You are currently browsing the daily archive for 30/11/2011.

Anyone that is minded to believe the government’s recent hurried soothing words about how “sustainable development” doesn’t mean relaxing heritage protection measures might care to look at this – a policy statement published today by The Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

It seems that the reform of the planning system will not merely enshrine  a presumption in favour of sustainable development – it will entail an all out promotion of it!

Look at these bits of the Action Plan :

H2 Ensure Natural England has a remit to promote sustainable development
H1 Ensure the Environment Agency has a remit to promote sustainable development
H3 Ensure English Heritage has a remit to promote sustainable development
H4 Ensure the Highways Agency has a remit to promote sustainable development
H5 Ensure the Health and Safety Executive has a remit to promote sustainable development  

On 22 November, English Heritage held an open access community forum event under the discussion heading “Should the historic environment be managed by experts; is involving the public just an unnecessary burden?” which was attended by couple of Heritage Action members. The discussion was billed as:

We would like to provoke discussion on the 22nd November by exploring the following three questions:

1. What should be the role of the local heritage groups in maintaining and promoting the historic environment? Is their existence simply a convenient solution for the fall in local professional historic environment staff?

2. Does it really matter if the young or the less well off aren’t represented in local groups? Isn’t it more important to have a committed few rather than the less interested many?

3. If the local community groups are the way forward for the historic environment, how can professional staff best support them? Are there examples of local groups which are already making a significant difference?

We raised several points regarding inclusion of pre-existing groups on the internet and the massive improvements which could be made to enable automatic site condition and damage reporting by the general public. They were generally accepted and agreed with, though whether any actions will come of this is unsure. Hopefully this isn’t just a talking shop from which nothing will come.

You can see the full discussion here (free login required).

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