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Use of Enforcement Powers

Archaeological excavations being carried out to assess the damage caused by the unauthorised erection of polytunnels across a scheduled souterrain.
Historic Scotland is committed to the proportionate use of enforcement powers.  We will seek to resolve issues speedily, openly, informally and amicably before resorting to the use of enforcement powers .

In most cases, working with stakeholders and raising their awareness of the requirements of the Act will achieve the desired outcomes of improved compliance.  

Breaches of the Act may arise for a variety of reasons and the type and severity of offence will vary considerably. Historic Scotland’s response will take into account why the breach has arisen, for example due to negligence or a deliberate act.  Criminal prosecution will be reserved for the most serious, persistent or deliberate cases.

Historic Scotland will be open, helpful, proportionate and consistent in its approach to enforcement action, and will ensure that individuals:

  • receive clear explanations of what they need to do to comply and by when;
  • where appropriate, have opportunities to resolve differences before enforcement action is taken, unless immediate action is needed; and
  • receive an explanation of their statutory rights of appeal, if any.
  • In applying this policy, Historic Scotland will follow the principles set out below:
  • all enforcement action undertaken by Historic Scotland will be fair and reasonable. Enforcement action will be recorded by Historic Scotland and placed on our on-line enforcement register. Certain information may also be made available under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002;
  • all enforcement action will be recorded in writing and put on a working file. Records of meetings will be kept and actions and timescales will be recorded;
  • action will be swift once the full facts are known. There will be no unnecessary delay.

Where appropriate, Historic Scotland will liaise with other Agencies to ensure compliance (e.g. Police, Local Authorities or other Government Bodies).

Related Links

Historic Environment Amendment Act 2011
Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979

Contact us

Heritage Management Directorate
Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 8716