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Editor Mike Pitts
Campaigns and reports from the CBA
CBA at Stonehenge inquiry
The A303 public inquiry has ended. English Heritage supports the published scheme for a 2.1 km bored tunnel. The National Trust is seeking extensions to 2.9 km, saying it will use its reserve parliamentary powers to resist loss of inalienable land. ICOMOS UK, the Prehistoric Society, the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society and the Stonehenge Alliance (including Rescue) are all standing out for a long tunnelâ€”in the absence of anything better, a 4.5 km version on the line of the present A303. The CBA maintained that for all its merits relating to Stonehenge itself, the published scheme would have serious permanent detrimental effects on the World Heritage Site that have not been fully assessed and reported to decision-makers.
In line with the timetable envisaged in the management plan for the World Heritage Site the CBA has suggested that progress should be made to close the A344 immediately next to Stonehenge (with some other consequential improvements to other road junctions), but the dualling of the A303 should not proceed until some key alternatives that have never been developed are properlyâ€”and urgentlyâ€”looked at. These include off-line routes for a shorter â€˜long tunnelâ€™ (such as that put to the 1995 planning conference) or for a surface route outside the WHS which was dismissed as a concept in 1992, with no further official effort to develop a properly optimised route.
The closing statements of the CBA and other key contributors to the inquiry can be found on the CBA website at www.britarch.ac.uk/stonehenge.
The CBA will be taking part in a DfES sponsored review of the teaching of history in 14-19 education.
This will form part of the process of introducing a new diploma structure to replace current GCSEs and AS/A levels. The new diplomas will not be introduced overnight, and the CBA has been heavily involved in the creation of a new history GCSE to be piloted in 2005-07 which will involve, among other topics, the teaching of Medieval history and heritage management. The use of archaeological evidence will be an important part of the specification.
There is considerable change afoot in the UK planning system with the government committed to an ambitious reform agenda, including the planning & compulsory purchase bill that is going through its final stages in parliament. The CBA is monitoring potential changes closely, together with our partners in the Joint Committee of National Amenity Societies and the Historic Environment Forum.
There are already opportunities to link in with the developing e-planning agenda, and English Heritage has promised extra funding for the amenity societies. This will enable us to acquire computer hardware to access the electronic information and plans that will be available to download and print off, although there has been no mention of increased funding for the extra work that will be transferred to CBA staff to do this. Funds are also being made available for the societies to investigate opportunities for better joint management of casework information through an online computer system.
However, the CBA in particular makes considerable use of volunteers as historic building correspondents and agents to help inform our responses to planning applications by making best use of local knowledge. The involvement of these individuals and societies is particularly appropriate given the governmentâ€™s increasing emphasis on community participation in planning. However there are uncertainties as to how the volunteers are going to be affected by the move to e-planning, as in most cases they are unlikely to have the computer technology required.
This is one of the key issues that the CBA wishes to see explored further, but we are well placed to provide government with an informed view of the impact of their proposals on our work.
CBA trustee elections
The Council for British Archaeology is managed by a board of 15 trustees who meet at least six times a year. Five of the existing trustees are due to retire (or stand for re-election) by rotation at the annual general meeting on 10 October. The CBA is therefore looking for persons to stand for election as trustees (to serve initial terms of three years) who have appropriate archaeological and/or business knowledge and skills. For further information please contact the company secretary at the CBA,
The National Museums & Galleries of Wales, in collaboration with the CBA, is hosting a conference on treasure and portable antiquities on 18-19 June, to coincide with the exhibition Buried Treasure: Finding our Past at Cardiff. This is an opportunity to reflect on the impact of recent changes in the law relating to portable antiquities and the introduction of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in England and Wales. Details from
Creative archive project
The CBA has been invited by the BBC to help it select items from the BBC archive that can be released as part of its Creative Archive Project. This is being piloted from September and archaeology material will be released early in 2005. The aim is to make broadcast material available on the internet for download and use for non-commercial purposes such as education. Anyone with ideas on what they would like to see released should contact Don Henson at the CBA.
CBA web:Jan/Feb 2005