Planning Portal

PPS 6: Planning, Archaeology and The Built Heritage
Archaeological Sites and Monuments: Policy BH 1

Policy BH 1 The Preservation of Archaeological Remains of Regional Importance and their Settings
The Department will operate a presumption in favour of the physical preservation in situ of archaeological remains of regional importance and their settings. These comprise monuments in State Care, scheduled monuments and other important sites and monuments which would merit scheduling. Development which would adversely affect such sites of regional importance or the integrity of their settings will not be permitted unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Justification and Amplification

3.5 State Care and scheduled monuments together represent those archaeological sites and monuments which are of greatest importance within Northern Ireland. It is particularly important that they are preserved in situ and within an appropriate setting. Accordingly the Department will operate a presumption against proposals which would damage or destroy such remains, or which would have an adverse impact on their setting. While the Department will take into account all material considerations in assessing development proposals affecting sites of regional importance, exceptions to this policy are likely only to apply to proposals of overriding importance in the Northern Ireland context.
3.6 Monuments in State Care are protected and managed as a public asset by the Department’s Environment and Heritage Service on behalf of present and future generations. They represent that part of the rich archaeological and historic heritage of Northern Ireland which is presented for public access, education and enjoyment. In assessing proposals for development in the vicinity of these monuments the Department will pay particular attention to the impact of the proposal on:-
  • the critical views of, and from the site or monument;
  • the access and public approaches to the site or monument; and
  • the understanding and enjoyment of the site or monument by visitors.
3.7 There are some 1,350 scheduled monuments in Northern Ireland. Once a site or monument has been scheduled it benefits from statutory protection and scheduled monument consent is required from the Department for any works affecting it (see Annex B). Accordingly where applications for planning permission are submitted which involve works affecting a scheduled monument the Department would encourage the submission of an application for scheduled monument consent in order that these may be considered concurrently.
3.8 Not all important archaeological remains meriting preservation are yet scheduled. The programme of scheduling is on-going and every effort is made to include a balanced sample of site types throughout Northern Ireland based on the criteria set out in Annex B. Accordingly in assessing development proposals affecting sites which would merit scheduling the Department will proceed as for State Care and scheduled monuments and only permit development in exceptional circumstances.
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