Policy Round Up: June 2022
Turbulent political times, combined with the start of our regional AGMs, have been giving us plenty to stay occupied with in June. Boris Johnson winning his no-confidence vote by a margin that perhaps raises more questions than answers means that the political volatility in government remains very much the order of the day, as the by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton have further emphasized.
The Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill has begun to be scrutinized in committee stage, and we have lobbied hard to get Clause 95 – which takes away private owners’ right to compensation if they are incorrectly served with a Building Preservation Notice (BPN) – removed from the bill. Our particular thanks must go to those who have written to their MP on the topic: your efforts have been noted by policy-makers and officials and have helped secure us some helpful meetings. We continue to work with colleagues more widely on issues like EPCs, issues facing listed building owners when installing energy efficiency measures, and retrofit, as well as making the case for the importance of heritage in mental wellbeing in a recent government consultation.
We have enjoyed the first round of regional AGMs, including those in Scotland and Wales: visiting Historic Houses members and seeing what’s going on on the ground is one of the highlights of the year, and we’re especially grateful to all those who have hosted us so far this year. Being out and about has been a great opportunity to hear directly from members about the issues facing them, and please do continue to email us with case studies or issues throughout the year.
The tour of the Zero project at Athelhampton was particularly fascinating and timely, given our campaigns on energy efficiency and planning. Our 2022 Sustainability Award is now open for applications, and we encourage you to apply if you can: the diversity and innovation shown in projects across our member houses continues to wow us at Warwick House and our judges, who are excited to choose a winner later this summer.
We were also delighted to welcome Professor Ian Baxter to our Learning Advisory Panel. Education has taken something of a back seat during the pandemic, so it has been good to give it a renewed focus as education in broadest sense of the word remains a core part of Historic Houses’ mission. The early stages of planning a day-long Education seminar for the autumn have begun, so watch this space!
Ben sat on a meeting of the Heritage Council, along with other sector colleagues and government ministers, which was productive. We continue to make representations to the highest level of government possible, and were thrilled to hear that Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, visited Kiplin Hall last week. As always, the best way to get our message across is to show politicians and policy makers first hand the issues faced and the importance of strong regulatory framework.
As Parliament heads into recess in July, there is still plenty of work to be done. In particular, we are encouraging members to write to their local politicians and policy makers, inviting them out to Historic Houses properties in their constituencies so that they can see for themselves all that our members have to offer!
Sarah, Policy & Education Officer