Planning Portal

PPS 6: Planning, Archaeology and The Built Heritage
Planning and Conservation: Sustainable Development and Environmental Stewardship

1.3 Sustainable development is at the heart of all Government policy and is one of the key themes underlying the Department’s approach to planning2 . In the pursuit of sustainable development it is recognised that our archaeological and built heritage is a finite resource which requires effective stewardship so that it may be enjoyed today and passed on in good order to inform future generations. This was acknowledged in “Shaping Our Future”, the recently published Draft Regional Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland3 which contains the following Strategic Planning Guideline:
“to cherish, protect and present to the world the Region’s rich inheritance of fine monuments, buildings and other heritage resources and ensure a sustainable approach to their use.”
1.4 The function of the planning system is to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest. It has to take account of the Government’s objective of promoting sustainable economic growth, and make provision for development to meet the needs of the community. Planning is also a key instrument for protecting and enhancing our environment and preserving our archaeological and built heritage.
1.5 While our landscape and townscape will continue to change in response to the needs of society, the planning system aims to resolve any conflict between conservation and development to secure mutual benefit as well as to prevent development that is detrimental to our heritage. Avoiding the neglect and loss of built fabric and promoting the efficient use and reuse of land and buildings are two ways in which the planning system can contribute towards sustainable economic development. The aim of stewardship of our archaeological and built heritage is not therefore to halt change, rather to manage it positively in ways which allow us as a society to weigh up and regularly re-evaluate what we regard as important.
1.6 The Department has the responsibility for identifying, recording and protecting our archaeological and built heritage through scheduling historic monuments, listing buildings of special architectural or historic interest and designating other sites and areas of heritage significance. Consistent with the objectives of each designation, the Department through its planning functions, administered by Planning Service, will seek to ensure that features of the archaeological and built heritage are appropriately protected from unnecessary damage and destruction. Consultation procedures related to the development plan and development control processes will ensure that decisions affecting our heritage are brought into the public domain.
1.7 The Department’s commitment to environmental stewardship of our archaeological and built heritage will also be reflected in the actions of its other executive agencies, including Roads Service (see Annex A) and Water Service. This will relate not only to decisions on the need for and siting of new roads or pipelines, but also the more detailed aspects of their responsibilities, such as the quality of street surfaces, signage and lighting. Through the Environment and Heritage Service the Department can call on specialist conservation advice to inform its decision-making and to assist owners and other members of the public.
1.8 The responsibility for stewardship of the archaeological and built heritage is not solely the preserve of the Department of the Environment. It is shared by everyone - other government departments and agencies, district councils, business, voluntary bodies, churches, and by individual citizens as owners, users and visitors of historic monuments and buildings. This shared responsibility to the archaeological and built heritage goes beyond simply preventing its destruction, essential though that is. It involves actively caring for it, maintaining it in good physical condition and keeping the past available for the enjoyment and understanding of present and future generations.
1.9 Public support and understanding is crucial for the protection and conservation of our archaeological and built heritage, and it is key to the Department’s policies that there should be adequate processes of consultation and education to facilitate this.
2 Planning Policy Statement 1 “General Principles”, March 1998, DOE.
3 Shaping Our Future: Towards a Strategy for the Development of the Region, Draft Regional Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland, December 1998, DOE.
Previous Next
Get Adobe Reader software (link opens in a new browser window)