Dept for Culture, Media & Sport, new release 082/03
17 July 2003
"REVIEW HERALDS IMPROVEMENTS FOR HERITAGE PROTECTION" SAYS
HERITAGE MINISTER ANDREW MCINTOSH
Heritage Minister Andrew McIntosh today launched a consultation paper
with radical ideas for simplifying and improving the systems of
protection for our historic environment. The consultation covers
designation of listed buildings, scheduled monuments, conservation
areas and other protected assets.
Protecting Our Historic Environment: Making The System Work Better,
contains a list of suggestions for change on which interested parties
are invited to comment. Among the suggestions for change proposed by
the review are to:
- bring together all the current designations into a single, unified
list of historic sites and buildings of England covering all types
of historically, archaeologically or architecturally important
- transfer responsibility, for maintaining the list from the
Secretary of State to English Heritage, subject to safeguards
- open up the process requiring owners, local authorities, amenity
societies and the public to be informed and consulted when a
proposal for listing is made.
- provide a new right of appeal.
- provide a single consent regime for changes to any item on the
unified list and;
- create sub-regional pools of expertise to advise local authorities
Speaking at the launch of the consultation document, Andrew McIntosh
"The aim of this review is to take a root and branch look at all the
different systems of protection for our historic environment. This
country has an unrivalled heritage of listed buildings, monuments,
parks and gardens, conservation areas and other sites. Although the
system that is in place is good it needs improvement. There is, for
example, too much overlap between different systems, unnecessary
complexity and a lack of openness.
"We need a system fit for the 21st century with proper safeguards.
One that will provide benefits to all stakeholders through more
simplicity, more flexibility, more openness and greater rigour.
"The review contains a list of suggestions for change. We want to
stimulate debate and hear everybody's views. That's why we are
inviting all those involved in the sector - owners, architects,
archaeologists and others involved in conservation and heritage as
well as surveyors and developers - to contribute as well as members
of the public who enjoy our national heritage. We hope that as a
result of this process we will create a better system for protecting
the historic assets that make this country's heritage so unique.
Andrew McIntosh also paid tribute to all those involved in the
preparation of the report:
"Although the review has been led by this Department, we could not
have got this far without the commitment and contributions of a large
number of people. I thank Geoffrey Wilson, Chairman of the Steering
Committee and the other members of the committee for their time and
expertise as well as, of course, as English Heritage. Also colleagues
in other Departments and people across the historic environment,
planning and development sectors. Over 300 people have given up their
time to contribute their views on the complex issues that the Review
addresses and we hope that those people will continue to be
Welcoming the consultation document Chief Executive of English
Heritage Simon Thurley said:
"Everyone in England lives or works in a place which has history.
This history, embodied in the bricks and mortar of our high streets,
the Roman remains beneath our feet and the field patterns of the
countryside, gives us our sense of identity and belonging. Today's
proposals envisage a better way of protecting and managing this rich
inheritance and taking it safely with us into the future."
Chairman of the Steering Committee Geoffrey Wilson said:
"What has emerged is a broad consensus on the many strengths of the
current system. But it needs to be reformed in a way that chimes with
our times. Over reliance on regulation, secrecy and lack of
explanation all have to be robustly addressed if it is to be reshaped
in a way that offers clarity, openness, flexibility and response that
is going to engage people."
Sir Stuart Lipton, Chairman of the Commission for Architecture and
the Built Environment (CABE) commented:
"CABE welcomes the aims of the present exercise, to simplify and
improve the means of protecting the historic environment. We look
forward to a lively debate on the merits of the proposals contained
in the paper."
In the autumn, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will
organise seminars throughout the country to discuss the ideas in the
Consultation Paper. This will be followed by a report to Ministers
also in the autumn and a White Paper to be published next Spring
containing proposals for legislation.
Notes for Editors
1. The Government first announced its intention of reviewing the
system of protection for all elements of the historic environment in
the document, The Historic Environment: A Force For the Future,
published in December 2001 and available on the Department's website:
2. Designation under the current system is provided for:
- listed buildings
- conservation areas
- scheduled monuments
- registered parks and gardens
- historic battlefields
- historic wrecks
- World Heritage Sites
There are currently about 500,000 buildings, monuments and landscapes
listed, scheduled or registered.
2. The Consultation Paper can be accessed on the DCMS Website
3. Comments on the consultation document are required by
October 31 2003
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
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