As promised in an earlier email, here is the CBA's initial response to the
review of English heritage policies being carried out by English Heritage.
We expect to have further opportunities to comment during the course of the
review, not least because our President, Dr Francis Pryor, is on the
Historic Environment Review Co-ordinator
23 Savile Row
17 March 2000
Government Review of Policies Relating to the Historic Environment
I enclose our comments on the proposed scope of the Review and issues to be
covered. Please note that it has not been possible to undertake a thorough
consultation within the CBA for this, so the suggestions made are somewhat
provisional. We have tried to outline issues that need to be considered.
As a general point, like many others, we do consider this a very short
timescale to tackle a very large number of issues that have considerable
complexities of inter-relationships. We understand from Alan Howarth's
letter (para13) that the Review will lead to a statement setting out future
development of strategy, and specifying action to be taken. We would
suggest therefore that a key part of the review will need to be to
highlight where further detailed consideration or research is needed, and
how that might be done.
We note that in various respects there seems to be some discrepancy or
change of emphasis between Alan Howarth's letter and the Invitation to
Participate, which we have noted in the response (eg the issue of maritime
archaeology and the need to consider implications for the 2002-2004
CSR). To some extent this is reflected in how we have presented our
comments (largely based on section 2 of the Invitation to Participate).
As regards the structure of the Review, there appear to be four ways that
the issues have been grouped so far: Alan Howarth's letter and its Annex,
the list of issues that Review must address, the over-arching themes, and
the remits of the Working Groups. It is rather difficult to see a clear
direction for the Review from this. The distinction between issues and
overarching themes is potentially helpful in principle, and we do not have
any particular suggestions for whether the cake might be divided in a
different way (any division will throw up problems). But given the short
time-scale, there might be merit, for purely practical reasons, if the ways
the findings are likely to need to be presented (perhaps anticipating the
way that new policy might itself be structured?) was more clearly reflected
in the process of the Review. Perhaps that is the intention, but if so it
might be helpful for it to be made clearer in the guidance given to the
Working groups. All this will doubtless depend on how the Steering Group
see the process working - perhaps it is a point for the first "steer"!
The Council for British Archaeology
GOVERNMENT REVIEW OF POLICIES RELATING TO THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT
The CBA, which has a membership of c.5500 individuals and 500
organisations, is the principal UK-wide non-government organisation that
promotes knowledge, appreciation and care of the historic environment for
present and future generations. This response represents our initial view
of the issues to be addressed and we look forward to making further input
to the Review as it progresses, and to assist in wider consultation.
THE NEED FOR THE REVIEW
The CBA very much welcomes the Government's commitment endorsing the
principles of PPG15 and PPG16 as the basis for developing policy towards
the historic environment. These documents contain fundamental principles
* the all-pervasiveness of the historic environment
* the need for a mixture of regulation and policy to cover such a wide remit
* the vital importance of having adequate information for informed
* the recognition that conservation is about achieving a sustainable
balance of preservation and change.
However, not all of these, or other aspects of the two PPGs are put into
practice as effectively as they might be, or receive the recognition or
weight they deserve in terms of implementation. We also believe that these
two essential pieces of planning guidance should be seen within a more
over-arching policy. We suggest that the Government's document on
sustainable development for the UK, A Better Quality of Life provides a
framework of wider principles relating to public interest and participation
to which policies for the historic environment could make a much greater
contribution than has yet been recognised.
We are concerned that various initiatives to streamline and modernise
regulation are in danger of weakening long-term conservation. The historic
environment should not be seen as a barrier to progress and change. Its
conservation should be seen as the means to shape change in ways that
retain for the long-term an attractive, distinctive, cherished and valued
environment in which people live and work or visit.
We therefore very much welcome the Review, and applaud the view that it
should be visionary in character. In particular we urge that its remit should:
* Review immediate needs and initiatives within a genuinely long-term view
(consonant with its subject matter)
* Avoid having too narrow a scope in terms of geography, subject matter or
the specific remits of the two Government departments to which it reports
* Be prepared to grasp important medium- to long-term issues for
legislation, policy development and definition of government
responsibilities, even though parliamentary time may currently be very limited.
