FAME has broadly welcomed the new National Planning Policy Framework, rx published yesterday.

FAME welcomes the objectives of the new National Planning Policy Framework in delivering sustainable development while simplifying and streamlining the planning process.

We welcome the integration of the historic environment into the overall framework for national planning, and the inclusion of the conservation of heritage assets as one of the core principles of planning. This will in our view provide greater clarity for clients and applicants, and clearer guidance to local authorities on their obligations in decision-taking affecting the historic environment.

We welcome the obligation on local planning authorities to include strategic policies in local plans to deliver conservation and enhancement of the historic environment, to require applicants to provide assessments of significance in determining applications, and to seek opportunities where possible for the enhancement and better understanding of heritage assets.

We also welcome the obligation on them to maintain or have access to an up-to-date Historic Environment Record. However, it is essential that such records are supported by the necessary specialist expertise, and we will continue to press for the maintenance of such expertise wherever it comes under threat.

We remain concerned at the overemphasis in the document on designated heritage assets, at the potential expense of those non-designated heritage assets which make up the greater part of the historic environment.

We welcome its recognition of the importance of recording and making publicly accessible archaeological information revealed by development, and look forward to working in partnership with local government to deliver these objectives in the future. We also look forward to a clearer definition of expert investigation, and recognition of the need for such investigation to be carried out by suitably-qualified archaeological organisations to nationally-agreed standards.

Responses to the NPPF have also been issued by the CBA, The Heritage Alliance, IfA and Rescue.