Archaeology Services Still at Risk
Here are seven steps local groups can take to do something about it.
The latest issue of British Archaeology and the CBA Members’ Newsletter highlight the importance of keeping up the pressure to defend local authority archaeology services that are still at risk. The CBA has put together some advice for local groups who want to take action to defend them, see ‘What to do about cuts’ (PDF 60KB).
On Merseyside, where the five planning authorities ceased to fund the service in April, local archaeological groups met last week to agree on how to take action. CBA North West is coordinating responses to the District Planning Officers’ Group.
Tees Archaeology is also under threat, with Middlesborough and Redcar & Cleveland still withholding their support for its future. The CBA’s Director, Mike Heyworth, was interviewed for Radio Tees on Friday’s breakfast show and said that allowing development to go ahead unchecked for archaeological implications potentially risked the loss of fantastic archaeological sites.
In the West Midlands, two other unitary authorities have cut their services, and a number are under review in other parts of the country. In some cases, the authorities are actively looking to find more efficient ways to procure services, by out-sourcing for example, and do not envisage cutting their budgets for archaeology altogether. However, given that some services are already pared down to the absolute minimum (like Tees Archaeology which has sustained nearly 50% cuts over recent years or Merseyside which had only one archaeological officer to provide planning and HER services), it is hard to see how an adequate level of service can be provided through outsourcing to a commercial consultancy.
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