2008 Yearbook

22 Y e a r b o o k 2 0 0 8 BUILDING · CONSERVATION INSTITUTE · OF · HISTORIC · the Government’s initiatives to address global warning but was disappointed at the lack of joined- up thinking demonstrated in many of the consultation processes. For example the DCLG consultation on Building a Greener Future: towards zero carbon development ended on the day the Heritage White Paper was published. This timing clearly could not allow measures to deal with different environmental issues to be coordinated, rather than counter- productive. This lack of coordination was also demonstrated by the failure of Planning and Climate Change - Supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1 and Building a Greener Future , to consider the potentially damaging historic environment impacts which could occur as a consequence of some of the ‘greening’ measures proposed. The DCLG consultation document Planning and Climate Change - Supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1 is intended to result in a reduction in damaging emissions. However, the draft document suffered from a fundamental omission by focusing on new-build development and failing to recognise the significant reductions in emissions that can be achieved through refurbishing and reusing older buildings and areas. The IHBC supported the need to tackle the problems of energy use in the existing stock but tempered this with the view that this must also have regard to the historic environment impact. The DCLG consultation on Permitted Development Rights for Householder Microgeneration raised concerns that some of the proposed new development rights for small scale renewable energy equipment would lead to an increase in ill-considered and visually damaging installations. The IHBC also responded to a similar but rather more detailed consultation on Microgeneration Permitted Development Rights by the Department of the Environment Northern Ireland. The variety of consultations on the operational practicalities of the planning system included Improving the Appeal Process in the Planning System (DCLG), Changes to Permitted Development (DCLG), Planning Fees in England (DCLG), Modernising Empty Property Relief and Planning Performance Agreements: A new way to manage large –scale major planning applications (DCLG). The consultation from DCLG on changes to Planning Fees in England sparked interesting diversity of opinion amongst the consultation panel on a key issue that was not actually part of the consultation. The paper dealt only with proposed changes to the scale of planning fees and their justification. It did not consider widening their scope to include, for example, listed building consents. The Institute’s response to the consultation dealt with the key content but also introduced the listed buildings consent issue. It reiterated our current policy of resisting the introduction of fees for listed building applications, but also accepted the potential merits of their introduction, especially in some larger urban areas. Consultations this year have not only related to proposed new legislation or changes to control-operations: one in particular was more concerned with broader conservation standards and philosophy. This was the second round of consultation from English Heritage (EH) on its Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment Consultation , which was warmly received as the document had developed considerably from the version described in the IHBC Yearbook 2007 . The conservation principles are primarily for EH internal use on its own sites and in offering advice, but it was considered that with appropriate amendment and development the principles could be developed for wider external use in the management of the historic environment. Other consultations have related to the strategic operation of government departments and related non- governmental organisations. The DCLG consultation Delivering Housing and Regeneration: Communities England and the Future of Social Housing Legislation proposed the amalgamation of the Housing Corporation with English Partnerships. It was proposed to give the new body broadly the same powers as the two constituent bodies with some enhancement for compulsory purchase and a wider community and partnership role than either body currently has. The IHBC broadly welcomed the proposal but commented critically on the lack of any specific requirements concerning the historic environment, particularly given the emphasis in the paper on place-making. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consulted for a second time on its Draft Rural Development Programme for England 2007-13. The IHBC commented in detail on the proposed initiatives for rural areas in a document which recognised the value of heritage assets to rural culture and development. Copies of all past consultation responses are available on the IHBC website (www.ihbc.org.uk/ consultations_archive.htm). The process of consultation response allows the IHBC to promote wider awareness of the benefits of the historic environment to decision- makers and opinion-formers. The Institute’s views, perspective and philosophy are fed back to government ministers and departments and other national and regional bodies. IHBC’s consultation responses are formulated by input from an e-mail panel of volunteers who try to represent the variety of views and perspectives of its eclectic multi-disciplinary membership. You are urged to consider contributing to the work of this panel to widen its views and enhance the current excellent standard of response. Fiona Newton, projects@ihbc.org.uk