The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has issued revised guidance on Scheduled Monuments (www.gov.uk/government/publications/scheduled-monuments-policy-statement). This policy document covers not only formally scheduled monuments but also the potentially much larger assemblage of monuments of equivalent significance (‘national importance’) that are not, or not yet, scheduled for a variety of reasons relating to limitations in the legislation, the exercise of her discretion by the Secretary of State or a lack of knowledge or understanding about the site in question. Non-scheduled sites of lesser importance are of course an important consideration in the English planning process as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
A helpful statement in the DCMS document brings some of the requirements for Scheduled Monument Consent for the purposes of archaeological investigation into closer alignment with the management of the archaeological heritage through the planning process. It states that
If consent is granted for works that could result in harm to, or loss of, the significance of a Scheduled Monument the Secretary of State is likely to impose conditions to require this to be captured and recorded in a manner proportionate to the likely harm or loss, thereby realising the monument’s potential contribution to knowledge and understanding of our past. These conditions are likely to be tailored to ensure that:
• the project design seeks to further the objectives of relevant international or national research frameworks;
• use is made of appropriately skilled teams with the resources to fully implement the project design to relevant professional standards (such as those published by the Institute for Archaeologists);
• the project design provides for the full analysis, publication and dissemination of the results, including the deposition of reports in the relevant Historic Environment Record (HER), to a set timetable; and the
• provision is made in the project design for the conservation and deposition of the site archive with a local museum or other public depository willing to receive it.
The principles guiding the responsibilities of IfA members advertising governments on the management of Scheduled Monuments can be found in the Standard and guidance for archaeological advice by historic environment services, formally adopted by the Institute at its AGM on 7 October, 2013.