One of the main aims of the Bill is to make it more difficult for individuals to escape prosecution for criminal damage by claiming ignorance of a monument’s status or location. Such steps are desperately required since between 2006 and 2012 there was only one successful prosecution despite their being 119 recorded cases of damage to scheduled monuments.
The Bill also gives Welsh Ministers powers to take immediate action if a scheduled monument is threatened and oblige owners who have damaged monuments to undertake repairs. It also aims to help to stop historic buildings falling into disrepair by allowing local authorities to take action to halt decay and providing them with new ways of recovering the costs of any urgent works.
The CBA has been heavily involved with the creation of the Bill as a member of the External Reference Group and Historic Environment Group. It complements goals set out in the Planning Bill and the Well-being of Future Generations Act. It will also be complemented by new policy, advice and guidance that has been developed to support the legislation.
CBA Director Dr Mike Heyworth MBE said, “The CBA welcomes the introduction of this Bill and the significant measures that are proposed. Of particular significance is the plan to put Historic Environment Records on a statutory footing which is something that we have been pressing for across the UK. We are pleased to have been working with colleagues in Wales to help shape the Bill and hope that it will achieve Royal Assent in the coming year.”
More information can be found at http://gov.wales/topics/cultureandsport/historic-environment/the-historic-env-wales-bill/?lang=en