The Review represents an opportunity to promote well-thought out
modernisation of policy towards the historic environment in ways capable of
enriching and reinvigorating fundamental values of long-term conservation
of the fabric of the historic environment and sustainable access to it. We
believe that a core goal should be to show how policy in this area can make
a major contribution to wider goals of quality of life and sustainable
SCOPE OF THE REVIEW
The Department's commissioning letter to English Heritage, and the
Invitation to Participate appear to indicate that the Review only applies
to England. If so, this is regrettable given that several issues that need
to be addressed are inevitably UK-wide.
* DCMS has a UK-wide remit for various matters relating to underwater
archaeology, World Heritage Sites and the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
* MLAC, with responsibilities for museum collections and archives also has
a UK-wide remit
* A significant proportion of legislation and policy that applies to
England is UK-wide, or has closely parallel and equivalent regulations/
policy guidance in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
We also note the July 1999 concordat between DCMS and the Scottish
Parliament, which states: 'The Secretary of State and the Scottish
Ministers accordingly undertake to ... seek to involve each other at the
earliest stages of policy formation on all topics where there is a
reasonable expectation that a policy initiative might be extended to cover,
or might affect, the other's responsibilities... to ensure that both
parties are kept abreast of developments in policy, practice and
legislation, including discussion with third parties, in areas where there
is, or could be, an interface.'
We recommend that the Review should
* Cover issues that remain UK-wide responsibilities
* Involve consultation about general issues, responsibilities and
legislation with relevant non-English statutory bodies and any voluntary
bodies not represented by a UK-wide organisation
* Take into account differences in legislation, policy and practice in
Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland that provide valuable insights for
English and UK policy
* Similarly, take account of international practice where relevant.
We note that the Invitation to Participate (section 3.0 a and b) envisages
two main timescales, a 25 year vision, and 10 year Agenda for Action. We
note that Alan Howarth's letter specifically (para 6b) refers to the
Comprehensive Spending Review for 2002-2004, and the need to consider
resource implication. We would therefore suggest that a 5-year timescale
for new initiatives - especially with respect to areas of interaction with
other departments' responsibilities - should also be a definite output of
More generally, we believe that the Review needs to recognise that
conservation of the historic environment is for future generations -
time-scales that are relevant stretch far beyond 25 years into the
unforeseeable future. In the light of this, policy needs to be
precautionary to allow for unforeseen development of approaches in three ways:
* Recognising the fundamental primacy of safeguarding historic fabric and
integrity - albeit inevitably subject to varying degrees of survival,
change and adaptation, but within very long perspectives of past change,
not only short term needs
* Allowing for continuation of the trend towards greater attention and new
approaches being applied to conservation in ways that are as yet
unrecognised - just as we are already working with concepts hardly
recognised 25 years ago
* Recognising that views on what constitutes the historic environment
change and that new elements are usually recognised and championed first by
specialist enthusiasts, commonly in the voluntary sector, not government.
A 25-YEAR VISION
We offer the following idea for the 25-year vision:
If the historic environment is all-pervasive, then it must become
all-pervasive in attitudes and approaches to environmental issues among
organisations in both the public and private sectors and in heightened
This requires a substantial boost to education, engagement and
participation of young people and adults throughout society.
It requires more support for and involvement and partnership with the
voluntary sector at national regional and local level.
It requires consolidation and clarification of legislation and
policy; positive action in a wide range of government and public bodies
through better administration, more specialist staff, budgets, better
training, revision of procedures; and positive action to make care of the
historic environment a green issue for business, subject to environmental
It requires much better Government inter-departmental working practices.
The historic environment is how Society collectively, consciously or
intuitively, values aspects of the environment that reflect the past and
contribute to people's quality of life.
* "The historic environment" is not separate from the environment as a whole
* It is the abundant, all-pervasive record of changes in people's long-term
social, spiritual and economic relationships and their interaction with all
parts of the environment
A genuinely holistic definition has significant implications:
* If it is all-pervasive, it affects all branches of Government
* If it is how the environment reflects long-term processes of change that
continue into future, it has a vital role in helping to manage future change
* If the historic environment is defined as part of people's collective
recognition of their cultural heritage, it has implications for how policy
in England relates to the UK-wide and international context of people's
CONDITION OF THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY INDICATORS
The results of the MARS study showed that more attention particularly needs
to be given to the management of archaeological sites monuments and
structures - especially in the agricultural sector.
* Insufficient resources are being put into the management of historic
sites and features. The greatest impact could be achieved by firmly
incorporating this into the realignment of agricultural policy and support
* The lack of budgets for the implementation of World Heritage Site
Management Plans needs to be addressed.
