Archives and Research

Reports on the Inventory of Historic Battlefields

Cover page of our response, blue background with some text

The reports on this page concern work we began in 2021, to review the designation and management of historic battlefields in the planning system.

Scotland’s historic battles are an important part of our identity and culture, remembered through memorials, music, poetry and literature.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is the lead public body for Scotland’s historic environment. Part or our role is to compile and maintain an inventory of historic battlefields in Scotland. 

Since its introduction in 2011, the inventory has identified 40 sites where a nationally important battle took place and provided information about them to inform their management through the planning system.   

When a battlefield is included on the inventory it becomes a material consideration in the planning process. This means that it has to be taken into account when deciding planning applications.  

Historic Environment Scotland advises planning authorities and other relevant public bodies to ensure that they take inventory sites into account in their plans, policies and decision-making processes.

Following two petitions in the Scottish Parliament calling for stronger protection for Scotland’s battlefields, we commissioned Lichfields UK to investigate current practice in the designation and management of Inventory battlefields in the planning system.

After receiving the Lichfields report, we opened a consultation, to invite feedback on the report and its recommendations from battlefield stakeholders.

We do not think that major changes are required to how battlefields are protected in the planning system. However, the report and the feedback we received have helped to identify a series of actions for HES and some onward recommendations to take forward with the sector.