It published its Green Recovery Statement for the historic environment this week during a visit by culture minister Neil Gray to a new energy efficiency course at the Engine Shed, Scotland’s national conservation centre.
HES said that the historic environment sector, and the traditional materials, construction methods and skills that go with it, provide over 5,000 years of accumulated knowledge and practice of how to live sustainably. The statement sets out how Scotland can use this past to support its future. It highlights key areas where the sector can make a vital contribution to sustainable economic recovery across policy agendas, including traditional skills and jobs, digital connectivity and responsible tourism.
HES said that, while sounding this call to action for the historic environment sector, it is emphasising that the potential of the historic and built environment must be fully realised in order to lower emissions and achieve net-zero targets. The organisation is calling for the maintenance and adaptation of the built environment to be prioritised to make best use of existing embodied carbon, and to minimise the environmental cost of new construction.
Alex Paterson, chief executive of HES, said: “Scotland faces a number of challenges on the road to sustainable economic recovery and net-zero, but we also have an opportunity to champion our historic environment and its potential to deliver solutions and provide a source of resilience for communities as we work together towards a green recovery.
“We want our Green Recovery Statement to be a tool for the sector to help articulate the ways in which the historic environment supports green principles and contributes to key policy agendas. We want to give the sector a collective voice to better inform policymaking and infrastructure investment decisions.
“Our new energy efficiency course is an excellent example of this vision in action, showing how we can collaborate to develop and deliver vital skills that will make a real difference to communities across Scotland.
"We look forward to building and strengthening partnerships, both within the historic environment sector and with wider Scottish society, as we work towards our vision of a sustainable Scotland with a flourishing historic environment at its centre.”
Culture minister Neil Gray said: “I welcome Historic Environment Scotland’s Green Recovery Statement which recognises the importance of maintaining our historic and built environment in a sustainable way to support our transition to net zero and a climate-resilient economy.”