Informations and abstract
The consideration of cultural heritage is explicit within the current EU legislation for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and European Commission advice indicates that the definition of cultural heritage should go further than just designated built heritage. However, there is great variation in the way in which cultural heritage is accounted for between the Member States and, at times, discrepancies between regions or Competent Authorities within individual countries. This paper will briefly outline the provisions of Directive 85/337/EEC as amended by 97/11/EC in relation to cultural heritage. It will then consider how well cultural heritage is accounted for within the European Union by examining the actual practice in the Member States, as reported by EIA practitioners, cultural heritage experts and people involved with the planning process. Common problems and concerns will then be identified and discussed. The research identifies three main issues: firstly, cultural heritage is mainly restricted to built heritage in studies and doesn't try to assess impacts on cultural identity, language, community cohesion etc.; secondly, the majority of practitioners felt that cultural heritage needs to be considered earlier in the EIA process and; thirdly, there is a need for better guidance on how best to consider the implications of proposals on cultural heritage in EIA.