FAME (The Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers) has given a cautious welcome to new government guidance on conserving the heritage.

Planning for the Historic Environment1 sets out the way in which heritage assets,  such as historic buildings, monuments, sites and landscapes, will be conserved and managed in the future. It advises planners and developers to assess the significance of these assets and their settings before shaping policy, or formulating or determining planning proposals. It also stresses the need to balance the interests of conservation and economic development, and provides guidance on the recording of heritage assets where change or loss is unavoidable. A Practice Guide gives more detailed advice.

FAME Chief Executive Adrian Tindall said “We welcome the new guidance on planning for the historic environment. Existing guidance has been in use for two decades, and new government guidance is long overdue. We are pleased to see the historic environment placed firmly back in the planning mainstream, and to see its contribution to sustainable development and local distinctiveness acknowledged.

“However, we do have some concerns about its implementation. The new guidance will only succeed if the appropriate skills are developed and retained, both within local government and amongst commercial contractors. Our quarterly job losses survey with the Institute for Archaeologists has shown the impact of the economic downturn on our sector. We look forward to working with other heritage organisations in trying to retain and develop skills within our profession.“We are also concerned about the variable standard of contract archaeology being carried out in different parts of the UK, and are keen to see a universally-accepted level of accreditation for contract work, to ensure that implementation of the new PPS is carried out to the highest professional standards”.

FAME Chairman Roland Smith added “We welcome the requirement for developers to publish the results of investigations, to encourage greater public engagement and to deposit the archives with local museums, but remain concerned about the crisis resulting from the growing volume of archaeological material currently held by FAME members, with no museum willing or able to accept it.

“The world of contract archaeology has changed significantly over the two decades since the last government guidance was issued, and we feel that the time is right for a thorough review of how cost-effectively – or otherwise – the archaeological marketplace in the UK now operates”.

Editors note

The Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers represents 70 archaeological employers in the UK, who together employ around 30% of the archaeological workforce. For further information, contact

Adrian Tindall, Chief Executive
T: 01284 767681
M: 07715 050318
E: info@planforthepast.co.uk

Roland Smith, Chairman
T: 01722 326867
M: 07775 501925
E: r.smith@wessexarch.co.uk

1Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2010)