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BRITARCH  February 2000

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Subject:

historic environment review: invitation to participate

From:

Mike Heyworth <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mike Heyworth <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 10 Feb 2000 10:29:35 +0000

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FROM ENGLISH HERITAGE:

GOVERNMENT'S REVIEW OF POLICIES RELATING TO THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT

AN INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE


1.0	Introduction

1.1	The Government has been considering the future development of strategy 
for the historic environment and has announced that it intends to undertake 
a review of various aspects of current policy.  As the first stage of the 
review, government has asked English Heritage to examine a number of 
specific policy issues and prepare a report, to be presented to Ministers 
in September 2000.

1.2	This will be the first?ever comprehensive review of policies relating 
to the historic environment.  Coming at the start of a new century, this 
review is most timely. Many of the policies and instruments which have 
served us so well during the 20th century are now many  decades old, and 
are sometimes based on 19th century ideas.  Horizons have broadened, as 
have aspirations for the heritage and the role it plays in modern 
life.  Only in the last ten years or so has heritage been recognised as 
being central to today's major issues of social inclusion, sustainability 
and cultural diversity.  It is time to consider whether all our policies 
and actions are as adequate or as imaginative as they might be.

1.3	The term historic environment is itself new in its general 
application.  Over the last few years it has been broadened to its present 
all?encompassing definition: the material remains of the past in 
England.  The historic environment:	
  	knows no chronological limits, covering everything from Boxgrove man to 
Greenham woman, and beyond;
	
  	knows no thematic limits, covering everything from an individual site or 
building to the whole historic landscape of England;
	
  	knows no geographic limits, being applicable in town and country alike;
	
  	knows no limits to its scale, the locally?distinctive now being 
recognised as equally worthy of consideration, in own its way, as the 
internationally significant;
	
  	knows no limits of culture or ethnicity.

1.4	The way the word heritage is understood often fails to reflect this 
richness and diversity.  Indeed, to some it signifies a selective, 
exclusive definition, suggesting that
	only those things validated by officialdom are 
significant.   In  reviewing policies for the whole historic environment, 
by contrast, we will aim to help all communities to define and value what 
is important for them.  Our report will encompass the contemporary and 
future culture of England and examine the relevance of the past to the 
future.  It will build on the value of continuity, but also on the evidence 
within the historic environment for the impact of change, and of new ideas, 
cultures and peoples.


2.0		Producing the Report

2.1	The report will aim to be visionary.  It will be the product of 
wide-ranging consultation and will engage representatives from across the 
heritage sector.

2.2	A Steering Group, at first chaired by Sir Jocelyn Stevens and from 
April to be chaired by Sir Neil Cossons, his successor, will draw 
membership from the principal heritage bodies and other interests, and 
include representatives from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and 
from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.  Working 
Groups will take forward detailed consideration of the topics 
raised.  These Groups will be chaired by leaders in their fields, who will 
be members of an Executive Group reporting under Pam Alexander to the 
Steering Group.

2.3	There will be two rounds of consultation.  This paper seeks views from 
a broad range of heritage and other interests, and concentrates on 
principles and aims and on the scope of the Working Groups.  The ideas set 
out in this paper are English Heritage's first thoughts, and we very much 
welcome other views.

2.4	The second round will be based on Discussion Papers that the Working 
Groups will have produced.  At that stage, we would intend to seek the 
views of the public more widely through the new English Heritage Web?site 
to be launched in April.
	2.5	A number of question to be addressed in the report have been 
identified by Alan Howarth, Minister for the Arts and Heritage.  These have 
been taken into account in parts 3 and 4 below.


3.0 	The Principles, Aims and Objectives of the Report

Whatever the outcomes, the report should include:

a)	a long term vision (at least 25 years) for strengthening our 
appreciation, 		conservation, management and use of the historic 
environment, and our recognition of 	its greater social relevance;

b) 	a shorter?term agenda for action, with broad targets for the next 10 years;

c)	a broad, holistic and comprehensive definition of the historic 
environment, fully integrated with other environmental concerns, 
biodiversity and countryside character;

d)	how the historic environment can fulfill its fundamental and necessary 
role in 	modern and future culture, being relevant to modern life?styles, 
quality of life and 	cultural diversity;
	
	e)	more efficient and effective instruments to protect and enhance the 
historic 		environment, including a broader characterisation-based approach,
	
	f)	ways to allow heritage and economic growth to work together to create 
regeneration 	and sustainable development;

g) 	improvements to the institutional structure which manages the 
historic  	environment at national, regional and local levels;

h)	a framework of new research, data collection, and evaluation as 
essential pre-requisites for future action;

I)	ways of providing further physical and intellectual access to, and 
appreciation and enjoyment of, the historic environment.
	

