Heritage Protection Reform
Getting to grips with PPS5
Details of up-and-coming events to introduce the use of PPS5 will be posted here as details become available. English Heritage is planning a series of workshops, available here. The CBA is organising workshops for its volunteers and agents to take place during the year. The presentations from the CBA Agents’ workshop on PPS 5 in June are available here, with presentations from English Heritage and the CBA.
The Government’s Statement on the Historic Environment for England 2010 was published on 23 March alongside CLG’s new Planning Policy Statement for the Historic Environment (PPS5) and the accompanying Planning Practice Guide prepared by English Heritage.
The Government Statement presents a vision for realising the potential of the historic environment and recognising the contribution that it makes to our collective aims. Its vision is “that the value of the historic environment is recognised by all who have the power to shape it; that Government gives it proper recognition and that it is managed intelligently and in a way that fully realises its contribution to the economic, social and cultural life of the nation”. The Statement sets out the value of heritage for all of these aspects and the role of Government and of its partners in recognising this. It presents six broad strategic aims for the future: strategic leadership, a protective framework, local capacity, public involvement, direct ownership and a sustainable future.
Together with PPS5 and the Practice Guide, this suite of documents will form the framework for protection and conservation of the heritage for the medium term. The Government Statement confirms its aim to progress with modernisation of heritage protection and its commitment in principle to implementing the necessary primary legislation, as prepared for the draft Heritage Protection Bill. No timescale is set for this.
In the meantime the principles set out in PPS5 now provide the core national policies for conservation of the historic environment through the planning system. The detailed guidance in the Practice Guide is provided to assist local authorities, owners, applicants and other interested parties in implementing the new policies and to help in their interpretation.
The consultation on the draft PPS: Planning for the Historic Environment, produced by CLG, DCMS and English Heritage, was published on 24 July 2009. An accompanying ‘living draft’ Practice Guide, produced by English Heritage, was also published on 24 July. Written responses to both documents should be submitted by 30 October 2009. The CBA’s initial response is available here.
The Heritage Protection Bill for England failed to be included in the Government’s Draft Legislative Programme for 2009/10 announced in June 2009. This indicates that it is very unlikely to be included in the legislative business of the next Parliamentary session.
At the HEACS conference in Edinburgh in May 2009, Scottish Minister Michael Russell announced the public consultation on a new Bill to amend provisions for protecting archaeological sites and aims to enhance and improve the existing legislation for the historic environment. The consultation runs until 14 August 2009.
It is understood that for England the new draft Planning Policy Statement and Guidance for the historic environment will appear together in the early summer. For Wales, a new circular on planning and the historic environment is expected next year.
The Heritage Protection Bill was not included in the Queen’s Speech on 3 December 2008 due to the proposal of new legislation relating to the current financial situation. DCMS has issued a statement which confirms the Government’s commitment to the legislation and to producing a draft Planning Policy Statement for the historic environment before Easter 2009 (DCMS updated webpage). CADW has also confirmed its commitment to the Heritage Protection Bill and to commence work in Autumn 2009 on updating planning guidance for the historic environment in Wales.
Heritage Link has expressed severe disappointment that the Heritage Protection Bill was not included in the Queen’s Speech but ‘will press through all available means for the Heritage Protection Bill to be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows’. The Archaeology Forum also expressed disappointment, but welcomed the news of draft Planning Policy Statements for England and Wales in 2009. English Heritage has advised that despite the news, ‘more than two-thirds of the changes set out in the Heritage White Paper can go ahead’ and has listed potential achievements without the Bill.
The Draft Heritage Protection Bill for England and Wales was published by the Department for Culture Media and Sport on 3 April 2008, together with an Impact Assessment setting out the estimated costs of implementing proposals. The Bill proposes the following changes in the heritage protection system:
- Creating a single list of designated sites
- Making available details of all designated sites online
- Introducing a clear separation of roles between English Heritage and government. Instead of the current duplication of work English Heritage will be given the responsibility for identification and designation.
- Requiring English Heritage to consult owners when a site is being considered for designation and creating a new right of appeal to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport against decisions.
- Introducing interim legal protection for historic places being considered for designation to prevent demolition or damage.
- Giving local authorities powers to grant all new Historic Asset Consents, abolishing the role of central government in granting Scheduled Monument Consent.
- Giving powers for the creation of Heritage Partnership Agreements between owners, councils and English Heritage for large or complex sites. This will cut the need for time consuming, repetitive consent applications.
- Creating a single Historic Asset Consent to replace existing separate forms of consent. Conservation Area Consent will be merged with planning permission.
The Bill was included in the Government’s Draft Legislative Programme for 2008/9 published in May 2008, but due to new legislation relating to the financial situation the Bill was not included in the Queen’s Speech on 3 December 2008.
A new draft Planning Policy Statement for the historic environment in England is expected to be available for consultation early in 2009, whilst work will start in Wales later in the year.
English Heritage’s newsletter introducing the Draft Bill, Heritage Protection Reform: a new system for the 21st century (PDF c110KB).
CBA submitted a memorandum of evidence to the Culture Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the Draft Bill. The full report of the CMS Committee’s inquiry includes the oral evidence given by CBA’s Head of Conservation on behalf of The Archaeology Forum. There is a Government response to the reports of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee into the draft Heritage Protection Bill and draft Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill.
CBA also made further comments in its response to the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s consultation on the Draft Bill.
The Archaeology Forum issued a statement on 3 December 2008.
Useful background information
The Historic Environment: A Force for Our Future (2001) The Government made a commitment to review heritage protection legislation in A Force for our Future, a joint policy framework for the future of the historic environment.
Power of Place: The future of the historic environment (2000) The report of a wide-ranging review of policies relating to the historic environment, chaired by English Heritage.
For reference, you can also visit these pages on the old CBA website:
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