As part of the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill, which is currently passing through the legislative process, the Welsh Government is proposing to institute a statutory provision requiring local planning authorities to have to access to professionally supported historic environment records. According to a recent update on the Bill’s progress:
“Wales’ historic environment records (HERs) are crucial sources of information for people who make decisions about the sustainable management of our historic environment, as well as for members of the public.”
CIfA welcomes the continued progress on the Bill and commitment to the bold move which puts Wales ahead of the rest of the UK in protecting these vital services. CIfA particularly supports the recent strength with which the Minister Ken Skates has championed the issue in ongoing discussions of the Bill. In a Senedd debate on 8 July 2015 the Minister said:
“It’s very telling, isn’t it, that some of the responses to the committee argue, in relation to HERs, that HERs are not particularly relevant to the work of local planning authorities. Of course, this is precisely the attitude that we are trying to counter by placing the duty on local planning authorities.”
CIfA continues to lobby for similar provisions to be made by the governments in England and Scotland and maintains that a statutory provision is the best way to underline the importance of HERs and the specialist staff who maintain and interpret them. The staunch support of the Welsh government in the ongoing legislative process.