* Various initiatives (eg work holidays, conservation volunteering,
adopt-a-monument schemes) suggest possible means of expanding existing
means of fostering voluntary and public participation in active conservation.
Despite the Buildings and Monuments at Risk Survey audits, there remains
much to be done before it could be claimed that the condition of the
historic environment is being adequately monitored.
The Government's provisional idea for sustainability indicators (the number
of Grade I and II* buildings at risk) is woefully inadequate for the
historic environment as a whole.
* What indicators might be used to monitor changing character of the
historic environment as a whole, and historic distinctiveness of places in
* Are there specific indicators that would reflect more general effects on
the historic environment?
* What indicators would reflect how people's attitude to conservation may
alter - whether the way that people wish to alter the historic environment
becomes more sensitive to retaining its fabric and character, improving its
maintenance or enhancing its setting?
* What would be an equivalent set of indicators to those being developed
Cost-effective methods need to be found for monitoring condition and
developing sustainability indicators.
* Technical approaches might include more use of air photography, including
integrated multi-disciplinary environmental monitoring as practiced in
Northern Ireland is a possibility that warrants investigation.
* Partnerships with the voluntary sector are particularly worth
considering, since a common feature of such initiatives would be to fulfil
wider policy aims of encouraging public involvement with environmental
** The CBA is carrying out a review funded by DCMS of the potential for
using its national database of all listed building applications involving
demolitions as a means of monitoring thematic and geographical trends,
potentially capturing both attitudes to conservation and the outcomes of
** There are a number of volunteer based schemes (eg in Leicestershire, and
Scotland) that provide possible models that might be developed into a
national Monuments Watch scheme developing a standard, commonly accepted
methodology and data reporting standard for use by trained volunteers.
THE ROLE OF THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT IN MODERN AND FUTURE CULTURE
People's awareness of the past, and their appreciation and sense of care
for the historic character of the places where they live and work or which
they visit, underpin their sense of cultural identity, pride of place and
celebration of the diversity of the cultural heritage. They thereby make
major contributions to people's quality of life.
* The effective promotion of knowledge and understanding, conservation and
intellectual and physical access to the historic environment is founded
upon active communication and participation amongst all sectors of society.
* If the historic environment is neglected then local regional and national
identities and distinctiveness suffer, and people's quality of life becomes
* Britain has always been a multicultural society with problems of social
or economic disadvantage and the historic environment potentially offers a
greater depth of perspective and new insights to help people understand
* The multi-faceted skills needed for archaeological investigation and
study can offer worthwhile avenues for individuals of widely differing
backgrounds to discover their own aptitudes and interests.
* In these ways the historic environment can provide a vehicle for wider
social and cultural enrichment and rehabilitation.
RELATIONSHIP TO NATURE CONSERVATION
There are no purely natural habitats uninfluenced and unexploited by past
generations in Britain, so ecological habitats are intimately bound up with
the historic character of the environment and the evidence of people's past
interaction with the environment. This relationship is complex, and not
always in harmony.
* Holocene geology (peat deposits, colluvium alluvium) contain vital
evidence of long-term human impact on the environment, even though they may
contain no artefacts or archaeological deposits
* Ecological habitats reflecting traditional land management (woods, ponds
hedges, walls, pastures, hay meadows, commons, heaths etc.) make a major
contribution to the historic character of the countryside
* Archaeological and historical evidence often provides explanations of the
origins and management of wildlife habitats that are relevant to
maintenance of biodiversity today
* Undisturbed ecological habitats often contain well-preserved archaeology
* Well preserved archaeological sites and buildings often have rich
* Valued ecological habitats can develop on destroyed archaeological sites
and demolished buildings; and recent buildings and monuments now regarded
as part of the historic environment may be developments that destroyed
* Creation, enhancement or protection of ecological habitats can destroy
* Archaeological investigations, site maintenance and building repairs can
destroy and disturb wildlife habitats and species
* The huge literature now available through environmental archaeology could
be used much more to inform issues of long-term changes in biodiversity
This complexity of overlapping interests in the same basic environmental
resources demands further integration.
* There is a need to clarify responsibility and develop a policy for
protection of holocene palaeo-environmental deposits
* There is a need for more cross-fertilisation on ideas for sustainability
and diversity indicators.
