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BRITARCH  October 2003

BRITARCH October 2003

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Subject:

Re: Single state run unit (was: Winchester)

From:

John McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 30 Oct 2003 08:39:43 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (92 lines)

John C. (and everyone else) -

I am aware that there is a local planning process responsible to insure that the work ordered as part of planning approval is done, but as I think someone else mentioned on this thread, too many local planning officials (here in the US as well as in the UK) view it as their job to help make sure that development take place in their jusdiction.

In the US the SHPO is indpendent from local process and somewhat removed from political influences.  The project cannot move forward into construction until the SHPO, and in the case of adverse effects to significant resources, the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (an independent federal agency), have reached agreement with the federal agency providing funding or approval and the sponsor (developer) as to what work is to be done and how it is to be done, usually including interim reviews and approval of the archaeologial work by SHPO.  Effecftively, the excavation is not over until the SHPO says it is.  Without naming specififc names, the SHPO can insist that investigators meet more than the minimum professional qualification standards - must have a history of experience with a particular resource type or in the region in question, or have expertise with a type of data analysis.  Some SHPOs carry this to unreasonable extremes - you pratically have to have been born!
 in Maine
 to work there!

The above notwithstanding, some archaeological contractors do not do very good work in the field and some do not produce very good or useful reports.  Many practioners are not good at the kinds of data analysis and interpretation that represent meaningful archaeological research even from the most significant sites.  The SHPO staff must be willing to reject reports that do not meet standards or the letter of agreements and the lead federal agency must be willing to stand behind its agreements. Some do and some do not.  The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Energy Regultory Commission are well-know for taking preservation responsibilities very seriously, while the Housing and Urban Develpoment Administration is equally well known for not doing so.

Just some more foder,
John

John Carman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I do believe they tried a development tax (or at least somethimng similar)
in France but abandoned it recently, partly because it raised insufficient
revenues to cover the costs of
environmental impacts and their mitigation, including archaeology.
I think John McCarthy possibly has not realised that Britain does have a
kind-of SHPO equivalent in County Archaeological Officers (by whatever name
called), part of whose job it is to oversee the application of development
control as it relates to archaeology. They are not allowed by law to
licence particular archaeological contractors (which would be the easy way
to ensure only those qualified undertook work) but can impose standards
which they are supposed to meet. The way it works is that the developer
becomes liable for the quality of work undertaken by the contractor in
their name and can face penalties for not ensuring standards are met. The
problem is of course in setting appropriate standards, in monitoring the
work done, and in getting Planning Committees to act (bearing in mind that
archaeology is only one factor for them to take into account, among many
others). Even where all this is possible, by the time he shoddy nature of
the work becomes visible, the development may be complete and accordinbgly
it is too late to take action. But I suspect the US SHPOs may have similar
problems... and if they have overcome them maybe we should borrow some
ideas from them! John?
John Carman

--On 30 October 2003 10:21 +0000 Bill Moffat
wrote:

> Dear Nick,
>
> It was indeed late, and I see that I took unnecessary umbrage. My
> blithering about a right to develop wasn't entirely clear either. There
> probably isn't a specific right to do so, and it's a digression anyway.
>
> The concept of a developer tax, or development tax, is flawed by the
> difficulty of its implementation. How would it be collected, for example?
> Say it was a direct levy on the turnover or profits of development
> companies, and payable in much the same way as VAT or income tax. We'd
> then need a definition of a development company, which is not that easy.
> Would there be a threshold? If so, would that threshold rise with
> inflation and interest rates? How would any rebates be assessed or
> administered? Naturally, all of that is possible to sort out, but would
> take time and cost an awful lot of public money.
> It might be easier to tax each development project individually. But if we
> did so, again, would there be a threshold, and where would it fall. Would
> private individuals extending their homes be taxed, or not, and if not,
> where do we draw the line. In any case, if the tax were to be levied
> individually, how would it differ from clients paying up for work done,
> apart from being far less efficient, of course.
>
> Also, would a development tax be a tax on all development, or only on
> those developments in sensitive areas? If the latter, shouldn't the tax
> then reflect the level of sensitivity, rather than the development's
> budget? How would that be administered differently from the impact
> assessments currently in operation?
>
> And, finally. There are several local instances, two in the very recent
> past, of planning applications either refused or development plans
> curtailed because of archaeological potential alone. I cannot give more
> detail than that and of course I could be making it up. One instance
> which happened so long ago it is probably safe to mention specifically,
> was the Downton Bypass, a privately led development. The archaeology we
> found along its course led to the plan being shelved.
>
> Bill



Dr John Carman
Affiliated Lecturer
Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge
Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK
Tel: +44 1223 333323
Fax: +44 1223 333503
Email: [log in to unmask]

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