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Hadrian’s Wall to be guarded again

The Roman Wall is to be given stronger protection against planning developments under new Government rules.

Hadrian’s Wall is one of 17 national World Heritage Sites that is to be placed on the same footing as conservation areas, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in terms of planning rules.

That means that minor changes close to the site will now have to receive specific planning permission before going ahead.

In addition, English Heritage is publishing guidance today that gives detailed advice on how to give proper consideration and protections to World Heritage Sites.

Peter Jackson, the Castle Morpeth Borough councillor for Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland, said: “Our experience over the past few years is that the planning rules are very tight anyway on anything near the wall, so people are used to it.

“The main developments that will impact on the wall are things like wind farms. Some have been proposed that are well within sight of the wall.”

Dr Christopher Young, head of World Heritage and international policy for English Heritage, said: “One of the significant threats faced by World Heritage Sites in England is the incremental damage to those that fall outside of the protection provided by conservation areas, National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“We welcome that this destructive anomaly that threatens these few vulnerable sites has now been addressed by the planning system.

“This new planning circular will offer the basic protection that should be expected for sites of such outstanding international importance.

“As important as providing planning protection for these sites is the inclusion of expert guidance on the protection and enhancement of their universal value.

“The supplementary advice provided by English Heritage is guided by our published conservation principles and will make sure that England has some of the most beautiful, historically important and competently cared-for sites in the world.” The move was also welcomed by planners at Tynedale District Council, which covers part of the land that Hadrian’s Wall runs through.

Helen Winter, director of planning, said: “We welcome this action to give further protection to English World Heritage sites including Hadrian’s Wall, which is such an important asset for Tynedale.”

Communities Minister Baroness Andrews said: “Britain has a unique heritage with many famous buildings and landmarks stretching from Stonehenge to the Royal Botanic Gardens.

“We want to ensure that our historic buildings and landmarks and our cultural treasures are preserved for current and future generations.”

Durham Cathedral and Castle, also a World Heritage Site, could also benefit from the changes.

We welcome this action to give further protection to sites including Hadrian’s Wall

by Ben Guy

The Journal

29 May 2008