* The Review should address the need for more integrated environmental
management systems in public and other organisations responsible for
managing large areas, including the relative availability of internal
professional ecological and archaeological advice within key Government
agencies, public bodies and government-subsidised companies.
INSTRUMENTS FOR PROTECTION AND ENHANCEMENT
A holistic approach to the historic environment implies recognition that
much of present policy stems from legislation that originates in 19th
century concepts of preservation. The still dominant site-protection based
legislation should come to be seen much more as just one important strand
of a more holistic suite of mechanisms for promoting conservation,
education and public involvement with the historic environment. But the
all-pervasive approach currently suffers serious shortcomings in practice.
* There is a need to develop much stronger links between historic character
assessment to local perceptions and interest, eg at parish level (many
parishes representing long-term social and land-use entities, as well as
being the lowest tire of government)
* Given that "historic character" is not static, but the product of ongoing
change, how might it inform what kind of future change might be suitable
for an area?
* The aspirations of PPG15 regarding the non-designatory approach to the
all-pervasive historic character of the environment, are not matched by
practical application of this policy in terms of assessment and policy
development for sustainable change in regional, structure and local plans,
or development control. The concept appears to carry little weight in
* As part of developing all-pervasive approaches, the review must address
how all government departments and public agencies, not just DCMS and DETR,
will engage with policies for the historic environment.
A medium to long term vision could be for all-embracing legislation of the
type found in other countries, covering the whole historic environment
(countryside and urban character, areas of particular interest,
palaeo-environmental deposits, sites, monuments, buildings, places
associated with traditional practices and events, portable
antiquities). In this context it is relevant to ask:
* How far does current provision fall short of international standards (eg
in respect of licensing excavations and trade in portable antiquities)?
* How far does the piecemeal accumulation legislation and policy that we
currently use inhibit clarity and coherence in the administration of policy?
* Is legislation beginning to lag so far behind current thinking that it
does not adequately support modern approaches to the historic environment
* Can some legislative change be incorporated into forthcoming rural and
urban development and agricultural legislation?
Apart from overhauling legislation in the medium to long term, there is a
short-term need to rationalise and clarify the multitude of sometimes
overlapping provisions and policies that currently apply, and linking this
to improved public involvement.
* The Review needs to examine how to bridge divisions that stem from
separate strands of legislation where they still tend to inhibit holistic
thinking and practice, and clear, efficient communication of overall policy
to the public.
* How could policy promote more effective public participation in the
processes of characterisation and development plan preparation?
* Consideration should be given to whether there might be advantages in
bringing PPG 15 and PPG 16 together into one set of guidance.
* The application of PPG15 and PPG16 rely on the maintenance of adequate
historic environment records (SMRs Lists etc) and specialist advisers
within local government. If policy is to rely on these services, the
provision of such services needs to be statutory.
* There is a need to rationalise legislation and its administration
regarding maritime archaeology in territorial waters and trade in portable
antiquities, both of which involve international conventions subject to
other policy reviews, but need to be seen within this broader framework.
* The major changes in policy towards agriculture and the rural economy
must include proper coverage of archaeological issues in new
agri-environmental arrangements and cross-compliance; replacement of the
agricultural class-consent provisions for Scheduled Ancient Monuments with
a conservation management-based approach; improved protection for historic
boundaries and other features in the countryside.
Simplifying or streamlining planning and statutory controls should not be a
matter of reducing scrutiny or weakening controls. The issues should be
considered within the context of the whole planning process. The following
offer some possible ways forward:
* Greater specialist input is made to early stages of national policy and
planning formulation (including better mechanisms for early and active
liaison on policy development with independent representative professional
and voluntary bodies)
* Provision of better, fuller advice on historic environment issues as part
of process of allocating land for development (eg conservation plans in
* More conservation input into design briefs
* Development of better approaches to historic environment appraisal of
carrying capacity at national, regional, local and site-based level
(addressing different aspects of broad historic character down to detailed
site conservation issues)
* Building limits of acceptable change models into assessments of historic
* Better training for caseworkers advising planning authorities
* Much stronger clearer and more helpful guidance for developers and
others, including clearer standards of information needed for decision-making
* Better mechanisms for early and active casework liaison between relevant
authorities and developers (and others proposing landuse change)
* Adequate resources are available to national and local authorities
responsible for regulation to respond promptly and work efficiently
together, especially in complex cases
* Improving mechanisms for handling cases involving multiple strands of
historic environment legislation and policy.
