The Queen has announced new legislation to give local authorities new powers to tackle flooding - but the proposed Heritage Protection Bill has again been left out
Unveiling his final set of plans before the next election, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has again shunned the chance to include a bill aimed at clarifying the protection of the historic built environment.
RIBA President Ruth Reed said: ‘We continue to be disappointed that the Heritage Protection Bill will not appear before parliament. The historic built environment is a valuable asset and there is a great need to reform the system to ensure we better protect and utilise this living resource in the future.’
Mike Heyworth, chair of Heritage Link’s spatial planning advocacy group agreed: ‘The draft Bill contains reforms that would add clarity and efficiency to the way the historic environment is managed and protected. Given the Planning Minister’s recent focus on PPS15 it is remarkable that the Government should miss a key opportunity to underpin planning reforms with a more coherent and effective heritage protection system.’
However legislation to manage flood and coastal erosion risk in England and Wales, which would also ‘define a hierarchy of responsibility for flooding’, have been well received.
RIBA President Reed added: ‘[We] support the new powers that local authorities will have to minimise flooding damage and seek to prevent flooding. Designing in measures to prevent flooding as well as designing buildings and spaces that adapt to flooding is a major strand of our work.
‘[However] The timing is ambitious to cover all of the bills before June but we do hope that the Flood and Water Management Bill receives Royal Assent.’
Click here to look at the background of the The Floods and Water Management Bill which is designed to implement the recommendations of Michael Pitt’s report into the 2007 floods.
Matt Thomson, acting director of Policy and Partnerships at the RTPI said: ‘We welcome the Flood Bill which proposes a clear division of executive roles and responsibilities for flood and coastal risk management between the Environment Agency and local councils. It is essential that these new arrangements are backed up with secure funding and local authority leaders and officials appropriately skilled and aware of the need to take action to respond to flood risks.
‘It’s very disappointing that yet again the Government has failed to bring forward a bill on heritage protection. Such a bill enjoys cross-party support and would have brought about much needed reform to the heritage protection system. Without this bill, we will be forced to continue with an outdated and complicated system which puts our built heritage at risk.’