§ Mr. Cyril D. Townsend
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage whether the effectiveness of the guidance contained in the planning policy guidance note on archaeology and planning—PPG16—which was issued in November 1990 has been reviewed.
§ Mr. Key
Yes. English Heritage was invited to review the effectiveness of PPG 16 one year after it had been published and commissioned a firm of consultants, Pagoda Projects, to undertake the work. In order to assess the impact of the PPG, consultations were carried out with developers, archaeologists working for or advising planning authorities, archaeologists working for or advising developers and other interested bodies. The report of the review was submitted at the end of January 1992 and a copy has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
I am pleased to report that the consultants' main conclusions are encouraging. They indicate that the advice given in PPG 16 has been adopted by every local planning authority in England, and that the archaeological significance of planning applications is now much more fully considered. The PPG is also starting to produce a more consistent approach to archaeology in the planning process. This, and the greater certainty for developers which results from addressing archaeological issues at an early stage, is beneficial both for developers and for the heritage. In the light of the report's findings we are satisfied that the guidance is proving valuable to all parties who may become involved with archaeology and the planning system.
However, the report indicated some matters which need to be kept under review, including ways of bringing the PPG to the attention of smaller developers. My Department and English Heritage will be following these up with the relevant bodies shortly.