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Guidance for owners & occupiers

Inspector with owner of monument
Owners, occupiers and managers are key to ensuring the survival of scheduled monuments and your help in protecting these remains will make a valuable contribution to Scotland’s future.

Ignorance is the greatest threat to our archaeological heritage.  Sites are damaged or neglected because people do not know they are there, how important they are or what actions may cause damage.

It is therefore particularly important to ensure that everyone working on your land (including contractors, who will be less aware of local features) knows of the presence, extent on the ground and value of scheduled monuments. If you permit work that damages a scheduled monument, then you may be liable.

Caring for scheduled monuments

Many scheduled monuments are stable and require little attention, but some will benefit from simple changes in landuse that will ensure no inadvertent damage. Others will benefit from more proactive management that will sometimes require access to specialist conservation skills.

Our Field Officers visit scheduled sites and their owners periodically. They check the condition of the site, offer advice on monument management and ensure that everyone with a current interest in the site knows about its protection.

If there are particular problems, or the Field Officer cannot answer detailed questions, they can arrange for a Heritage Management Officer for the area to visit.  Owners and occupiers can contact Heritage Management staff for advice at any time.

Carrying out work

You are likely to need scheduled monument consent if you are trying to protect or repair the monument. It is easy to damage a monument by well-intentioned but ill-informed action. See Works on Scheduled Monuments for further details, including how to apply for consent.

Further guidance

Our publications provide guidance in a number of areas, from the impact of scheduling and your rights and responsibilities, to how to seek advice and financial assistance.

Our Managing Scotland’s Archaeological Heritage booklet [pdf, 1.6mb] gives easy-to-follow guidance and advice on how best to manage and look after archaeological sites and monuments. The booklet is aimed at any owners, occupiers or community groups who would like to help look after archaeological sites and ancient monuments in their area, whether scheduled or not.

Managing Scheduled Monuments via the Scottish Rural Development Programme

Over 80% are located on agricultural land and are affected by land management practices. There is no specific funding for management works on scheduled monuments via the Scottish Rural Development Programme’s Agri-Environment-Climate.  

However, a number of management options and capital items have the potential to offer dual benefits to both the environment and the long term management of scheduled monuments. Where proposed works meet environmental criteria, but also include a scheduled monument for which the works will be beneficial, additional points may be gained in recognition of the multiple benefits offered. A public access option is also available to enable existing paths to scheduled monuments to be upgraded, and new paths to be created.

For further details see the SRDP guidance note.

Contact us

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