Cultural Heritage Environmental Statement
What is a Cultural Heritage Environmental Statement?
A Cultural Heritage Environmental Statement (ES), involves a phased approach to assessing the heritage and archaeology constraints of a site. It forms an important part of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is required for more complex or very large schemes of work (such as large road schemes, new train lines, airports, wind and solar farms, or nuclear plants). Such schemes are recognised as having the potential to create substantial change and impact the wider area in which the proposed works are located.
Through discussion and negotiation with the Local Planning Authority and National Heritage Agencies), a clear plan for assessing the potential change to the Historic Environment will be developed. This begins with early site identification and screening works (through provision of such products as Initial Site Heritage Appraisals) and works through scoping (whereby the limits and scope of the assessment is determined). This progresses to an agreed: baseline study (against which potential changes and impacts will be measured), the provision of further works (where required) and onto a cultural heritage impact assessment and the establishment of mitigation measures.
What does a Cultural Heritage ES include?
Production of a Cultural Heritage ES can involve undertaking various tasks (such as Heritage Statements, Archaeology Desk Based Assessment, Historic Building Recording Surveys, Geophysical Surveys, and Programmes of Archaeological Work), to create an understanding of the baseline environment in which the proposed works are located. These works allow the heritage consultant to identify and best manage the potential impact of a scheme on the historic environment.
Following on from developing a clear understanding of the existing baseline of the site and wider area, a thorough and detailed Heritage Impact Assessment will be undertaken, including an assessment of cumulative impact (where other major infrastructure change is proposed within a certain zone). This will result in the creation of a mitigation strategy to minimise, avoid or manage impacts of a scheme upon the heritage and archaeology resource.
It is through this careful, planned and phased approach that AB Heritage can effectively help our clients reduce the magnitude of adverse impacts associated with development at the outset, avoiding the need for complex and costly redesign works late in the project lifecycle.
When is a Cultural Heritage Environmental Statement needed?
Statements are legally required during planning works for certain major infrastructure projects, and form an important part of the wider Environmental Impact Assessment works undertaken for such schemes.
AB Heritage are experts in the production of Cultural Heritage ES, having been involved in many EIA notifiable schemes, where we bring our expertise to the table, using clear, accurate and quantifiable criteria to assess potential impacts on the significance and importance of heritage assets. Our experience and pragmatic approach working with clients allows us to provide invaluable early understanding of what is required, helping us achieve the best possible outcome on our client’s behalf and for development to progress in the most economically and environmentally viable way.
“I was very impressed by AB Heritage’s work. As an EIA coordinator and editor they made my job a lot easier”
Gian Ellis, Environmental Consultant, Awcock Ward Partnership