Planning Bill (England) campaign

What’s happening?

The Queen’s speech announced that, as expected, there will be a new Planning Bill to deliver the reforms that were proposed last year in the Planning White Paper. There was no new information in the speech or supporting briefing. CIfA has been working hard to advocate for solutions to concerns.

Position summary

CIfA believes that the proposed changes to the planning system could be beneficial for archaeology, if changes are made which promote the role that archaeology can play in placemaking, and if provisions are put in place which enable effective archaeological evaluation at the early stages of allocation of sites for proposed ‘growth areas’, where streamlined planning consent processes will be in place. For more information, our latest briefings can be found here.

However, if government doesn’t adopt our proposals, archaeology could be substantially restricted to poorly planned, reactive activity late in the life of the development project after consent has been granted.

Government has confirmed that it does not intend to reduce or remove provisions for archaeology, and we do not expect there to be a huge impact on the amount of development-led archaeological work undertaken, although we will be monitoring for any signals to the contrary. It should also be noted that Government is still facing criticism from its own party on some of the key proposals in the White Paper and much of the big picture, let alone the detail, is still up in the air.

What are we asking for?

We are asking Government to

  • Place reference to scoping/screening for historic environment impacts on the face of the Bill & explore options for up-front archaeological processes in ‘growth areas’ which could help to better target archaeological work & deliver even greater public benefit
  • Maintain effective processes of assessment and mitigation for other development renewal and protected areas
  • Put HERs on a statutory footing as part of a process of investment in improving baseline data on the historic environment and strengthening local government advice structures