Our Past, Our Future: The Strategy for Scotland's Historic Environment

Our mission is to sustain and enhance the benefits of Scotland's historic environment, for people and communities now and into the future

An aerial view of a light stone tenements buildings in Kelvingrove, Glasgow


Our Past, Our Future is Scotland's national strategy for the historic environment for the period 2023-2028.

Our historic environment is a national asset: it creates jobs, enriches our communities, and helps to tell Scotland’s story to the world. It’s a vital part of our transition to net zero and our mission to help local places to thrive. We want to sustain and enhance the benefits that our nation’s heritage creates, and ensure the historic environment is at the centre of national life.


This strategy adopts a mission-oriented approach. Solving the challenges and making the most of the opportunities facing Scotland requires multiple strands of activity across multiple partners and multiple sectors. The mission sets a direction of travel and helps to identify the actions needed to make effective progress on that journey.

Find out more about the strategy by following the links on this page. Information will be added to these pages as the strategy evolves, so please keep checking back.

Discover how we'll deliver the strategy

Our Past, Our Future is a strategy for everyone and will be delivered collaboratively and collectively. We need action across Scotland, from a range of different organisations, individuals, and stakeholders. Find out more about the strategy will be delivered.

Man in jeans and a jumper works in woolen mill. Tools hang from the walls in the background.
The historic environment is the physical evidence for past human activity. It connects people with place and with the traditions, stories, and memories associated with places and landscapes.

Read the strategy

Find out how we're using Scotland's historic environment to empower communities and organisations.

Download Our Past, Our Future
Two copies of the Our Place Our Future strategy, one open and one closed

Leugh an ro-innleachd slàn

Faigh a-mach mar a tha sinn a' cleachdadh àrainneachd eachdraidheil na h-Alba gus coimhearsnachdan is buidhnean a chumhachdachadh

Luchdaich a-nuas Ar n-Àm a dh'Fhalbh, Ar n-Àm ri Teachd


This strategy targets activity where the historic environment can deliver most benefit for the people of Scotland over the next five years. Through consultation and engagement, three priority areas for action have been identified, along with the outcomes we will work together to achieve. These are big, national-level challenge areas that require collective effort to deliver so we can realise our mission.


Our Past, Our Future has an overarching set of principles formed through engagement and public consultation. They are: 

  • We must put people at the heart of this strategy
  • We must face the climate and biodiversity crises
  • We must protect and promote our historic environment
  • We must work collaboratively across sectors
  • We must work together to make good decisions
  • We must nurture and grow an inclusive, diverse and skilled workforce 

Priority 1: Delivering the transition to net zero

Scotland will be net-zero emissions by 2045. Find out how the historic environment will contribute to these targets.

The difference we want to make

Outcome 1:

Reduce emissions from the historic environment

Outcome 2:

The historic environment is more climate resilient

Outcome 3:

Improve pathways for the historic environment skills

Read more about Priority 1
Sun rises over the city of Edinburgh and sunbeams spray across Edinburgh Castle from above, where an array of solar panels fill a flat section of the rooftop. Arthur's Seat appears in silhouette in the background with the city in between.

Priority 2: Empowering resilient and inclusive communities and places

Scotland’s historic environment brings colour and variety to our landscapes, inspires people and communities, and shapes the character and identity of our places.

The difference we want to make

Outcome 4:

Organisations that care for the historic environment have the right skills and are more resilient

Outcome 5:

Communities have more opportunities to participate in decision-making about the historic environment

Outcome 6:

The historic environment is more diverse and inclusive

Read more about Priority 2
An aerial photograph of a coastal beach view in Scotland

Priority 3: Building a wellbeing economy

Scotland’s historic environment can play a key role in building a wellbeing economy that operates within environmental limits and enables both current and future generations to live well.

The difference we want to make

Outcome 7:

The historic environment makes a responsible contribution to Scotland’s economy

Outcome 8:

The historic environment provides fair work

Outcome 9:

Increased engagement with the historic environment, with a focus on activities that enhance wellbeing

Read more about Priority 3
Two walkers approach standing stones along a well-trodden trail in a field. The stones stand approximately 10 foot high, twice the height of the walkers, and curve in the distance in a semi circle. The sky is blue with a smattering of clouds, in the background a large body of water water separates the field of stand stones from more land in the distance.