Scotland’s Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop announced yesterday new legislation that will create an official registry of battlefields and assist in protecting the historic environment.
Debating the proposed Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Act, the Minister said it would capitalise on opportunities to use heritage for regeneration. Hyslop said, “This Bill will update the existing legislation and will introduce the opportunity for owners/ developers to request clarity on whether a building is likely to be listed before taking development proposals forward.
“At a time when regeneration and development are vital, this will clearly signal our willingness to streamline and simplify the process to ensure such proposals are not subject to unnecessary delays.
“Synchronising the current legislation is giving us the opportunity to capitalise on systems of protection that work very well, but streamline them and make them easier to understand and apply across the board.”
The battlefields inventory will include famous sites such as Bannockburn and Culloden. The Minister added, ”It is intrinsic to our strong sense of cultural identity and it provides the people of Scotland with a rich environment in which to live and work. The historic environment is both inspiring and has a significant role to play in developing a sustainable economic future for Scotland.”
In addition to the introduction of immunity from listing during a development, the proposed Bill will also:
- introduce statutory inventories for gardens and designed landscapes and for battlefields ensuring these nationally important sites are identified and recorded
- extend Scottish Ministers’ grant making powers to support a wider range of historic environment projects currently eligible
- introduce a series of enforcement provisions which that will harmonise aspects of historic environment legislation with the planning regime and enhance the ability of regulatory authorities to deal with urgent threats
Currently there are three Acts relating to the historic environment – the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953, the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the Town and Country Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas)(Scotland) Act 1997. The Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Act will update these to ensure that there is consistency in protecting monuments and buildings covered the different legislation.