Conservation & Adaptation: Analysis of Responses to the City of Edinburgh Council Public Consultation: Report prepared for the Short-Term Working Group

W. Victoria Lee

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract / Description of output

The City of Edinburgh Council’s Conservation & Adaptation public consultation set out to understand the current challenges owners of historic properties face in maintaining and adapting their properties amid the climate emergency and cost-of-living crisis. The consultation was conducted as an online questionnaire survey and was open to responses from 31 March to 11 June 2023. This report has detailed the analysis of the responses, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The key findings are as followed:
>The distribution of property issues experienced and barriers faced by owners are not equal between flat properties and house-type properties (detached/semi-detached/terraced homes). On average, flat owners have more types of issues in their properties, and face more types of barriers than house owners when maintaining and adapting their properties.
>Cold/draughts is the issue most experienced by all owners of all property types; followed by roof repairs. However, a significantly higher proportion of flats have condensation issues and failed gutters and downpipes.
>Financial cost is the barrier most experienced by owners of all property types; even for those who reported no change or better in their financial situation in the past year. The second most experienced barrier by all is the process of applying for permissions, which affected a significantly higher proportion of flat owners. A higher proportion of flat owners also experienced barrier in seeking agreement with neighbours.
>Free-text comments from respondents provided insights into the financial barrier, specifically on the high cost of period-appropriate materials stipulated by the current listed building/conservation areas guidance. Additional barriers include the lack of skilled and trustworthy tradespeople, as well as clear, centralised, and neutral advice on selecting and proceeding with the most cost-effective works.
>The respondents overwhelmingly (88%) view climate change as ‘an immediate and urgent problem’. This sentiment, however, is not at odds with the desire for heritage conservation: the majority of respondents also see preserving the architecture character and historical interest of properties and conservation areas to be ‘very or extremely important’. Comments from the respondents overwhelmingly reflected that it is possible to strike a balance between adapting to climate change and conserving historic properties if only some rules can be relaxed to lower the cost barrier and to allow alternative energy sources or heating systems to be installed.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyThe City of Edinburgh Council
Number of pages41
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Aug 2023
EventConservation & Adaptation Public Consultation Short Term Working Group Meeting 1 - Business Centre, City Chambers, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Aug 202315 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • conservation
  • heritage
  • adaptation
  • climate emergency
  • climate change
  • retrofit
  • energy efficiency
  • windows
  • public consultation
  • The City of Edinburgh Council
  • owner-occupier
  • historic building
  • listed building
  • conservation area
  • cost-of-living crisis
  • building maintenance


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