The recent incumbent, John Penrose MP, was a champion for heritage within Government. He was engaged in a range of issues, including better protection for heritage at risk, a proactive approach to listing buildings and his recent appearance at the British Archaeological Awards was much appreciated.
Council for British Archaeology Director, Dr Mike Heyworth, said “We are grateful for John Penrose’s support for the heritage sector whilst in office and it is a huge disappointment that his Ministerial post has been axed. As the heritage portfolio has now been added to the brief of The Honourable Ed Vaizey MP, we urge the Government to ensure that this is clearly reflected in a new Ministerial title for the current Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries. We need a high profile champion for heritage within Government to ensure that commercial business interests do not ride rough shod over our precious historic environment, both on land and under water. As John Penrose said on many occasions, heritage and growth are not in opposition and the historic environment has a key role to play in the economic regeneration that we need across the UK.
We welcome Ed Vaizey to his expanded brief and look forward to picking up on the productive discussions we had with him in his earlier Shadow role prior to the last General Election. We would like to hear an early statement from him on the importance of the historic environment in the current economic context and hope to meet with him soon to discuss the crucial role of the planning process in England in relation to the archaeological heritage, as well as other matters, such as the long-promised review of the Treasure Act Code of Practice.”