World Heritage UK responds to draft National Planning Framework

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WORLD HERITAGE UK’S RESPONSE TO DRAFT REVISED NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR ENGLAND

 

cityscape St Pauls and The Shard

The Government’s planning policies for England are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The Government has recently announced its intention to revise the Framework and has consulted on a draft revision.  World Heritage UK (WH:UK) responded to the consultation.

As a State Party to the World Heritage Convention, the United Kingdom is required to protect, preserve, present and transmit to future generations its World Heritage Sites.  It does this primarily through its planning systems. In the last 18 months, WH:UK has been working to suggest how the UK’s planning systems could be improved further to meet these responsibilities.   It based its response to the Draft Revised National Planning Policy Framework largely on this work.

In its response, WH:UK pointed out that England’s World Heritage Sites include a wide range of historic monuments and past industry, landscapes, townscapes, and natural and ecological features.  Therefore they will be affected by many of the policies in the NPPF. They cannot be treated as a single homogenous entity.

The full text of WH:UK’s response can be found under Correspondence and Consultations on its website Response to draft NPPF May 18 – resubmission final.

The key points in WH:UK’s response are:

  • Recognition.  WH:UK welcomes the recognition given to the protection of World Heritage Sites in various places in the Draft Revised NPPF.  It urges that, in due course, such protection should be enshrined in primary legislation.
  • Development Plans. WHUK strongly disagrees with the proposed changes to the nature of the “development plan”.   The Draft Revised NPPF states that, while local planning authorities will be obliged to produce a plan that addresses the strategic priorities for their area, there would be no obligation on them to produce more detailed policies in a Local Plan.   However Local Plans contain the very policies that currently protect, preserve and help present World Heritage Sites. They cover issues such as good design, the type of development that is or is not acceptable at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites, the protection of Sites’ settings and/ro buffer zones and the promotion of conservation.   It cannot be assumed that local authorities will voluntarily produce local plans. If they do not, this would severely weaken the effectiveness of the planning system in helping to deliver the State Party’s obligations on World Heritage Sites.
  • Pre-application engagement. WH:UK welcomes the continuing support for pre-application engagement.  It has encouraged its members to be more actively involved in decision-making processes and recognises the value of early dialogue.
  • Economic value of World Heritage Sites. WH:UK suggested that the NPPF should recognise the economic value of World Heritage Sites both locally and nationally.
  • Good design. WH:UK strongly supports the encouragement of good design.  It does not agree that it would be acceptable for increased densities to overrule local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting.  Such an approach could threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of a World Heritage Site or its setting and/or buffer zone, all as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.
  • Green Belt. Similarly, while WH:UK understands the need to make best use of urban land and to protect the Green Belt, it is important to appreciate that this policy approach can threaten the Outstanding Universal Value and/or setting/buffer zone of some World Heritage Sites by increasing development pressures within urban areas.    This is a question of priorities, which the Revised Draft NPPF does not resolve. Instead it states that development in Green Belts may be approved in “very special circumstances” while “Substantial harm or loss of …World Heritage Sites should be wholly exceptional.” WH:UK believes that, given their worldwide importance, World Heritage Sites should take precedence over Green Belts, and therefore there may be circumstances where it would be appropriate to review Green Belt boundaries to relieve development pressures at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites.
  • Natural World Heritage Sites.  WH:UK is seriously disappointed that the chapter on conserving and enhancing the natural environment does not recognise or set out policies for England’s natural World Heritage Site (the Dorset and East Devon Coast) or any such sites that may be inscribed in the future. The existence of such sites is recognised only in a footnote in the chapter on conserving and enhancing the historic environment, and then no indication is given as to whether the policies applicable to World Heritage Sites in that chapter apply to natural sites.  Nevertheless, WH:UK warmly welcomes the new reference in the first paragraph of that chapter to World Heritage Sites, which provides a clear signal in respect of the Sites’ importance.
  • Heritage Impact Assessments. WH:UK  strongly encourages the use of Heritage Impact Assessments to help local planning authorities determine development proposals, and considers these should be mentioned in the NPPF.
  • Development within World Heritage Sites. WH:UK supports of the proposed retention of the requirement on local authorities to “look for opportunities for new development within World Heritage Sites…to enhance or better reveal their significance;” while recognizing that not all elements of a World Heritage Site will necessarily contribute to its significance.
  • Minerals development. World Heritage UK welcomes the continued protection of World Heritage Sites through the provision of landbanks of non-energy minerals from outside these areas as far as is practical.  However that protection should also be applied to areas that form part of the setting and /or the buffer zone of Sites, as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.  Also the text addressing the issues on oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction is very weak in relation to heritage issues. In this respect, WH:UK advocates a similar approach as for non-energy minerals.

