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Historic Environment Law in the UK and Ireland
I couldn't find anything in the BAJR guides or English Heritage guidance that offers an introduction to the legislation in place that deals with the historic environment in the UK and Ireland. Is there anything out there in the internet that I would be able to educate myself? Or, if someone kindly here could give me a brief rundown of the applicable law I would be grateful. I'll even make guacamole for the most helpful person!

Edit: My google-fu became righteous right after I posted. I will add a bonus question, however: How does the law affect you in your daily work?
d. archaeologists do not get rewards for their finds

when you find something worth a fortune thats when you point out that you are not an archaeologist. I have ample evidence on bajr record that I am not one.
Reason: your past is my past
We don't really have a historic environment law as such. I think the first question is by historic envirionment, do you simply mean archaeology or are you interested in protected historic buildings (listed buildings) as well?

I will name drop as many policies and legislation as I can, allowing you to google the policies you need from the web, if any of the other Bajr users spot a mistake please feel free to correct it.

I don't know anything about Ireland I am afraid, and some of these policies only apply to England.

All legislation in England is national, passed by Parliament in Westminister. Scotland and Wales have their own federal style parliaments.

Specific legislation for archaeology is limited I can only think of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, although I think some medieval Treasure Trove Acts can be applied to metal detector finds.

The 1979 Act covers Scheduled Ancient Monuments (Protected Archaeological Monuments) and Archaeological Areas (covering urban archaeology in certain historic cities). The Archaeological Areas proved ineffective and although they still exist have been largely replaced by PPG16/PPS5.

Listed historic buildings are protected under the terms of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act) 1990. Conservation Areas, districts protected for their group value, fall mostly under the remit of planners.

English Heritage has been working for many years to replace these laws with a simplified unified consent regime under which both scheduled monuments and listed buildings would be protected as Heritage Assets, with the legislation being extended to protect Historic Parks and Gardens, Battlefields and Shipwrecks(?). These proposals were outlined in the 2007 Heritage White Paper and the 2008 Heritage Bill. Unfortunately the 2008 credit crunch, meant that Parliament was too busy saving the economy to discuss heritage and the bill was dropped before a law could be passed.

Planning Policy

Although the above mentioned laws are important, most of the archaeological work in England takes place under the terms of planning policy not legislation. Planning policy statements are published by central government and are 'material considerations', taken into account by local authorities when considering planning applications.

Up until March 2010 the Historic Envirionment was covered by two seperate policies;

PPG15 (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) and

PPG16 (Archaeology)

Although these policies no longer apply, I am attaching this link to PPG16, partly because it was so important to archaeology, but also because it is a really clearly written easily understandable document. PPG16 appears to be disappearing from the internet; this copy on the MoLAS website is the only copy I could find, so it may soon disapear into the ether.

In March 2010 PPG's 15 and 16 were replaced by PPS5: Planning and the Historic Environment, covering listed buildings, conservation areas, registered historic parks and gardens, designated battlefields and I think shipwrecks. I mention these by name because the committee who wrote it refer to 'heritage assets', but from memory do not explain what this encompasses. PPS5 cannot be read on its own, English Heritage's accompanying Practice Guide needs to be read with it.

PPS5 also refers to the 'Government's Statement on the Historic Environment for England 2010' although I don't know much about this.

The Government has recently changed and it is possible that some of these policies could be altered or amended.

I hope this helps
PPS5 does define what heritage assets are, they're in a helpful glossary at the back. Although the vocabulary is a bit new and unfamiliar. The reason that there's a Policy statement (PPS5) and a separate practice guide is simply because that's the way all planning policy in England is set out now. Policy and practice are separated out. The practice guide is exactly that a guide to how you may implement the policies in PPS5. It's not how you must implement them. The really key bit in PPS5 is the set of objcetives early on in the document. These are the tests that practice should meet. In some ways PPS5 is a better document than PPG16, largely because it has taken on board a lot of the criticisms that a 20 year old document will attract over the years, as such it is essentially a revision of PPGs 15 and 16 with some extra useful bits added. However, only time will tell as both documents bed in. So it's a bit early to judge it's success or failure. A lot of the principles in PPS5 reflect some of the content of the stillborn Heritage Bill (already referred to) - which is also worth tracking down, and may yet be resurrected.

