PRT chief gives evidence to Lords committee

PRT Chief Executive Ros Kerslake has appeared at the House of Lords to talk about the importance of heritage for government policies on planning and the built environment.

This week, Ros appeared alongside Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, and Henry Russell, Chairman of The Heritage Alliance's Spatial Planning Advocacy Group, to give evidence to the House of Lords' Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment. Among the peers quizzing Ros was Baroness Kay Andrews OBE, a PRT trustee.

They were asked about whether the government's recent shake-up of planning laws in the creation of the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) placed enough weight on the importance of heritage in guiding planning decisions. 

Other areas that the committee explored included the formation of Historic England out of English Heritage earlier this year and balancing the need for heritage and conservation against the demand for growth and new development.

Ros made the point that the way the NPPF was being interpreted emphasised the importance of economic growth above other key factors in guiding planning decisions, such as cultural, social and environmental issues.

"What we don't see is heritage sitting up there as a positive driver of sustainability," she told the committee.

The House of Lords' Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment aims to look at what steps should be taken to ensure better planning and urban design, both through national government policies and local council decision-making.

The session with Ros can be viewed here.