§ Mr. Robathan
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement on the implementation of English Heritage's policy for the local management of the historic properties she has placed in its care. 
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
Since the launch of its forward strategy at the end of 1992, English Heritage has established agreements with partners who can bring local commitment and resources, in conjunction with English Heritage funding, towards improving the presentation and preservation of historic sites. Agreements have now been established in respect of nearly 80 of the 406 properties in English Heritage's care, with partners such as the National Trust, local authorities and local community groups. The agreements include clear safeguards for the care of the property. Given the success of its approach, I have agreed with English Heritage that it may enter into new management agreements, within agreed framework, but without in future seeking my specific approval. My Department will continue to monitor the implementation of this policy and I look forward to its successful extension to further appropriate sites.