English Heritage has just published “Heritage Counts” an interesting annual survey of the state of England’s historic environment (produced on behalf of the Historic Environment Forum). It highlights how important Heritage is both in economic terms and as a contributor to personal wellbeing.  One bit in particular caught our eye. It was this, where they emphasise their view that “standards of decision making” are important in planning matters:


It’s a fair bet what they really thought important in that case wasn’t the the standard of decision making but the right decision, whether arrived at well or disgracefully – and they may even have been smiling as they wrote it, who knows? What is known is that together with the National Trust they fought long and hard to prevent the heritage value of that place being diminished by massive turbines. Their Chief Executive called the original decision Despicable & disastrous” – and the NT’s Director of Conservation said of the successful reversal of that decision that “it sends an important signal that areas of outstanding beauty or national significance need protecting“.


Of course, what is considered “a good standard of decision making” may differ from person to person and place to place. We can’t help wondering whether NT and EH consider their decisions to support a short tunnel at Stonehenge were of “a good standard of decision making”?