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Historic environment funding opens up a further £166 million investment over five years

7 November 2013

Extensive investment in the historic environment by Historic Scotland over the past five years has levered in over £166 million of additional funding.

                                   Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs with Jordan Kirk, the foreman at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, which benefits from £200,000 per annum in investment in its traditional skills apprentice programme from Historic Scotland.

An independent analysis commissioned by Historic Scotland and carried out by Jura Consultants  assessed the impact of a range of investments from 2007-12. These include: Conservation Area Regeneration Schemes, Historic Building Repair Grants, City Heritage Trusts, Archaeology Grants, Ancient Monument Grants and Voluntary Sector Grants. Case studies looked in detail at the process and how it delivered benefits on the ground.

The highly oversubscribed Conservation Area Regeneration Schemes (CARS) invested £27 million in communities across Scotland in the past five years. £6.7 million was invested in 2007, delivering improvements to 28,000 sq m of public realm, and the rejuvenation and reuse of 15,000 sq m of vacant floor space. This investment attracted a further £18.6 million from other sources.

In addition, from 2007-12, more than 259 buildings benefited from a Building Repair Grant, with funding for a broad range of conservation and restoration projects totalling £33 million. Many of the properties which received monies to carry out works are visitor attractions or are open to the public on a regular basis, and the report concluded that for every pound invested via the programme, £4.50 is generated from other sources; a total of £147.5 million.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “Our heritage is dynamic, rich and inspiring, and its social, cultural and economic benefits are wide-reaching, as the analysis of the extensive impact of recent grant investment illustrates. Investments in our historic environment over the past five years have been a catalyst for a further £166 million of investment in our communities, and these figures highlight the key role grants from Historic Scotland play in regenerating our town centres and supporting tourism.”

The report is published as the Scottish Government issues its response to the consultation on the draft Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland and proposed creation of a new lead body to support its delivery. The vision and aims of the Strategy have been widely supported.

The consultation response outlines the proposed merger bill between Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).  The Bill will create a new Non-Departmental Public Body to ensure that maximum public benefit is delivered for Scotland’s historic environment.

For legislative purposes the new body  will be called Historic Environment Scotland, however the key brands such as Historic Scotland, Canmore, the National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) and Scran will be retained. The new body will be able to choose a public-facing name for itself after further work to establish how this might fit with existing brands.

The response has been published on the day that the Scottish Government launches a Town Centre Action Plan, which sets out a cross-government response to Community and Enterprise in Scotland’s Town Centres, a report produced by the External Advisory Group in July which outlined a vision for Scotland’s town centres, concentrating on community, enterprise and place.

Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland, Sir Kenneth Calman said: "The Trust welcomes the proposals and the manner in which the Scottish Government has positively engaged with us and others in the conservation and heritage sectors. The strategy that has emerged provides a useful framework for the merger of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and other partners in helping to conserve Scotland's unrivalled heritage and contributing to the development of a successful and sustainable historic environment sector.”

Director of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Vice Chairman of the Built Environment Forum of Scotland, Dr Simon Gilmour said: “We have been inspired and challenged by the collaborative formation of the first ever strategy for Scotland’s Historic Environment and look forward to working with the proposed new body to build on the existing strengths made so apparent in this report. This is an excellent opportunity for us all to engage, influence and deliver something which will have a lasting legacy for Scotland’s future generations.”  

Fiona Hyslop added: “Our heritage is of us all and for us all, and it is crucial that we should all have the opportunity and the enthusiasm to participate in and celebrate it. Maintaining and restoring  the historic buildings in our villages, towns and countryside not only enhances our surroundings and encourages additional investment, but has a positive impact on our communities, our pride and sense of self.”

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.



  • A summary of the purpose and findings of the analysis by Jura Consultants can be found in annexe 1.

  • Following a 12-week joint consultation on the proposals for the merger, which ran until 31 July, 96 responses – the majority of which were positive - were received from a wide range of organisations and individuals. Having now taken on board all views received the Strategy will be finalised and the Merger Bill will be laid before the Scottish Parliament early next year. The bill will enable the new body to play a leading role in investigating, recording, caring for, protecting and celebrating Scotland’s historic environment, allowing partners, stakeholders, communities and individuals to contribute to these functions. The proposal outlines the management of a range of areas and changes, from grant-giving and collections to the new body having charitable status.

  • Historic Scotland was created in 1991 as an executive agency from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Division within the Scottish Office. Its role is to undertake, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, statutory functions to protect and promote the historic environment. It also acts as a leader and enabler to ensure that the historic environment delivers economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits for Scotland. Historic Scotland cares for 345 historic properties and sites on behalf of Ministers, who hold them in trust for the people of Scotland. The organisation has approximately 1,100 full time employees. Historic Scotland’s grant from Scottish Government for 2012/13 was £40.3 million. Visits to Historic Scotland’s paid-for properties in 2011/12 were 3.4 million, with total income from paid-for attractions of nearly £32 million.

  • RCAHMS was established in 1908 by Royal Warrant. Its mission is to help people to value and enjoy their surroundings, provide a world-class record of the historic and built environment to local, national and international audiences, and advance understanding of the human influence on Scotland’s places from earliest times to the present day. It has 104 full-time staff (2011-12 annual report). RCAHMS also draws on 100 volunteer hours per week and supports 14 work-based learning trainees (largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund). During 2011-12, RCAHMS total incoming resources amounted to £6.5 million. Of this, baseline funding plus supplementary income from the Scottish Government totalled £4.6 million (71 per cent). The remaining £1.9 million comprised grant income for specific projects, including partnership projects, and income generated from commercial activities.

  • Historic Scotland has given the National Trust for Scotland  £7,296,921 in grant support since 1999.

  • The workshop at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh was established in 1987 to provide education and training for young unemployed people in the skills and crafts required for the restoration of historic buildings, particularly churches. Over 40 apprentices have completed four-year courses at the workshop since its inception and have found employment in the building industry/ The on-going work is now in Year 25 of a planned 27-year programme.  The grant from Historic Scotland is approximately £200,000 per annum, giving a total of around £5m of grant support over the life of the programme.

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For further information


Alice Wyllie
Media and PR Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768 096
alice.wyllie@scotland.gsi.gov.uk