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RESCUETheBritishArchaeologicalTrust

15ABullPlain
Hertford
SG141DX
EMail:rescue@rescuearchaeology.freeserve.co.uk
Dear
IamwritingtoyouonbehalfofRESCUETheBritishArchaeologicalTrustto
enquireaboutthoseaspectsofyourmanifestofortheforthcomingGeneralElectionwhich
bearuponarchaeologyandournationalheritage.
RESCUEisanentirelyindependentandnonpoliticalorganisationwhichworksto
communicateandinformtheprofessionandthewiderpublicaboutissuespertainingto
archaeologyandthehistoricenvironment.Wemaintainawebsite(www.rescue
archaeology.org.uk)throughwhichwecommunicatewithourmembersandsupporters
andbymeansofwhichweengageindialogueconcerningaspectsofarchaeologyinthe
UK.IntheweeksleadinguptotheGeneralElectionwehopetofeaturetheviewsofthe
principalpoliticalpartiesastheyrelatetoarchaeology,museumsandheritagebothonthe
websiteandonourFacebookpage.
Asyouwillbeaware,heritagetourismcontributesasubstantialsumtotheBritish
economyandtheheritageindustry,broadlydefined,employsthousandsofpeopleacross
Britain,includingmanyinsomeofthemostdeprivedareasofthecountry.Inaddition,
archaeologyandlocalhistoryareextremelypopularnonvocationalactivitiesforpeopleof
allagesandbackgroundsandalsomakeamajorcontributiontotheeducationofchildren
andyoungpeople.InviewofthisRESCUEfeelsthatvotersoughttobeinformedofthe
policiespromotedbythevariouspoliticalpartieswhichmighthaveanimpactonour
archaeologyandheritage.Asacharitywithaneducationalremit,wefeelthatitis
importantthatwefacilitatediscussionanddebatearoundarchaeologicalandheritage
issues,particularlyaslocalandnationalgovernmentpolicyhasasignificantimpacton
theseimportantaspectsofourcultureandsociety.Ourmemberswouldbeinterestedto
knowwhetheryourPartyisintendingtoincludeanyspecificallyheritagerelated
commitmentsinyourmanifestofortheforthcomingelectionandifso,ifyouwouldbe
willingtoprovideuswithanindicationofwhatthesemightbe.
Morespecifically,ourmemberswouldliketoknowwhereyourpartystandsonthe
followingissues:
HistoricEnvironmentRecordsandheritageplanningadvisoryservices:Doesyourparty
supportRESCUE'sviewthatthemaintenanceandproperfundingofacomprehensive
HistoricEnvironmentRecordshouldbeastatutoryresponsibilityonlocalauthoritiesand
thatallLocalPlanningAuthoritiesmusteithermaintainorhaveaccesstoproperly
qualified,whollyindependentprofessionalhistoricenvironmentplanningadvisors,

includingconservationofficers?Ifnot,howdoyouproposethattheprovisionsofthe
NationalPlanningPolicyFrameworkastheyrelatetoournationalheritage(section12)be
properlyimplemented?
Planningpolicy:Areyouintendingtorelaxthecurrentplanningregimeandifso,howdo
youenvisagethatyourmeasureswillaffectsensitivesitessuchasareasofancient
woodland,theGreenBelt,undesignatedarchaeologicalassetsandtheresponsibilitiesof
developersinrespectofarchaeologyandthehistoricbuiltenvironment?
ValettaConvention:AreyouawarethatBritainstandsinbreachofseveralsignificant
articlesoftheValettaConvention(specificallyallorpartofArticles2,3,4,5,7and9)?If
so,howdoyouproposetoaddresstheissueandtoensurethatwecomplywithour
internationalobligationsundertheConvention?
Localandregionalmuseums:Forthelasttwentyyears,Britain'slocalandregional
museumshavebeenincrisis.Keystaffhavebeenlostacrossthesectorandmany
museumshavebeenforcedtocloseortorestrictopeninghoursandaccesstocollections.
Currentcentralgovernmentpolicyistodisavowresponsibilityforthissituationwiththe
resultthatmanyoftheseimportantsocialandeducationalinstitutionsareundersevere
threatofclosure.Indeed,manyhavealreadyclosed.Localandregionalmuseumsarealso
thefinalrepositoriesforthearchivesgeneratedbydeveloperfundedandHLFfunded
fieldwork.Ongoingcutshavemeantthatmanyimportantarchaeologicalarchivesare
nowinadequatelycuratedandmanyhavenopermanenthome.Howdoyouintendto
addressthiscriticalsituation?
Stonehenge:Doesyourpartysupporttheshortboredtunnelasproposedbythepresent
Governmentwhich,ifimplemented,wouldcontraveneArticle4oftheWorldHeritage
Convention?Doyouhaveanyobjectiontoinvestigatingthefullrangeofoptions,
includingthelongboredtunnelasproposedbytheStonehengeAllianceandsupportedby
RESCUEandotherheritageorganisations?
EnglishHeritage:Asyouwillbeaware,EnglishHeritageisabouttobesplitintotwo
distinctorganisations.WhatcommitmentcanyougivethatHistoricEnglandwill
continuetoreceivesufficientfundingtoenabletheorganisationtoofferadequatesupport
tothearchaeologyandheritageprofessionsandtoactasaninformedandwholly
independentcommentatorongovernmentpolicyinrespectofarchaeologyandthe
historicenvironment?
Ilookforwardtoyourreply
Yourssincerely

ReubenThorpe
Chairman
RESCUETheBritishArchaeologicalTrust
Listofrecipients:
ConservativeParty:
EdVaizeyMP(c/oHouseofCommons)
EricPicklesMP(c/oHouseofCommons)
LabourParty:
Rt.Hon.HarrietHarmanMP(c/oHouseofCommons)
HilaryBennMP(c/oHouseofCommons)
LiberalDemocrats:
JohnLeachMP(c/oHouseofCommons)
AnnetteBrookMP(c/oHouseofCommons)
TheGreenParty:
MartinDobson,19CheltenhamAvenue,Liverpool,L172AR
JasonKitcat,Brighton&HoveGreenParty,TheEcoCentre,3941SurreyStreet,
Brighton,BN13PB
UnitedKingdomIndependenceParty:
TimAker(HeadofPolicy),UKIP,LexdrumHouse,KingCharlesBusinessPark,
NewtonAbbot,DevonTQ126UT
PlaidCymru:
TheScottishNationalistParty: