Historic homes and the natural environment are closely connected, and often their regulatory schemes overlap or compete with each other. While the new Environment Bill does not aim to impact listed buildings, two amendments added this month in the House of Lords will have knock on affects for owners in England.
The two amendments deal with the planning considerations around wildlife habitats and ancient woodlands. The wildlife considerations are particularly important, because listed buildings commonly become host to protected species like bats. The Bill had aimed to give ministers much greater powers to make decisions regarding habitats, and in effect to override EU habitat protections. The amendment will limit the scope of that power, and retain more of the status quo.
This is bittersweet for listed building owners. Most of us strongly support conservation efforts, but the present regime that requires expensive, time consuming surveys to prove the absence of bats or other animals are not working well. It is hoped that this amendment will give a little more flexibility that can better take into account the needs of maintaining a listed building, while still giving proper protection to wildlife.
To read the full story, see the latest issue of Listed Heritage, the Club’s 150 page bi-monthly magazine. Every issue includes a dedicated section on our lobbying efforts, as well as news, features and technical guidance from across the heritage sector.
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