The Government recently announced an intention to adopt so-called conservation covenants; a system somewhat analogous to listing for the natural environment. The Club contributed to the public consultation on the subject, as we know this is an issue that many of our members might be affected by.
Our overall impression of the proposed measures is rather lukewarm. We are pleased to see a more flexible system than listing being proposed, but we are wary about provisions that would keep an agreement in place indefinitely, even after purchase or the owners death. Especially as the covenants would be private, individual contracts between land owners and local councils there doesn’t seem to be an immediate way to handle disputes other than costly court battles. On the whole we doubt that many land owners would use the new system, and those who do already protect their land voluntarily.
However, we are watching the situation closely, both looking for lessons that could be positive for the listing system, and to offer our expertise on the listing system to benefit the new covenant system.
Our campaign for owners is entirely supported by our members. To show your support, you can join the club.
For a full roundup of the political developments see the latest issue of the Club’s magazine, Listed Heritage.