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Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014

Background: Status and functions of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS

4.Historic Scotland is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government. This means that it has no powers of its own, but operates using powers conferred on Scottish Ministers.

5.The main functions which Historic Scotland carries out are:

  • Caring for and presenting to visitors the Properties in Care;

  • Designating places to be protected, by scheduling of monuments of national importance, by listing buildings of architectural or historic interest, by adding to the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes and the Inventory of Historic Battlefields and by designating Historic Marine Protected Areas;

  • Providing specialist advice and expert knowledge to the Scottish Government’s Historic Environment Policy Unit to inform the development of Scottish Ministers’ policies as they relate to the historic environment and other matters;

  • Providing financial assistance towards the conservation and enhancement of the historic environment; and

  • Providing guidance on the management of the historic environment.

6.RCAHMS was established by Royal Warrant in 1908. It is treated for administrative purposes as a Non-Departmental Public Body. It has been a registered charity since 1992, when the Royal Warrant was last updated. Its purpose is to:

  • identify, survey and analyse the historic and built environment of Scotland;

  • preserve, care for and add to the information and items in its collections; and

  • promote understanding, education and enjoyment through interpretation of the information it collects and items it looks after.

7.Many of Historic Scotland’s functions are set out in statute, mainly in the Acts listed below. The Act amends the following Acts to ensure that Historic Environment Scotland can operate as intended:

  • the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 (“the 1953 Act”);

  • the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (“the 1979 Act”);

  • the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 (“the 1997 Act”); and

  • the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the 2010 Act”).

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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