The historic environment – a resource and an opportunity

Some elements of the historic environment are protected by statute (they are ‘designated’ as Listed Buildings or Scheduled Monuments, for example) and some are not, but both kinds are often described in current legislation and policy as ‘assets’. These assets are generally considered by local and national government, by experts and by society as a resource capable of producing value.

The need to understand and manage historic environment assets will present challenges and opportunities for your project – there will be a process involved (see Archaeology, planning policy and legislation below) to establish what the resource is that you are dealing with, but also the opportunity for realising some of the value that the historic environment holds.

If archaeology is to be part of your project, you need to know what you are dealing with so you can plan your project with a good knowledge of any cost or time implications.

You will need professional advice to help you

  • understand the nature and significance of the assets you are responsible for before you submit any application or start your project
  • to inform planning decisions and to avoid planning refusal, prosecution, delays and costs or community distrust
  • understand the level of legal protection afforded to assets within your project
  • decide whether to avoid damaging assets and how to use them to enhance your project
  • understand how managing archaeological assets will affect your costs and programme

Working with a professional archaeologist enables you

  • to design and develop places that fit into and enhance the cultural and social fabric of our society, without losing important resources and information that could be used in future
  • to make a contribution to human knowledge – the opportunity to produce a research dividend that is acceptable mitigation or compensation in response to approved destruction of the resource in some instances
  • to support education through the involvement of local communities, schools and through the work of universities using the results of your work
  • to develop better community relations through sharing information
  • to get beneficial publicity for your project, particularly for controversial development schemes
  • to meet corporate and commercial targets for social responsibility

Quick links