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Minister reveals policy paper and new joint working agreement consultation for Historic Scotland

28 October 2008

Scottish Ministers today (Tuesday, 28 October) launched their policy on Listing and Listed Building Consent (LBC) for the country’s 47,000 listed buildings, and launched a consultation with local authorities on a new joint working agreement.  

Speaking about the policy paper, Culture Minister Linda Fabiani MSP said: “The SHEP is important for the successful management of the country’s heritage. Listing is about identifying and celebrating Scotland’s built heritage and is also a mechanism for its protection.”

The SHEP now includes policies on Listing, the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest; and Listed Building Consent which deals with applications to alter or demolish listed buildings.

The minister went on to stress the link between listed building consent and the planning process. She added: “It allows consideration of the merits of a listing as part of planning proposals and is central to the sustainable management of the historic environment, in supporting economic regeneration and growth for Scotland.”

The policy papers - to appear online only – will be consolidated with previous SHEPs into a single document which meets Ministers target to minimize the number of separate Government documents, and reduce duplication in outline text.

On the consultation between Historic Scotland and COSLA, a three month process, Ms Fabiani said: “The Joint Working Agreement is yet another positive, forward-thinking approach by Historic Scotland to streamline functions and responsibility. The aim is to improve communication between the Agency and local authorities to ensure improved partnership working. It will also deliver a system which effectively manages the historic environment – both locally and nationally -  with greater precision and efficiency.

“I look forward to seeing how the joint working agreement progresses in the near future.”

Listed buildings are legally protected under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 with three categories, A, B, and C(s). Scotland’s listed buildings include the Forth Rail Bridge, Edinburgh Castle and Kelvingrove Museum.  

Local authorities deal with Listed Building Consent applications unless they are the owner or applicant at which stage Historic Scotland becomes the planning authority. Applications for listed building consent to alter Category A or B buildings are considered by Historic Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Historic Scotland is also consulted on any proposal for the partial or complete demolition of a listed building, regardless of category.

The Agency currently handles 97% of all listed building consent applications within 28 days, and has been set new targets to deal with 70% of planning applications within 14 days in 2008, rising to 90% in 2009/10.

Malcolm Cooper, Chief Inspector of Historic Scotland who overseas the Agency’s management of both Listing and Listed Building Consent, said: “Both documents focus on the policy structure which Scottish Ministers have in place to manage both processes. Listing and LBC are extremely topical issues across Scotland as they are relevant to so much of the population and businesses. The aim of the SHEP is to make Ministers’ policy available, transparent, and understandable to all.”

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 more information visit

  • Listing and Listed Building Consent policy underwent a 12-week consultation period in 2007. The views, from the public and various stakeholders, on Scottish Ministers’ policies for both processes helped form the basis of the final policy paper. The condensed SHEP includes the policies for Scheduling, Scheduled Monument Consent, Listing, Listed Buildings Consent, Gardens & Designed Landscapes and Properties in the Care of Scottish Ministers. To view the SHEP visit

  • Once completed, Policy papers on the Marine Historic Environment and Historic Battlefields will be included in the SHEP

Listing categories
  • Category A -  Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).
  • Category B - Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).
  • Category C(S) - Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total)

For further information

Lisa Nicholson
Communications and Media Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8852 or 07500 065 438