The Director of Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) offers his reflections on the ‘Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland’ government programme, highlighting areas of interest for the heritage sector.
The low carbon economy does provide leverage for greater investment in the historic built environment
BEFS Director Euan Leitch writes:
Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland: The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2020-2021 was published on Tuesday. It covers the next seven months to March 2021. Neither heritage nor the historic environment are referred to directly within the programme but there are areas of direct and indirect interest.
Large sums of money are associated with low carbon recovery and active travel but these were already set out in the 20-21 Budget. Much focus remains on fuel poverty and retrofit, with one mention of repair and maintenance in relation to town centres. The low carbon economy does provide leverage for greater investment in the historic built environment and will hopefully be more fully addressed in the imminent Infrastructure Investment Plan, Review of the Town Centre Action Plan, and the update of the Climate Change Plan.
While it may be disappointing not to see the historic environment specifically referenced it is noteworthy that the overriding themes of inclusion, low carbon and localism are consistent with the findings of the recent meetings of the COVID Historic Environment Resilience Forum. The Scottish Government is further looking at the importance of regional networks, which also chimes with our ‘call for ideas’.
The following items are of direct interest:
- Addressing Scotland’s colonial and slavery history
Partnering with Museums Galleries Scotland, in collaboration with race equality and museums sector stakeholders, we will sponsor an independent expert group to make recommendations on how Scotland’s existing and future museum collections we can better recognise and represent a more accurate portrayal of Scotland’s colonial and slavery history and what further steps should be taken to ensure people in Scotland are aware of the role Scotland played and how that manifests itself in our society today. This will include how to reflect, interpret and celebrate the wide?ranging and positive contributions that ethnic minority communities have made and continue to make to Scotland.
- The 20 minute neighbourhood
We will also establish a Place Based Investment Programme, linking and aligning all place?based funding initiatives to ensure we have a coherent approach to effectively progress our 20 minute neighbourhood ambitions. As part of this Programme, we will invest £275 million to support community?led regeneration and town?centre revitalisation, including the repurposing of buildings, maintenance and repairs, reallocating external space and community?led land acquisition. This will also support the ongoing work on Clyde Gateway.
- Community Development Trusts
As recommended by the Social Renewal Advisory Board, we will also look to strengthen our support for community anchor organisations – like housing associations and community development trusts – that provide essential services with communities. We will use our Empowering Communities Programme to build on the learning from the COVID?19 response, strengthen the community anchor model and support its wider take up