Author credit: Donald Gobbett, World Heritage UK Board Member

UK Government Heritage Statement on Heritage Day

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Announced at a Heritage Day event organised by Heritage Alliance on the 5th December, you can read the Minister’s speech here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/john-glens-speech-launching-the-heritage-statement

The Heritage Statement is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-heritage-statement-2017

See pages 25 and 26 for references to World Heritage Sites. Measures in the statement include launching a new Heritage Council, chaired by the Minister, to emphasise the value of the historic environment, build consensus and ensure greater coordination.

Edinburgh Management Plan consultation now open

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Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

Consultation is now open for feedback on the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site Management Plan (2017-2022).

During the summer last year, over 1000 people took part in a consultation and gave us their views on how they felt the World Heritage Site is being run. What people told us has shaped the draft Management Plan. The draft Plan sets out a number of actions which will be taken forward by the management partners (City of Edinburgh Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage).

The consultation will run until 5 June 2017. Please take a moment to share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions using our online survey. You can also download the survey and send comments to worldheritage@edinburgh.gov.uk

Thank you very much for your help,

Chloe

Chloe Porter |Planning Officer| Planning Initiatives|Planning and Transport|Place|

The City of Edinburgh Council |Waverley Court, Level G3, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG| Tel 0131 529 6235 | chloe.porter@edinburgh.gov.uk | http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk

World Heritage in Edinburgh

Towards an Outline Research Strategy for World Heritage UK

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We have been lucky enough to get some pro-bono input from staff at Liverpool University to help put together an outline Research Strategy for World Heritage UK.  Any organisation that has advocacy as one of its aims needs to base its assertions on good evidence, moreover, high quality research can help us manage our Sites better.

Not only is systematic data from across the whole World Heritage sector in the UK lacking, but there has been no attempt to get a clear idea of what the Sites need in order to improve that way they work in areas like management planning, formal education or responding to planning applications.

The work that  Carol Ludwig and (WH:UK Trustee) Ian Wray has done has resulted in a succinct ‘starter for 10’ document using the data from several consultations of Sites and other industry organisations.  It sets out a rationale, an approach and then 10 priority themes with some potential questions identified within them.  The document is available for download here, and we welcome further feedback via chris.mahon@worldheritageuk.org.

Best wishes

All at World Heritage UK

Management Plan Review for Edinburgh WHS

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Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

It’s time to review the Management Plan for the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. 

This is your chance to get involved… https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/edinburgh-oldandnewtowns-managementplan-review 

over 170 responses so far and here’s what people think:  https://planningedinburgh.com/2016/07/05/old-and-new-towns-of-edinburgh-world-heritage-site/

More information at: https://planningedinburgh.com/category/world-heritage/

Contact: worldheritage@edinburgh.gov.uk

New website for Pontycysyllte WHS

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Pontcysyllte- Steve p2008Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site has a brand new website www.pontcysyllte-aqueduct.co.uk

They would love you to take a look and let them know what you think!

