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Consultation on Listed Buildings Consent

26 June 2009

Culture Minister Michael Russell today (Thursday, 25 June 2009) launched a consultation looking at devolving greater responsibility for listed building consent to local authorities.

It follows a successful pilot scheme where Perth and Kinross, Glasgow City and City of Edinburgh councils were able to issue listed building consent for B-listed buildings without the need to notify Historic Scotland.

Michael Russell, Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution, said: “As part of the process of modernising and streamlining listed building consent we have looked at how to avoid duplication between councils and Historic Scotland and speed up the planning process.

“Buildings are listed for good reason; they can show us how our communities were shaped and hold special places in people’s memories and experience. Planning authorities are well aware of this and I am confident that many have the skills required to look after these buildings and, as a result, we can make the system more efficient.

“This will allow Historic Scotland to devote more time to providing strategic advice to Councils and owners in planning developments, resolving any issues before an application is made and making it more likely that the application will be handled quickly as a result.

During the three-month pilot 39 per cent of cases were determined within eight weeks, compared to 13.5 per cent in the equivalent period the previous year.  The pilot covered certain works to B-listed buildings.

John Swinney, Finance Secretary, said: “This consultation is the latest in a series of steps we are taking to simplify Scotland’s planning system. This involves partnership work with local government and agencies including Historic Scotland, looking at issues around listed building consent.

“Our aim is to make planning more effective and efficient, ultimately providing applicants and the development industry with greater certainty and speed of decision making.”

The consultation outlines the findings of the pilot study and can be found on the Historic Scotland website at and will close on 25 September.

If the duty to notify Historic Scotland of certain consent application is removed planning authorities wanting to participate would sign a Joint Working Agreement with Historic Scotland outlining the range of application that could be determined without the need for referral.

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

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873