§ Mr. Newens
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will arrange for a comprehensive review of the provisions for the preservation of listed buildings in order to identify and subsequently eliminate loopholes in these which permit the demolition of structures of architectural and historic merit without any effective penalty being imposed.
§ Mr. Crosland
I am not aware of any loopholes in the provisions for the preservation of listed buildings. Under Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 any person found guilty of having carried out unauthorised demolition of a listed building is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of up to £250 and/or three months' imprisonment or, on conviction on indictment, to an unlimited fine and up to 12 months' imprisonment.
The Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act 1972, further strengthened the provisions by enabling a prosecution notice to be effective if affixed to a building in urgent cases. I am satisfied that existing legislation provides adequate scope for effective penalties, but it must be for the court concerned in any particular case to decide the appropriate penalty.