 Do contact Ceri Postle, the World Heritage Site Community Development Officer

Description: Description: Description: http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/assets/png/logo_circle.pngDescription: Description: Description: cid:image001.png@01D12868.DFDFC8F0  01978 315413/07753771809

Description: Description: Description: http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/assets/png/address.png   Adran Tai a’r Economi, Ffordd Ruthun, Wrecsam LL13 7TU

Description: Description: Description: http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/assets/png/address.png   Housing and Economy Department, Ruthin Road, Wrexham  LL13 7TU

Description: Description: Description: http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/assets/png/web.png   wrecsam.gov.uk | wrexham.gov.uk

Description: Description: Description: http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/assets/png/twitter.png   twitter.com/cbswrecsam | twitter.com/wrexhamcbc

Description: Description: Description: http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/assets/png/facebook.png  facebook.com/cyngorwrecsam | facebook.com/wrexhamcouncil

1. NEW ontcysyllte2015

World Heritage Education

Education, Publications, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Education

This is a Call For Papers for contributions to a new, open access, postgraduate/ graduate journal called furnace that is edited by young scholars in the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) at the University of Birmingham. furnace hopes to be a facilitator for sparking debates and discussions surrounding the expanding and diversifying disciplinary field of cultural heritage.

Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention states that each State Party has ‘the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage’ (UNESCO 1972); it is through Outreach and Education that this ‘transmission’ is undertaken.

 Article 27 enshrines the Educational duties of WHSs, as it states that ‘the States Parties to this Convention shall endeavour by all appropriate means, and in particular by educational and information programmes, to strengthen appreciation and respect by their peoples of the cultural and natural heritage’ (UNESCO 1972).

 It is important to remind WHSs and stakeholders, that Education and Outreach is a duty and obligation. This is a timely reminder as many World Heritage Sites are undergoing a period of change through restructuring and the rewriting of their Management Plans.

 World Heritage Education can occur through formal learning programmes at site level, nationally through state parties and globally. World Heritage Education however remains under researched. This is a symptom of heritage education in general which remains under researched in comparison to that of museum education.

 Therefore we are seeking submissions with a focus on either of the following research questions:

  • What is World Heritage Education?
  • How can the concept of Outstanding Universal Value be communicated to young audiences?
  • What is the relationship between heritage education, museum education and World Heritage Education?
  • How can educational visits to World Heritage Sites enhance learning?
  • How are World Heritage Sites learning resources for classroom based learning?
  • What are the challenges in World Heritage Sites developing learning programmes?

The theme of the 4th issue of the IIICH Postgraduate journal furnace is World Heritage Education.

 Full papers are required by Friday June 10th 2016. They should be sent to: furnace@contacts.bham.ac.uk . Decisions will be made quickly by the editorial board. Those accepted will be reviewed and corrected for publication launch on Friday September 30th 2016.

See the webpage for further information on submissions. https://furnacejournal.wordpress.com/

 For further information or any questions, please contact us via the email above or tweet at @furnacejournal

World Heritage in Europe Today

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World Heritage in Europe

World Heritage attracts and fascinates: media around the world publish thousands of articles about it every year and countries invest a great deal of work and money to get sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Yet not enough is known about the conservation and management efforts that go into protecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the 1000+ sites that are currently on the List.

World Heritage in Europe Today, a UNESCO publication released on 18 February 2016, brings together insights from States Parties, site managers and other stakeholders involved in the protection, conservation and management of World Heritage properties in the region. It gives an in-depth look at the current trends and practices while presenting a clear vision for future priorities. Drawing on the wealth of data that has emerged from the recently-completed Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, the publication features engaging graphics, analyses and case studies that highlight the experience of the thousands of people who are directly involved with the management and conservation of World Heritage in Europe – a region which accounts for close to half of the properties on the World Heritage List.

The Publication highlights the current realities of World Heritage in Europe, proposes recommendations for improvement and inspires innovative approaches for World Heritage in the 21st century.

Hard copies are available now at the UNESCO online book store, as well as pdfs for free download at the following address: whc.unesco.org/en/eur-na