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IfA initial reaction to Draft National Planning Policy Framework

The Department for Communities and Local Government has today published its draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for consultation. It is intended that this document will provide one overarching statement of Government planning policy replacing and streamlining the existing suite of Planning Policy Guidance Notes and Statements (including the recently published Planning Policy Statement 5 Planning for the Historic Environment).

Peter Hinton, IfA’s Chief Executive, quoted in the DCLG media release, said

‘We have welcomed the opportunities to engage with government as it has prepared the NPPF and have been heartened by its commitment to carrying forward in it the principles of PPS5 Planning for the Historic Environment. The NPPF sets out clearly government’s twin objectives of conserving the historic environment in a sustainable manner and of ensuring wide public benefit from expert investigations of those elements affected by development. We look forward to continuing to work with government in the coming weeks to make sure that the key heritage messages of the NPPF can be fully understood and implemented by heritage and property professionals, by local government, and by the communities they all serve. We are pleased to part of a group of heritage specialists already working on a practice guide to support the NPPF.’

Over recent months IfA’s discussions with Government have sought to ensure that the NPPF will be sufficiently robust regarding

  • the responsibilities of developers and local authorities to the historic environment
  • appropriate protection of both designated and undesignated heritage assets proportionate to their significance
  • the terminology of heritage management (with clear definitions of terms such as significance and archaeological interest)
  • the essential nature of HERs
  • neighbourhood planning
  • securing archaeological investigations using planning conditions and obligations
  • the importance of archaeological standards and accredited expertise
  • opportunities for public participation
  • improved public and community benefits in line with the Southport Group report
  • the weight to be afforded to professional guidance

IfA will be studying the consultation draft NPPF carefully and will continue its discussions with Government and intends formally to submit an early response to the consultation. To help us IfA members are invited to send comments to tim.howard@archaeologists.net by 8 August 2011.

Institute for Archaeologists
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