§ Mr. Maclennan
To ask the Secretary of State for the Evironment if he will take steps to ensure that unscheduled archaeological sites of importance discovered in the course of site clearance following the granting of planning permission for redevelopment can be excavated and recorded prior to redevelopment.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
[pursuant to her answer 22 March 1989 c. 643]: The desirability of preserving an ancient monument and its setting is a material consideration for the determination of planning applications, whether or not that monument is scheduled. Local planning authorities may also wish to impose conditions requiring developers to allow access for archaeologists to observe work and record items of interest, when granting planning permission affecting unscheduled sites of archaeological interest.
It remains open to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, after consultation with English Heritage, to schedule monuments which he considers to be of national importance even after planning permission for redevelopment has been granted. In such cases scheduled monument consent would then be needed before either archaeological or development work could proceed. Where significant finds are made before or during the course of development, it is usually preferable to resolve the situation by non-statutory means. We commend the growing practice of voluntary agreements between developers and archaeologists to enable archaeological evaluations to be carried out before redevelopment.