Scotland has a rich and diverse history and we can see the evidence of this across the country from field patterns and standing stones to our streetscapes, offices, cultural venues and homes. Scotland's historic environment is part of our everyday lives. It gives us a sense of place, well-being and cultural identity. We value our historic environment in and of itself as well as for the many economic, social and environmental benefits it brings to the nation.
Our historic environment is a dynamic and precious resource cared for and celebrated by hundreds of thousands of people. A wide range of specialists work to protect and promote the historic environment across public, private and voluntary sector organisations and with thousands of individual owners. It is this partnership and collaborative working across the sector which helps realise the benefits of our historic environment for communities across Scotland and for visitors from further afield.
For the first time ever, Our Place In Time - The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland provides a framework within which all parts of the sector and beyond can work together towards a shared vision, delivering positive outcomes for the historic environment and for the people.
The Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 9 December 2014. The Act establishes Historic Environment Scotland (HES) as a new Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) which will take over the functions of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS. In addition to changes to legislation reflecting HES’ role and legal status, the Act changes processes for the designation of sites and buildings (by scheduling and listing) and for scheduled monuments, listed buildings and conservation areas consent. It also creates new rights of appeal against certain HES decisions.
Historic Environment Scotland has been established as the new body to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment. This will build on the strong and long-established performance of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).
On 27 January 2015, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs announced the first Chair and board members for Historic Environment Scotland (HES). Jane Ryder OBE has been appointed to Chair HES and is joined by nine board members. The appointment of the Board is a major milestone in the creation of the new public body to lead on delivery of Our Place in Time, Scotland's first Strategy for the historic environment. The Board is already engaged in preparatory work, prior to taking up its full powers on 1 October 2015.