2014 was a busy year thus for Historic Scotland – an Agency within the Scottish Government which is responsible for the safeguarding the nation’s historic environment – and this has continued into 2015.
2014 saw the agency complete a nationwide review of canal buildings and begin the publication of a celebratory book about Scotland’s canal heritage, published in early 2015. Other milestones within Historic Scotland 2014 include a major project in partnership with the Scottish Court Service to review their courthouses across the country.
Buildings in the specific conservation areas of Ardersier, Highland and Pitfodels, Aberdeen have also been reviewed as part of the agency’s 2014 to do list. The agency is also continuing to review buildings which are both scheduled monuments and listed buildings. Some buildings have both designations and Historic Scotland aim to remove this confusing overlap through a three year programme.
Historic Scotland has had a number of different names and variety of functions over the years but became Historic Scotland in 1991. The group aim to deliver policy and advice on all aspects of the historic environment on behalf of Scottish Ministers. The agency also carry out statutory functions relating to two acts of Parliament – the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997. Both acts allow Historic Scotland to preserve the country’s historic environment by taking sites of national importance into state care as well as list structures for their architectural or historical significance.
Historic Scotland are keen to support the protection of the country’s historic landscape and so provide funding to many different bodies and individuals involved in the upkeep of the environment. The agency award Building Repair Grants, Grants for Places of Worship, Archaeology Grants and Ancient Monument Grants to bodies in the process of maintaining historic structures.
Historic Scotland also encourages the preservation of Scotland’s ancient buildings and monuments via training and maintenance schemes, which include the Thatched Houses Maintenance Scheme. Conservation Training Grants Scheme, Historic Environment Support Fund and Voluntary Sector Funding.
Decisions on grants are made through extensive public consultation process as well as being influenced by the extent to which projects deliver benefits for communities, promote quality, develop knowledge and skills and build capacity for local heritage management.