The Review should address issues of influencing the sustainability of
private sector developers and other businesses that have an impact on the
* What is the potential role of fiscal instruments (eg "green taxes") in
relation to the historic environment? - There is clear consensus on the
desirability of equalisation of VAT for buildings, but the case for (and
implications of) green taxes in relation to other issues (eg minerals and
peat, nitrates, etc.) is in most cases not as obvious, and indeed could be
* The Review could also consider how responsible approaches to the historic
environment might be more widely instilled in private sector businesses (eg
through Government procurement requirements).
HERITAGE AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
The Review should seek to identify "virtuous circles" of economic and
social benefit in regeneration and tourism in both rural and urban areas,
and how these might be promoted.
As a general principle we consider that a largely seamless approach should
be adopted to the greenfield/ brownfield debate, so that real pros and cons
of alternative strategies can be weighed up in the allocation of land for
different uses in national, regional and local planning. While in general
we do not disagree with the general thrust of policy, there has tended to
be a failure by Government to recognise various implications for the
* the significant industrial or other archaeological conservation value of
many brownfield sites, and their interest for urban wildlife.
* the complications of brownfield sites where significant industrial or
other archaeology or historic buildings are situated in contaminated areas
* the relatively degraded character of some "greenfield" areas that have
been under very intensive agriculture and peripheral development.
The Review should seek to identify how proper consideration of the historic
environment can be integrated more fully into the implementation of the
strategic allocation of brownfield and greenfield land for housing and
Work by both the voluntary sector (Catalytic Conversion, SAVE, 1998) and
English Heritage (The Heritage Dividend 1999) have shown how the historic
environment can act as a catalyst for several different aspects of public
policy to be brought together within a very positive and high quality
regeneration that has lasting value and considerable economic and social
benefit. The schemes already developed have effectively piloted the
approach and indicate the value to be gained from much larger scale support
from public funds as a major plank of the Government's regeneration
A similar approach is now needed for the rural environment as policy moves
away from agricultural subsidy towards broader, more environmentally
sensitive support for rural economies. We would suggest that the Review
* Whether more flexible and sensitive planning policies coupled with
realigned agricultural support would allow more sensitive re-use of farm
buildings for small scale business rather than domestic use, potentially
reducing current pressure forcing unsympathetic conversion by allowing very
small scale new build development
* What scope there is for developing a diversified market for the products
and services of activities based on traditional skills, crafts and
activities capable of building successful rural regeneration which is both
environmentally sustainable and capable of reinforcing to local character,
identity and diversity.
Tourism is a key sector for both the urban and rural economy, within which
the assets of the historic environment play a lead role. Tourism is the
UK's largest employer and earns £12.8 billion. Many if not most visitors
both from abroad and from within the UK come to enjoy our scenery, historic
places and rich cultural history - the real splendour of which is its
diversity, quality, and ubiquity. We suggest that the Review should
consider interlinked issues of:
* The importance of ensuring effective conservation of the historic
character of the environment in general, and its regional diversity in
particular, as means of enhancing overall visitor experience
* Developing a clearer strategy for assessing the capacity of places (from
wide areas down to individual sites) to absorb tourism
* Avoiding (and where appropriate reduce) the 'honey pot' effect of some
key attractions where visitor pressure can be significantly detrimental
* Dispersing tourism more effectively to spread benefits more widely,
considering what opportunities historic places may offer in relatively
economically deprived areas.
An area of tourism of growing concern is the possible impact of the growing
industry of foreign (mainly UK-USA) metal detecting holidays, which appear
to be resulting in significant loss of unrecorded antiquities. This can be
contrasted with the potential positive benefits of encouraging more public
participation in conservation activity through work holidays of the type
run by National Trust and BTCV.
A common requirement of all the issues of economic growth is the need to
develop much more comprehensive methods of assessing capacity for change in
relation to key historic characteristics of areas.
INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES AT NATIONAL REGIONAL AND LOCAL LEVEL
It is clear that there should be no further significant re-organisation of
English Heritage for some time, but there is a serious issue of whether EH
is in the right department of Government:
* Far more policy initiatives and government consultations relevant to the
historic environment emanate from DETR than from other departments,
including DCMS, and they depressingly frequently fail to cover the historic
environment issues properly
* An objective review of EH's principal areas of activity and statutory
functions would almost certainly indicate that it would sit most naturally
* This view is likely to be enhanced as closer working relationships
develop between national and local government within the regional framework
* A holistic view of the historic environment would be more likely to
become embedded into government under a DETR umbrella fostering more
effective collaboration between all relevant environment and planning
There remains significant concern at dwindling archaeological services at
* It is likely that many of the recommendations of the Review will envisage
enhanced national-local partnerships for the implementation of policy, with
consequential implications for local government resources.
