Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten evidence from the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC)

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) is the professional body of the United Kingdom representing conservation specialists and historic environment practitioners in the public and private sectors. The Institute exists to establish the highest standards of conservation practice, to support the effective protection and enhancement of the historic environment, and to promote heritage-led regeneration and access to the historic environment for all.

The core of the Draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is described as sustainable development. The NPPF covers England but sustainable development must be taken from a UK wide perspective.

In 2005 the government produced “Securing the future, delivering UK sustainable development strategy” and whilst the Government statement in England on sustainable development has been developed in 2011 through “Mainstreaming sustainable development—The Government’s vision and what this means in practice” this approach takes into account England only. The earlier document was UK wide and agreed and supported by the devolved administrations. The application of a UK wide policy cannot be considered to be superseded by the new DEFRA policy covering England. There has been substantial debate about the sustainable development credentials of the NPPF and as a result it can be considered incompatible with the five principles of sustainable development laid out in UK strategy which stated “These principles will form the basis for policy in the UK. For a policy to be sustainable, it must respect all five of these principles”.

The NPPF should be considered in the context of, and by extension supported by, contributions by the devolved governments as part of the UK wide approach to sustainable development.

September 2011

Prepared 20th December 2011