Archaeological sites are protected through the planning process and district councils are committed through their Local Plans and Development Frameworks to ensuring that archaeological remains are not thoughtlessly or needlessly destroyed by development or other land-use change. Warwickshire Museum provides advice on the policy content of Strategic Plans and Development Frameworks as it relates to the Historic Environment.
The Information and Advice team provides specialist archaeological advice to local planning authorities regarding the potential impact of individual proposed developments on the archaeological resource. The archaeological sensitivity of a proposed development area is primarily assessed using information held within the HER. Where there is insufficient information to assess the degree of threat to either known, or potential, archaeology, the Local Planning Authority may require an archaeological site evaluation to be carried out prior to determination of the application. In other cases, developers may be required to undertake some archaeological work as a condition of planning consent. This work may take the form of desk-based studies, evaluations, watching briefs or full excavation, the scope of such work being established under a written brief provided by the Museum's Planning Archaeologist. This may also include provision to record buildings of historical, architectural or industrial importance.
In addition to planning casework, the Information and Advice team also provide guidance to a number of organisations such as utilities, the Forestry Commission and others whose works fall out with the mainstream planning process but still may have a significant impact on the archaeological resource. Advice is also given to the Coventry Diocese with respect to works carried out in churches and churchyards
The past year has seen significant changes to the planning process, with the introduction of new Planning guidance in March 2010. A suite of documents provide a new framework for the conservation of the historic environment as it relates to the planning system. The Government's Statement on the Historic Environment for England 2010 and Planning Policy Statement for the Historic Environment (PPS5), which replaces the earlier PPG15 and PPG 16, now provide core national policies. English Heritage has also published a Planning Practice Guide, which serves to assist in the interpretation and implementation of PPS 5 by relevant parties (http://www.britarch.ac.uk/conservation/heritagereform).