Most public intervention in the historic environment is carried out at a local level and planning authorities play a vital role in protecting England's heritage. A large part of English Heritage's efforts is focused on working in partnership with local authorities.
English Heritage has worked with the Countryside Agency, Natural England and the Environment Agency to produce guidance which will help planning authorities and regional planning bodies to prepare plans and strategies under the new planning system. The 'Environmental Quality in Spatial Planning' guidance document is supported by a series of supplementary files available as a separate PDF. These discuss the key messages and explain the action points in the guidance and/or provide more information that will assist in their delivery.
English Heritage recognises that there is relatively limited knowledge about how local authorities provide their historic environment services and it has therefore commissioned various pieces of research to help fill the gaps. Two reports, 'Heritage Resources Under Pressure' and 'Local Authority Conservation Provision' have provided important evidence. The former looked at local government resources using existing sources of data, for example the annual Planning statistics produced by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), while the latter was based on a questionnaire sent to local authority conservation officers.
Research is also being undertaken on more detailed aspects of the management of the statutory consent procedures. The report 'Local Authority Practice and PPG15' looked at the quality of applications made for listed building consent (LBC). It found that only half of all applications were made with adequate information to allow an informed decision.
Managing Local Authority Heritage Assets
'Managing Local Authority Heritage Assets' provides some guiding principles for local authority portfolio holders, corporate property officers, conservation specialists facilities managers and corporate estate architects and surveyors who deal with the care of historic assets in council ownership. The aim of the guidance is to promote and encourage appropriate standards in the management of these assets and high quality design in new work related to them, including public spaces.
English Heritage wants to improve the quality and delivery of its services to those who are involved in changing or influencing change to the historic environment. This charter explains the steps we are taking to achieve this, and our commitment to delivering advisory services for planning and development in partnership with other agencies.
Aimed at owners of historic sites, local planning authorities and the development industry, the charter covers both the statutory advice we give and our response to requests for preliminary opinion and advice. It also covers advice on policy and management issues such as conservation plans. Further information is available.
HELM: Historic Environment Local Management
English Heritage is committed to helping local authorities develop the skills, knowledge, advice and capacity to make the most of their historic environment. HELM provides accessible information, training and guidance to decision makers in local authorities, regional agencies and national organisations whose actions affect the historic environment.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
English Heritage is one of the formal Consultation Bodies that need to be contacted by Responsible Bodies preparing Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA).
'Strategic Environmental Assessment: Consultation Bodies' Services and Standards for Responsible Authorities' has been prepared in conjunction with Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Countryside Agency to set out what can be expected from Consultation Bodies.
SEA consultations should be sent to the Regional Planner in the relevant regional office, or in the case of national consultations, to the Head of National Planning and Advice, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London, EC1N 2ST.