Other relevant things worth a look are the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations which encompass 'Archaeology and Cultural Heritage' and generally relate to bigger developments . The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 should also not be overlooked as a bit of heritage law, although I would personally question their effectiveness . The bit of PPG16 at the back that dealt with Scheduled Monuments has also been replaced by a separate policy document

Finally that all important PPS5 link:

The EH conservation principles are also worth a look as they form the basis of a lot of PPS5 newspeak:

Oh and the long awaited draft guidance on setting of Heritage Assets:

Happy reading!!
Oh and also try Hunter & Ralston 'Archaeological Resource Management in the UK', a bit out of date (understandably!) but a good overview. Smile
Protection of wrecks act (does what it says on the tin) and Marine and coastal access bill (allows heritage to be used as a reason for designating marine conservation zones)

And look up GAEC and single payments which are to do with what farmers have to do in order to get subsidies - there are some requirements to protect archaeology in there.

p.s. nice one whoever mentioned hedgerows - everyone forgets that one!
one girl went to dig, went to dig a meadow...
ex-archaeologist Wrote:I think some medieval Treasure Trove Acts can be applied to metal detector finds.

I think you mean the Treasure Act 1996, which repealed the previous Treasure Trove provisions.
D. Vader
Senior Consultant

Vader Maull & Palpatine
Archaeological Consultants

A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of Tony Robinson.

There you go... I knew it was somewhere Smile

Legislation in the Uk and Ireland.

Of course .. things change all the time... currently there is a new Scottish Bill going through just now... (in consultation just now) anyway...

Click the link and choose legislation you will get access to these (please let me know if I should add OR any link is broken)


Historic Scotland
Planning Advice Note PAN 42 (or pdf version)
Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997
Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006
Rural Stewardship Scheme (section 5)
Scottish Planning Policy SPP
Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP)
PAN 58 - Environmental Impact Assessment
Scotland's Listed Buildings A Guide for Owners and Occupiers
Historic Scotland Free Publications Online
Treasure Trove Panel Scotland
General Finds Reporting Form or Archaeological Assemblages
Marine (Scotland) Bill


English Heritage
National Heritage Act 2002
Guidelines on The Treatment of Christian Burials in Archaeological Projects
Conservation principles, policies and guidance for the sustainable management of the historic environment
Valletta Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage
Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990
Planning Policy Statement 5
Planning Policy Statement 5 Guidance for use
Managing local authority heritage assets
Building Regulations and Historic Buildings - energy efficiency
English Heritage Free Publications Online
Treasure Act 1996 Code of Practice (Revised) England and Wales
Planning for Archaeology and the Historic Environment
Environmental Stewardship (main site)
Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Wales (legislation specific to Wales)

'Planning Policy Wales' (March 2002)
Complete List of Technical Advice Notes
Maritime and Intertidal Archaeology
Strategic Environmental Assessment: Consultation Bodies' Services and Standards for Responsible Authorities in Wales
Welsh Office Circular 1/98
Welsh Office Circular 60/96
Welsh Office Circular 61/96
Review of the System of Ecclesiastical Exemption in Wales

Northern Ireland

Environment and Heritage Service
Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage
Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects
Licenced Archaeologist : Application to Excavate
Article 42 of the Planning (NI) Order 1991
Don't forget the Republic of Ireland. There, you'll need the National Monuments Act 1930 (currently under review), and it's various amendments, particularly 2004 (introducing Ministerial Directions rather than licencing for archaeology associated with approved national road schemes). Then there's the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 which deals with the ownership and export of archaeological objects, and the Planning and Development Act 2000 which covers development affecting Protected Structures.
D. Vader
Senior Consultant

Vader Maull & Palpatine
Archaeological Consultants

A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of Tony Robinson.
Thank you, everyone, for your replies! Sorry BAJR I didn't look hard enough on Looks like I have quite a bit of leisure reading cut out for me.

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