Sustainable development provides a forum for sometimes complementary, but often conflicting, factors to be raised and the best solution found. As new challenges present themselves, they need to fit into our decision-making processes. This paper examines role of presumptions and duties in what it refers to as ‘sustainable development equations’. More specifically, it asks whether the regulatory regime for managing change in listed buildings is promoting and delivering the sustainable management of listed buildings. It does so by examining how the various legal and policy presumptions and duties set out above are used and prioritized by the courts, by Historic Environment Scotland (‘HES’) and local authorities in specific policy on managing change in listed buildings particularly in relation to micro-renewables projects and then in practice by local authorities in listed building consent decisions relating to solar panels. The paper concludes presumptions and duties are useful tools for ensuring certain factors and challenges are brought into sustainable development equations and given the appropriate status. However, in the context of listed buildings, the current balance is not capable of delivering or encouraging their sustainable management. Presumptions and duties are most useful when expressly part of particular regulatory regimes and where the policy that supports these sustainable development equations is sufficiently detailed to provide both regulators and the regulated with reassurance and certainty.
- Listed buildings
- Presumption in favour of preservation
- Sustainable development
- Climate change
- Sustainable development equations