* There is a need for Government to define a minimum level and range of
historic environment services that local government is expected to provide,
and to make these statutory, so that they are less prone to being cut.
* The possibilities of providing some services from regional level might be
considered - at present this would take them out of clear democratic
accountability, and potentially would lose vital local contact, which if
anything policy should be seeking to strengthen.
Many wider Government goals of participation and involvement could be
achieved through stronger collaborative partnerships between statutory,
academic and professional organisations and the voluntary sector, at
national, regional and local level.
* Government policy should clearly recognise the strength of existing
networks in this area and the value of nurturing and supporting them
further as a means of achieving its wider objectives of enhancing quality
* Policy towards the voluntary sector should seek to support existing good
work where it still has potential to fulfil and develop shared strategic
objectives more effectively, as well as encouraging new initiatives.
* There is scope for developing such involvement to assist in research,
conservation and education and access.
FRAMEWORK OF NEW RESEARCH, DATA COLLECTION AND EVALUATION TO GUIDE FUTURE
We believe that there is a wide range of issues concerning needs for
research, data collection and evaluation. Research is vital to
understanding, and we cannot manage what we do not understand. There is a
more general need to reconnect the professional, academic and voluntary
sectors in ensuring that research is effectively executed and communicated.
While we would not expect this Review to cover the work of the Archaeology
and Humanities Research Board or other Research Councils, it is worth
noting that there are important areas of common interest, given the work
supported by English Heritage and the contribution that developer-funded
archaeology makes towards research.
* In terms of academic funding, there is an emerging gap in provision for
large- and medium-scale projects (whether in Britain or elsewhere)
* English Heritage should continue to support relatively pure academic
research related to the historic environment in England.
* There is a particular need for works of synthesis to pull together the
results of PPG16-related investigations funded by developers: this might
be a subject for hypothecated expenditure of revenues from green taxes (eg
if the suggested minerals tax were introduced), or EH funding if not viable
* The PPG15 issues are much more whether sufficient record is being made
listed buildings undergoing alterations that significantly change their
fabric; there is currently no means of knowing fully what PPG15 related
recording has been done nationally.
An area of research that deserves continued support, are thematic studies
covering broad topics, geographical areas or classes of site or
building. This type of work can:
* usefully link enhanced knowledge of the past to conservation policy
* achieve recognition for threatened types of building, structure or field
monument that in future will be valued as records of particular aspects of
the country's past
* feed into policies for diversification of tourism.
As regards research needed to support policy development more generally,
there are several areas that we have mentioned above which require further
research for policy to be developed adequately - for example:
* Developing sustainability indicators
* Relationship to and coverage of the historic environment in Local Agenda
* Limits of acceptable change models
* Carrying capacity appraisal at national, regional, local and site-based level
* Rural regeneration models and pilot studies
* Green taxes and other fiscal measures in relation to the historic environment
* Development of a generally supported approach to issues of setting
* Linking characterisation approaches to community perceptions for
different types and scale of characterisation
* Development of standard methodologies for archaeological condition
* Approaches to archaeological risk assessment
There is a continuing need for technical research related to conservation
policy issues likely to arise directly from other government policy
initiatives. A principle should be established that such research should
be funded by the relevant government department/ agencies responsible for
the activity representing the source of impact
* a currently active example is the long over-due MAFF-funded study of
archaeology in arable landscapes
* an urgently needed example would be a DETR or EA supported study to
investigate ways of reducing the impact of remediation of contaminated
ground, within the context of increasing re-development of brownfield sites.
The role and potential of the voluntary sector in undertaking or assisting
with research needs to be addressed - there are numerous good examples
within each of the areas outlined above, and there is a wide feeling that
there is more that could usefully be achieved through partnerships that
would also achieve many wider goals of participation and involvement.
INTELLECTUAL AND PHYSICAL ACCESS: FORMAL AND INFORMAL EDUCATION
More public involvement and engagement through education and access is
fundamental to a healthy, all-pervasive recognition of heritage issues.
