Thursday, 2 July 2009

UK Heritage Bill a Non-Starter again

It is reported on the CBA's website that the Heritage Protection Bill for England and Wales does not appear in the UK's Draft Legislative Programme for 2009/10 announced by the Government this week. This means that there is little hope of the legislative reforms promised by the 2007 White Paper promised will now occur. The proposed legislation envisaged placing the historic environment at the heart of the planning system. As Mike Heyworth, CBA’s Director said: "Our historic environment fundamentally shapes the quality of our surroundings and is integral to policies for sustainability. It must be at the heart of new policies for the way places are designed and planned, not side-lined as a low priority".
The Bill aimed to simplify and strengthen existing legislation and introduce opportunities for people to be more involved in protecting and enhancing their local heritage. It also paved the way for the signing and ratification of the Hague Convention, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Without the Bill, the UK will soon be the only international power not to have signed the convention.

As the CBA points out, the lack of Government commitment to these reforms is deplorable.

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