About Us

16 April 2024

Historic Environment Scotland publish Annual Operating Plan for 2024-25

Net zero, growing a sustainable economy and providing further opportunities for participation in the historic environment at the heart of the organisation’s roadmap for the next 12 months

view of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has published its Annual Operating Plan for 2024-25.

The plan sets out the organisation’s roadmap for the next twelve months, with key priority areas including progressing towards net zero, growing a sustainable economy, helping to build resilience within the sector, and continuing to provide further opportunities for wider participation in the historic environment.

The plan also sets out key deliverables related to HES’ statutory functions and organisation-wide priorities for the coming year to deliver real public benefit, in a sector which generated an estimated £5 billion for the Scottish economy in 2022.

The historic environment sector will play a critical role in Scotland’s push to net zero, including the retrofit of historic buildings, which make up 20 per cent of Scotland’s total buildings stock. Meanwhile, those who engage more broadly with the historic environment, self-reported improved levels of wellbeing.

Craig Mearns, Interim Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland said;

“The historic environment is hugely significant to our past, present and future. Today’s challenges, such as economic uncertainty, the geopolitical situation and the climate emergency, impact across the board but against this backdrop, we are making strong inroads across a number of key areas. Visitor numbers are recovering to pre Covid 19 levels, access to our sites has improved significantly and we continue to help communities unlock the potential of the heritage on their doorsteps.

“However given the evolving landscape that we and many others are operating in, we must continue to prioritise activity and resources in key areas, whilst also ensuring we are agile to respond to the challenges and opportunities facing not just HES, but the country as a whole”

The publication of the Annual Operating Plan follows the launch of ‘Our Past Our Future’, Scotland’s strategy for the historic environment. The strategy, led by HES and developed in collaboration with the sector, provides a framework to encourage and support the wider contribution the historic environment makes to people and communities now and into the future. Delivery of the strategy is very much a collective effort and to that end, its mission and outcomes are woven through the fabric of the Annual Operating Plan.

Craig continued;

The heritage sector is made up of a diverse range of organisations and individuals and it is important that this is also reflected in our operating plan.

“We want to involve the entirety of the sector in what we do as we all have a role to play in championing and sustaining Scotland’s rich historic environment.

“Ultimately, we want the historic environment to make a real difference to people’s lives and continue to play a key role in building a brighter and more sustainable future.”

Annual Operating Plan 2024-25

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead body for Scotland’s historic environment, a charity dedicated to the advancement of heritage, culture, education and environmental protection. It is at the forefront of researching and understanding the historic environment and addressing the impacts of climate change on its future, investigating and recording architectural and archaeological sites and landscapes across Scotland and caring for more than 300 properties of national importance. We are also the lead on delivering Scotland's strategy for the historic environment, Our Past, Our Future.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle, and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering to receive our media releases. Already registered? You can unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link, included in every email.

Follow HES

X: @HistEnvScot | @welovehistory
Facebook: @HistoricEnvScotland | @VisitHistoricScotland
Instagram: @HistEnvScot | @historicscotland

For further information, please contact:

Iona Matheson 
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962