About Us

19 December 2023

Our Annual Report 2022-23 is published

As Scotland’s lead body for the historic environment, the report outlines HES’s commitments across a number of key agendas

As Scotland’s lead body for the historic environment, the report outlines HES’s commitments across a number of key agendas, including green recovery, tourism, outreach and learning, the circular economy, its role as a statutory consultee in the planning process and wider contribution to Scotland.

Key statistics include:

  • Welcomed 3.3 million visitors to staffed sites
  • 184,000 Historic Scotland members
  • Invested £12.5 million through grants programme
  • Dealt with 96% of regulatory activities within stated timescales
  • Continued to reduce carbon emissions, emitting 20% less carbon than 2019-20
  • Generated £640 million for the Scottish economy from heritage tourism
  • Digitised and made available more than 132,000 images and files

During this period, the organisation has also launched new grant schemes to provide increased access to funding, as well as new partnerships. As part of supporting the contribution of the wider historic environment, grants schemes run by HES have helped to continue to fund the regeneration of local communities and to encourage repair and reuse in their local environment. For every £1 invested in 2022-23, projects funded by HES attracted a further £2.59 in additional investment.

HES is also continuing to invest in net-zero technologies and emission-reducing measures, including the planning of a unique facility to house the substantial HES archive. Archive House, which is expected to be in use from 2026, is the first public building to be designed under the NZPBS (Net Zero Public Building Standard), which considers not only the carbon emissions while in use, but also the emissions associated with the building materials and maintenance.

HES's commercial income, which was greatly reduced during COVID, continued to experience further recovery, and helped to provide a wider contribution to Scotland’s economy in a sector worth over £640 million per annum to Scotland’s economy. HES is also on track with the rest of its scheduled high level masonry inspections, which is looking at the impact of climate change on sites at a high level, in combination with other factors. Re-openings and increased access took place following inspections, with over 88% of the estate accessible over the 2023 summer months.

The financial year, 2022-23 also saw the publication of the organisation’s new corporate plan, building on the parameters set out in HES’s first corporate plan, ‘Heritage for All’. Alongside the corporate plan, HES has published a number of other core corporate commitments, including the HES Responsible Tourism Framework, its five-year research strategy (2023-28) and its Green Recovery Statement for the Historic Environment.

View the report

Dr Hugh Hall, Chair of the Board at HES, said:

"I am proud to reflect on the challenges and opportunities HES has faced over this year and all the ways the organisation has risen to the occasion. Throughout the year we have been clear-sighted in our goals and we have been resilient in our response and contribution to key agendas.

It is heartening to see the organisation, and the sector at large, continue to recover from the legacies of the COVID pandemic, and I am optimistic that the coming year will see opportunities for sustained growth for us and the communities we work with.

"We continue to be an innovative organisation, with our people delivering first-class work and finding new solutions for connecting people with heritage. By staying focused on our goals and outcomes we have continued to build resilience and creative capacity which we will develop further in 2024."

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