Alan Howarth's letter asks what new initiatives might be developed to
encourage young people to take more interest in the historic
environment. At national level, English Heritage and the CBA together have
between them maintained a sustained, and increasingly effective effort over
many years to promote archaeology (ie the historic environment generally)
through formal and informal education. This has been on the basis of very
limited resources, and until recently, often in the face of very limited
interest from Government. The specific recognition of this as an issue for
the Review is therefore very welcome.
* Rather than developing new initiatives, a first priority should be to
consider what might be achieved by building on existing long-term national
initiatives such as the CBA's Young Archaeologists' Club and EH's
educational activities, that continue to be under-resourced, and therefore
* At local level more could be done to develop educational activities by
providing more support encouragement and incentives to locally based
professional and voluntary archaeological organisations, historic building
groups, community and environmental trusts, museums and others.
* More needs to be done to develop initiatives that cover the whole
historic environment, eg through looking at urban or rural historic
character and how it is reflected in styles, spaces, relationships and
In formal education the Review should consider the need for
* A review of how the National Curriculum integrates the historic
environment and its contribution to sustainability into teaching a wider
range of subjects, including citizenship
* More input to initial training and in-service training for teachers
* Continued development of educational resources for teachers
* Development of topics to address issues of social inclusion and
multiculturalism, eg comparing evidence of the multi-cultural character of
Britain at various times in the past (back to prehistory) with similar
kinds of evidence about today's multi-cultural society
* Support for schools to ensure that children have more first-hand contact
with the historic environment
* Continued development of structured vocational and professional training.
In informal education and involvement there remains scope for developing
fuller partnerships with the voluntary sector, for example
* Projects to provide opportunities for young people over 14 and adults to
gain practical experience in archaeology with professional support
* Archaeological projects to promote greater involvement and employment
opportunities in archaeology for disadvantaged groups
More generally there is a need for more support to initiatives promoting
initial training and continuous professional development across a very wide
range of skills connected with researching, conserving and appreciating the
historic environment, both among professionals and the voluntary sector.
A fundamental issue for the management of places for people to visit is to
ensure that carrying capacity is properly considered, especially with
regard to the survival of historic fabric, but also in terms of visitor
enjoyment. Support is likely to need to be given to partnerships with the
voluntary sector in the management of some sites. A more strategic view of
physical accessibility is needed
INFORMATION SYSTEMS, RECORDS AND ARCHIVES, PUBLICATION
The range and inter-connectivity of information systems for the historic
environment across the British Isles has recently been reviewed by the CBA
for the Historic Environment Information Resources Network (forthcoming
report, Mapping Information Resources). This should be the starting point
for developing a clear strategy for providing enhanced access and
co-ordination amongst the plethora of systems that now exist. This will
need to be based on partnerships between the various bodies already
involved, supported by Government. Key recommendations are:
* Users' needs should drive future development of information services
serving the historic environment
* Information services should be developed co-operatively working towards
mutual accessibility and inter-operability recognising organisations'
identified roles and shared goals
* There should be a central internet register of information services
supported by providers
* A technical advisory facility should be established to promote data
standards and structures that assist inter-operability, metadata standards,
high quality dissemination of information
* There should be strategic discussion groups to ensure effective liaison
on common issues, roles and relationships.
With regard to the storage and access to archaeological archives, recent
CBA research in relation to publication user needs in archaeology shows
that the primary archive remains a critical factor for any reassessment of
results. The curtailment of local authority provision in many parts of the
country, coupled with the burgeoning amount of archaeological material
being recovered through PPG16-related work raises serious issues for the
long-term curation of this material. This needs to be addressed through a
co-ordinated strategic approach. More generally there is a need to ensure
that safeguarding primary archives and archaeological material supporting
understanding of the historic environment remains a high strategic priority
Publication of archaeological reports should be geared to user needs, as
recently reviewed in the CBA's study, Publication User Needs Survey
(forthcoming). Particular consideration needs to be given to raising
public awareness and public access to PPG16-related archaeological
investigations, by including in conditions a requirement to do more to
communicate outcomes to the local community in ways appropriate to the
circumstances (eg through formal or informal education, open days,
exhibitions or non-technical reports deposited in local libraries). We
believe this to be part of fulfilling the public interest justification for
Dr Mike Heyworth Council for British Archaeology
Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 9WA, UK
Tel: +44 1904 671417 Fax: +44 1904 671384