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Why Local Authorities need an archaeologist

An Archaeology Forum (TAF) paper setting out the value of local government archaeological services is the latest development in IfA’s ongoing campaign to retain those services vital to the effective protection and management of our historic environment. Written in conjunction with other Forum members the paper marshalls arguments for resisting the cuts that currently threaten local services and outlines the public benefits to be gained from their retention.

The paper emphasises that England’s local authorities currently enjoy access to a comprehensive network of archaeology advisors, offering a range of specialist skills in the built, buried, coastal and submerged historic environment. They provide advice that is proportionate, consistent, informed, impartial and timely.

They can advise on

  • implementing national planning guidance to sustain and enhance the significance and setting of local heritage assets
  • strategic and local historic environment policies in Local Development Frameworks and Neighbourhood Development Plans
  • the adequacy of Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Statements
  • pre-application consultation on development proposals
  • screening planning applications and Neighbourhood Development Orders to assess their impact on the significance and setting of heritage assets and local distinctiveness
  • measures necessary to conserve or record heritage assets affected by planning applications and Neighbourhood Development Orders
  • appeals and public inquiries
  • maintenance, transfer or disposal of assets of community value
  • potential devolution of English Heritage powers or resources to local partners and communities
  • identifying heritage-led regeneration opportunities
  • promoting place-shaping in new and existing communities
  • promoting localism through community engagement and volunteering opportunities
  • maximising grant aid through English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Community Infrastructure Levy and Environmental Stewardship

The paper is being used by all TAF members as part of ongoing advocacy efforts with national and local government in England, while partner organisations in the rest of the UK are tailoring the arguments to reflect their own situations. IfA encourages all members to put forward the points made in the paper wherever they might have an impact.

The paper can be downloaded from the TAF website.

TAF is a grouping of independent bodies such as the IFA, concerned with the archaeological investigation, management and interpretation of the UK’s historic environment – both buried remains and standing structures. The Forum provides an opportunity for institutions to discuss matters of common concern, with the intention of establishing shared positions and promoting clear and consistent messages from archaeological practitioners and other stakeholders.

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Miller Building, University of Reading
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AB

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