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Protecting the Historic Environment

4 November 2010

Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop will today (Thursday) outline how new legislation will increase protection of the historic environment.

Debating the principles of the Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, the Minister said it would improve the management and protection of the historic environment and address gaps in the current laws.

The Minister said: “This Bill will modernise the existing legislation and introduce new powers to apply for an immunity from listing.

“Whether the certificate of immunity is granted or the building becomes listed,  getting a decision early will provide certainty for owners and developers considering works.

“This will allow projects to be taken forward with confidence because crucial decisions about listing have been made at a vital early stage in the process.

“In a challenging economic climate this clearly signals our willingness to bring forward proposals which will facilitate development by ensuring crucial decisions are made as early as possible.”

“The Bill also takes this opportunity to harmonise aspects of heritage legislation and planning legislation so the system operates consistently and is easier to understand and work with.”

In addition to the introduction of certificates for immunity from listing during a development, the proposed Bill will also:

  • introduce statutory inventories for gardens and designed landscapes and for battlefields ensuring these nationally important sites are identified and recorded

  • extend Scottish Ministers’ grant making powers to support a wider range of historic environment projects than are currently eligible
  • introduce a series of enforcement provisions which that will harmonise aspects of historic environment legislation with the planning regime and enhance the ability of regulatory authorities to deal with urgent threats

Currently there are three Acts relating to the historic environment – the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953, the Ancient Monument and  Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the Town and Country Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas)(Scotland) Act 1997.

The Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Act will update these to ensure that there is consistency in protecting monuments and buildings covered the different legislation.

Images of the Minister or historic sites are available to download for free at or call the image library on 0131 668 8907.

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.

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768100