Highways Agency and English Heritage publish joint guidance to assess impact of roads on historic landscapes. New measures to assess the impact of proposed road schemes on historic landscapes have been agreed by the Highways Agency with English Heritage.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Highways Agency and English Heritage publish joint guidance to assess impact of roads on historic landscapes
New measures to assess the impact of proposed road schemes on historic landscapes have been agreed by the Highways Agency with English Heritage.
The guidance gives the Agency's project managers a new way of surveying, evaluating and assessing the impact of road schemes on historic landscape. They are obliged to follow this guidance when embarking on new schemes, to ensure that they respect the historic fabric of the landscape through which the road passes.
The assessment will need to consider mitigation which may include design measures to minimise changes caused by noise, land take, visual intrusion and vibration. The road can be realigned to reduce adverse impacts. Alternatively, the design of new landscaping and planting could be considered to reduce the impact on the historic landscape.
Archie Robertson, the Highways Agency's chief executive, and Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, joined forces to launch the new initiative.
The assessment and management of historic landscape is a relatively new approach in development and spatial planning, said the chief executives in their joint preface to a new document* which provides guidance to road engineers.
The new approach is a method which has great potential for contributing to the better design, construction and operation of the trunk road network, said Mr Robertson and Dr Thurley.
Two road schemes where the new approach is already being used are the A30 Bodmin to Indian Queens improvement in Cornwall and the A3 Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey.
The approach requires road engineers to make greater effort in preparing environmental assessments for their schemes by taking account of the historic landscape character of the area, the collection of detailed information which will help to assess the magnitude of any change, and to outline steps to mitigate the impact of changes to the road on the area.
Dr Thurley said: "It is very encouraging to see that road design and construction in this country is taking the historic environment seriously. This approach will ensure that character and sensitivity become key drivers in environmental assessment and design, resulting in sympathetically located and managed highway infrastructure."
Mr Robertson said: "We are confident the new guidance will help us meet our objectives in response to cultural heritage and ensure the historic fabric of the landscape is respected."
The new guidance was developed in consultation with and support of English Heritage, the Landscape Institute, the Institute of Field Archaeologists, and the Council for British Archaeology.
Note to Editors
1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. It manages, maintains and improves England's motorways and trunk roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.
2. *The new document is headed Assessing the effect of road schemes on historic landscape character. Available from the Highways Agency tel 08457504030.
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