmour, leading on the Bill within the umbrella body BEFS (Built Environment Forum Scotland), highlights that “members of BEFS strongly endorse the provisions set out in the Bill, but believe that a responsibility on public bodies to care for the historic environment is necessary since this would underpin the future care of Scotland’s historic environment, as an integral component in the wider management of resources. The majority of our historic built environment is currently afforded no statutory protection through the recognised systems of listing and scheduling. Understanding what is deemed significant or valuable about a ‘heritage asset’ is a necessary prerequisite to managing, protecting and enhancing that site, building or place. Having access to information and expertise on the local historic environment is therefore crucial.”

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