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What is scheduling?

A scheduled monument
Historic Scotland compiles and maintains a Schedule (a list) of monuments of national importance on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Scheduling is the process of adding monuments to this list.

The aim of scheduling is to preserve sites and monuments as far as possible in the form in which they have come down to us today.

Scheduling is an ongoing process. Scheduling began in 1882 when the first Ancient Monuments Act was passed. We assess and reassess monuments as our knowledge and understanding of what survives and its importance changes. Sometimes monuments are rescheduled to bring the maps and descriptions up-to-date. The process of rescheduling is the same as for scheduling.

Who decides what is to be scheduled?

Historic Scotland deals directly with all matters affecting scheduled monuments, on behalf of Scottish Ministers. The final decision on what is scheduled rests with Historic Scotland.

How are sites selected for scheduling?

Most scheduling takes place as part of a rolling programme focusing on those parts of Scotland that appear to be under-scheduled, and where scheduling will most quickly make a positive difference. Historic Scotland may commission thematic research to inform this analysis.

The Scheduling and Marine team are currently focusing upon improving the quality of the existing schedule. However we will continue to add a small number of new monuments to the schedule.

Anyone can propose a monument or archaeological site for designation as a scheduled monument by using our proposal form. It is also possible to request an amendment to an existing scheduled monument, a review of the documentation for a scheduled monument, or that a scheduled monument be removed from the Schedule (descheduled).

For new scheduling proposals we may not take forward all applications received for a full assessment as we need to prioritise these proposals against our other work. Cases which may not be taken forward include:

  • Proposals for monuments which are not clearly of national importance and are therefore unlikely to meet the scheduling criteria
  • Proposals where the supporting information supplied on the proposal form does not make a strong case for scheduling

How are sites assessed for national importance?

Historic Scotland assesses monuments against guidance and criteria set out by Scottish Ministers. This takes account of a wide range of factors, including artistic, archaeological, architectural, historic, traditional, aesthetic, scientific and social.

The Scottish Historic Environment Policy on scheduling contains more detail about protecting Scotland’s nationally important monuments.

Is scheduling the same as listing?

Scheduling is not the same as listing, which is designed to protect historic buildings and structures and is an entirely different legal process. However, both provide a foundation to ensure the management of change is informed.

Contact us

Scheduling, Marine and Battlefields team
Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 8766