Policy Round Up: July 2022


July was a month of political chaos – a slew of resignations, including eventually the Prime Minister’s, saw Westminster plunged into a leadership race. The onset of recess has given us a much-needed breather, but there remains a deep state of uncertainty over what will happen to assorted important pieces of legislation and policies come September and the appointment of a new Prime Minister and Cabinet. On a more cheerful note, it’s also good to hear reports of a busy summer season for many properties, even if the heatwave and lack of rainfall has caused issues.

Nonetheless, we have continued to lobby to remove Clause 95 of the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill, which remains in Commons Committee stage. When Parliament returns in September we will resume our lobbying work, particularly as the Bill moves to the House of Lords.

The alarming news about rising energy bills has further heightened our arguments that there needs to be careful, targeted, sensitive deregulation in certain areas to allow historic houses to install energy efficiency measures more easily. In conjunction with the CLA, we are running a survey about our members’ experiences of heritage protection and the planning system: the results of this will be independently verified and used as evidence in our lobbying work moving forwards. We are looking forward to meeting officials from DCMS, BEIS, DLUHC and Historic England in September as part of the British Energy Security Strategy reviews of the heritage and the planning system.

Historic Houses has also commissioned Saffery Champness and Nordicity to undertake a major research project, ahead of our 50th anniversary, about the economic, cultural and social impact of historic houses in the modern world. We are very much looking forward to working with them and excited to see the results yielded.

August sees something of a lull in reactive policy work (hopefully!) but there is plenty to keep us occupied: consultations in Wales and England on council tax, historic environment legislation, tourism accommodation registration schemes and the National Lottery Heritage Fund strategy to name but a few, as well as plenty of other office work, briefings and letter writing to do ahead of what promises to be a busy September.

Sarah, Policy & Education Officer