4.0	Overall Themes

4.1	The Working Groups, who are likely to create smaller short?term 
sub?groups to consider particular issues, will be organised on the basis of 
the challenges facing the historic environment. Their work will be pulled 
together by a range of common themes, including:

  	the holistic definition of the historic environment;
  	cultural diversity and social inclusion;
  	subsidiarity (from European and national through regional to local levels);
  	the balance between public and private involvement with the heritage;
  	the role of community and interests groups;
  	the closer integration of the historic with the natural environment;
  	the need for improved databases and records;
  	ways of improving the working connections between organisations.

4.2	We propose five Working Groups:
    	
	Working  Group 1 :
	The Historic Environment - Condition, Trends and Future Contexts
This Group will aim to develop a clear, inspiring new definition of what 
the historic environment is, what it means and how it could be 
valued.  They will identify its 	diverse character and significance, its 
relationship to the natural environment  and its relevance to the present 
and to the future.  They will take into account recent work, 	such as the 
Buildings at Risk Register and the Monuments at Risk Survey, to suggest 
practical new measures and indicators of condition; they will also review 
current threats and opportunities, as well as the prospects for future 
change, which range from the 	effects of climate change or rising sea 
levels, to the impact of new forms of regional government and European 
regulation, of population growth, change and movement, or of the 
re-structuring of agriculture and the further growth of leisure and 
service 	industries.  They will also consider the implications of the 
creation of "new" heritage by continued industrial and cultural change.
	
	Working Group 2 :
	Public involvement and access
This Group will take a new look at how people of all ages and cultural 
backgrounds engage with the historic environment,  and with the information 
systems that have been created for its understanding and management. They 
will consider how to strengthen public understanding,  education at all 
levels, and professional and vocational training to ensure the availability 
of the necessary skills; they will consider provision for access to 
information, and whether our 20th century databases and archives will be 
able to meet 21st century expectations.  The Group will consider the need 
for continued scientific, academic and technical research to continue to 
build understanding of local awareness; they will also examine the role of 
access in fostering social inclusion.

		Working Group 3 :
		Tourism
This Group will explore further the already-fruitful relationship between 
heritage and tourism.  They will look particularly at the need for 
sustainable tourism and visitor management, at how to enhance visitor 
experience at heritage sites, and at the cultural as well as the economic 
aspects of tourism.  They will  gauge the effect of new tourism products 
and markets, and the opportunities for the promotion of England's heritage 
overseas.  They will also consider the greater integration of tourism with 
other aspects of public access to the environment.
	
		Working Group 4 :
		Regulation, statutory procedures, protection and characterisation
This Group will look at some of the detail of our current legal and other 
protective instruments, and identify possibilities for streamlining in the 
context of the Government's Modernising Planning initiative. They will 
review the scope and effectiveness of existing statutes, the opportunities 
for simplifying or delegating statutory control, and the most appropriate 
levels at which controls should be operated; they will also look for better 
ways of resolving conflicts more effectively. They will also examine the 
relationship between the planning process and the historic environment, the 
balance between conservation and development, between designation-based 
protection and other methods such as characterisation and broader measures 
of significance, in order better to define opportunities for development.
	
		Working  Group 5:
		Sustainability and economic and social growth
This Group will move beyond the historic environment to the wider sphere of 
sustainable development, as set out in the government's recent White Paper 
A Better Quality of Life.  They will make particular reference to better 
indicators, a stronger articulation of the relationship between sustainable 
development and the historic environment, the all-important connections 
with the natural environment, and the contribution which heritage can make 
to stimulating sustainable growth and regeneration.  They will also look at 
the importance of high quality new architecture and urban design and at the 
place of community-building, the role of heritage in fostering social 
inclusion through sense of place, and the involvement of young people in 
their local environment.
	

5.0		How to participate

5.1 	We will take into account a broad range of views in preparing our 
report, and this early consultation is the first step. It would be very 
helpful if views on the proposed scope of the report, on its aims and 
objectives, or on the issues and themes that the Working Groups should 
consider, could be sent to English Heritage by Friday 17th March.  This 
will help to establish the Working Group agendas, and will allow a wide 
range of views to be taken into account before the Discussion Papers for 
the second consultation are prepared.   It would be helpful if detailed 
views can be reserved for the second stage of consultation.

5.2	Please send your views, if possible by Friday, 17th March, to:

Graham Fairclough,
Historic Environment Review Co?ordinator,
Room 208
English Heritage,
23 Savile Row,
London
W1X 1AB
Tel:  0171 973 3124/3010, fax 3111

or by e-mail to the following electronic mailbox :
[log in to unmask]



English Heritage
1 February 2000

---------------------------------------------------
Dr Mike Heyworth    Council for British Archaeology
Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 9WA, UK
Tel: +44 1904 671417           Fax: +44 1904 671384
            http://www.britarch.ac.uk
---------------------------------------------------



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