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Minister announces new approach to Scotland's heritage protection

5 December 2008

Scottish Ministers are to consult on a draft Bill to amend existing heritage legislation next year, Culture Minister Linda Fabiani has announced.

Linda Fabiani MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture, said: “Scotland has a rich heritage that plays a central role in the country’s identity, education and tourism. At the same time the country needs sustainable development and economic growth.

“It’s the government’s priority that the bill achieves the correct balance - without complication or delays to the planning system - and further demonstrates our commitment to protecting Scotland’s heritage

“We believe in a lighter-touch approach and by introducing the bill will make the existing heritage protection system more effective and efficient. Combined with the improvements we have already made to the system, including removing duplication, devolving responsibility, developing capacity and understanding within a clear, concise policy framework, the Bill will align the management of the historic environment with the country’s need for sustainable economic growth, while meeting our international commitments.”

Historic Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, will consult on a draft Bill in 2009. The Agency will be looking to involve the public, heritage bodies, charities, local authorities, businesses and individuals in discussions about the proposed changes.

Currently, Scotland has two main pieces of legislation to protect and manage the historic environment: the 1979 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act identifies nationally important ‘scheduled monuments' - archaeological sites and ruined buildings; carved stones and ancient settlements ¬- where the aim is to maintain them as far as possible in the state that we have inherited them. The 1997 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act identifies buildings of ‘special architectural or historic interest’, where the main aim is to keep buildings in active appropriate use.

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

  • The confirmation follows the Minister’s announcement in December 2007 of the Scottish Government’s intentions in response to the report by the Historic Environment Advisory Council (HEACS) on the need for a review of heritage legislation

For further information

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