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Historic environment policy launched by Ministers

28 March 2008

Government policy on Gardens and Designed Landscapes and Properties in Care as been launched by Scottish Ministers today (March 28).

The programme of Scottish Historic Environment Policy papers (SHEPs) sets out Ministers’ policies to ensure sustainable use and management on diverse areas of the historic environment.

The SHEP on Gardens and Designed Landscapes sets out policy in this area for the first time in a decade, superseding part of the Memorandum of Guidance on Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas (1998). Ministers will continue to identify nationally important Gardens and Designed Landscapes, so that they can be taken account of in the planning process.

The SHEP for Properties in Care (PIC) sets out in one place for the first time a range of policy relating to taking monuments into state care, safeguarding and maintaining them, and providing educational and other facilities to a wide range of visitors, both from Scotland and further afield.

Culture Minister Linda Fabiani MSP said: “These two SHEPs continue our efforts to provide a coherent structure for identifying and safeguarding Scotland’s historic environment. These policies will enable the protection of a magnificent portfolio of important gardens and landscapes, and clarify the ways in which we will protect and enhance some of the most important historic monuments and places in Scotland, which are key parts of our cultural identity and support both education and tourism.”

The Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, which identifies sites of national importance at the time of designation, was first published in 1987 and contains 386 sites from across the country. Sites on the Inventory must be considered by planning authorities when proposals affect them. The SHEP encourages local authorities to develop policies for the appropriate treatment of non-inventory gardens and landscapes.

Tony Cairns, Head of Gardens at Historic Scotland, said: “Important gardens and designed landscapes are significant, as well as fragile, elements of the historic environment. They offer examples of artistic talent, reflect centuries of social and economic change, are integral to many of the most treasured historical sites and key tourist attractions.

“The Inventory provides a method of recognising such sites and, with the SHEP, they will be sustained and managed to be enjoyed by all.”

The Properties in Care SHEP sets out the criteria for taking properties into the care of Scottish Ministers, how they are maintained and conserved, and how Historic Scotland will manage access, activity on the sites and proposals for change.

Historic Scotland cares for 345 historic attractions across Scotland spanning over 5000 years of Scotland’s history and culture. These include prehistoric standing stones, medieval abbeys, gardens, palaces, lighthouses, cathedrals and magnificent castles such as Edinburgh Castle, Calanais Standing Stones and New Abbey Corn Mill. The portfolio of properties attracts over 3 million visitors annually.

Peter Bromley, Director of Properties in Care at Historic Scotland, said: “The state takes properties into its care for their long term preservation and for the public benefit that derives from of a collection of monuments which define significant aspects of Scotland’s past. We will continue to manage this in order to safeguard our heritage for the future.”

Both the Gardens and Designed Landscapes and Properties in Care SHEPs underwent a 12-week consultation period in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The process invites views, from the public and various stakeholders, on Scottish Ministers’ policies for the specific areas of the country’s heritage. The consultation process, compulsory for all the various areas covered within the policy programme, helped to form the basis of the final policy papers.

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.

  • The policies are the Government’s fourth and fifth in a programme of 12 SHEPs, produced by Historic Scotland, which covers various areas of Scotland’s historic environment.

  • The Gardens and Designed Landscapes and Properties in Care SHEPs are two of 12 policy papers, including new policies (in final form) for Scheduled Monument Consent and can be viewed at

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873