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Historic environment is a key contributor to Scotland’s economy and identity

20 December 2012

Scotland’s historic environment makes a significant contribution of the country’s economic output, cultural identity as well as driving the international reputation in tourism according to the 2012 Scottish Historic Environment Audit published today.

The SHEA report, compiled by Historic Scotland, gives a broad ranging picture and detailed insight into the current condition of the historic environment as well as outlining the direct and indirect economic benefits, investment levels and details the current condition of the country’s monuments and listed buildings.

The audit is an ongoing project which draws on all current data and research to provide facts and figures that are of use to those managing the sector. The information will also be of considerable use to Historic Scotland as it currently undertakes a broad ranging policy review of the country’s historic environment.

This audit builds on the information provided in previous SHEAs compiled in 2007 and 2010. The full report and a summary can be found at:

Full report - www.heritageaudit.org.uk/sheareport2012.pdf  .
Summary - www.heritageaudit.org.uk/sheasummaryreport2012.pdf  

Some of the SHEA’s key findings are:

  • The historic environment directly supports 41,000  FTE jobs, representing 2.5% of all employment
  • More than £2.3billion is generated annually in the economy from the sector which is 2.6% of Scotland’s Gross Value Added
  • The condition of the country’s A-listed buildings has improved with 8.2% at risk in 2011 compared to 8.7% in 2009
  • There has been a 5% improvement to 87% in the number of scheduled monuments in a satisfactory condition
  • More that 16million tourists visited historic attractions in 2011, which is just over a third of all visits to all Scottish attractions
  • Scotland’s international reputation for tourism and heritage is very strong according to the Nations Brand Index 2012, sitting 13th out of 50 countries for tourism and 12th for historic buildings and attractions
  • Historic Scotland invested £123million in the historic environment between 2002 and 2012 which assisted repairs worth a total of £563million – benefiting communities across Scotland
  • Investment from other bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust for Scotland, local authorities and the third sector continues to be considerable. However, private investment is the largest source of funding
  • Educational interest in our heritage and historic environment is also strong with 20% of all school trips in 2011 involving a visit to a historic site. This represents 129,587 pupils being exposed to direct involvement with the sector
  • The historic environment is playing its part in a meeting the country’s climate change targets by using sensitive methods to achieve a low carbon economy

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said: “The significant impact and contribution of the historic environment sector to Scotland’s economy, society, education and cultural identity is confirmed and outlined within this updated audit.

“We have clear evidence that our historic environment is a major contributor not only to almost every community in the country, but has a major bearing on how we are regarded internationally. With the wealth of history and heritage we have in Scotland, we are well placed to capitalise on the growing interest for this sector

“This audit is a valuable piece of information for anyone working in or interested in the country’s historic environment and serves to inform and guide individuals and organisations as to the part this sector plays in the wider Scottish economy and how it has helped to shape us as a nation.”

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.


  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at: www.visitscotland.com/creative

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at  www.visitscotland.org/yearofcreativescotland-toolkit

                                                       Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information


John MacNeil
Media Relations Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8714 or 07854 366 827
john.macneil@scotland.gsi.gov.uk