2009 Yearbook

r e v i e w 27 planning system was until recently confined to terrestrial land-use planning. It might be expected that the management of World Heritage Sites would be a primary task of historic environment policies in the areas where they are inscribed. While three- quarters do so, the lack of a policy basis for their management in two LPAs might be a cause for concern. Overall, most development plans confine their interest to designated historic environment elements, but there is also broad recognition for the needs of the wider landscape in the local policy framework. Summary and conclusions The main conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that there is a large degree of variation among development plan policies covering the historic environment. Despite a number of designations having a statutory provision for regulation though the planning system, there remains a small but significant percentage of local planning authorities in Scotland with inadequate policies in their local plans to govern development. The introduction of model policies in the draft SPP23: Planning and the Historic Environment was an attempt at smoothing out these variations and introducing a number of new policy areas. While it is too soon to assess the benefit or otherwise of their proposed introduction, it is clear that some LPAs treat their statutory duties with regard to the historic environment more rigorously than others. (It should also be noted here that a review of the draft SPP in early 2008 raised the issue of whether or not model policies as currently envisaged will be continued.) This said, there are very many suitable and locally-valid policies contained in development plans, and these should have a positive influence on the quality and management of the historic environment. Finally, it should be acknowledged that LPAs have prepared locally diverse additional guidance on the regulation of the historic environment though Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and other planning controls. It was outside the scope and capacity of this project to examine the breadth and depth of this SPG, but there is no question that it can be used to positively influence development affecting our heritage. Nevertheless, development plan policies should be strengthened to ensure that developers, the public and elected councillors understand their respective roles in managing the historic environment in a positive and sustainable manner. Given the statutory and national policy basis for much of our designated historic environment, there is no reason why there should be significant variance in core policies. The real value comes from additional development plan policies that seek to enhance the local elements of the heritage landscape. Terry Levinthal is director of The Scottish Civic Trust. A copy of the full report and related Tables of Historic Environment Policies can be found on the trust’s website: www.scottishcivictrust.org.uk. Note The Scottish Government is reviewing its Scottish Planning Policy series with a view to simplifying it. Approximately 19 SPPs and NPPGs are to be amalgamated into the new Part 3 of a single SPP and this includes SPP23: Planning and the Historic Environment . It is unlikely that the proposed model policies will survive the editing process, although government has indicated that it is minded to post them under a separate title to assist planning authorities in their development plan functions. Back gardens of Tweedside Road, Newtown St Boswells, Roxburghshire (Photo: Charles Strang)