RESCUE – The British Archaeological Trust views with grave concern the Chancellor’s announcement1 that developments on brownfield sites will no longer need planning permission before proceeding. RESCUE notes that the ‘brownfield site’ category is a broad and poorly-defined one which encompasses all sorts of sites, mainly within established urban areas which may include important archaeological sites spanning the whole of our history, many of which may be unknown.
The planning system2 ensures, through appropriate screening and conditions, that such sites are properly investigated prior to development and that archaeological remains are recorded before destruction. This process is one that is well understood by planning authorities and developers alike and does not significantly impede house-building or other development while ensuring an appropriate level of investigation. RESCUE believes that the planning system serves an essential social and economic purpose in ensuring that our heritage is properly safeguarded while not preventing required development. It is essential that we retain necessary and important regulation for an industry that, unregulated, would destroy our natural, built and archaeological heritage without regard for the future. We look to the Chancellor and the relevant government departments to clarify the recent statement, to clearly define the types of site that will be affected and to make it clear that development will not take place without proper consideration of the implications for our national heritage of this new, and potentially highly destructive, policy.
- As reported widely today: