Archaeology and heritage can often appear to be a bit of a minefield for developers, especially when there's a requirement for archaeological or heritage related works as part of the planning process on the project or development. To help guide you through this process, we're starting a series of posts explaining some of the technical terms you might hear and why they are required. This article focuses on the term - evaluation.
An evaluation is often used as shorthand for trial trenching, but in reality can include any survey work carried out to understand the extent, potential and significance of any archaeological remains on a site and the impact that development would have on it. The results allow any necessary further work (mitigation) to be designed and planned for.
Trenches are excavated by machine to target features identified by non-intrusive surveys, or randomly positioned across a site to give a certain level of overall coverage. Work undertaken need to be be proportionate. The evaluation report draws conclusions on the potential for finding archaeology and how significant the results might be.
Evaluations can support a planning application or be required as part of a planning condition. National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Paragraph 194 states:
"Where a site on which development is proposed includes, or has the potential to include, heritage assets with archaeological interest, local planning authorities should require developers to submit an appropriate desk-based assessment and, where necessary, a field evaluation."
The earlier an evaluation is undertaken, the better it can inform design decisions, and the lower the risk of encountering something unexpected that could delay programme or increase costs. For a developer, an evaluation can be critical in determining the outcome of their projects and early engagement and due diligence are key to the successes of projects where archaeology and heritage are part of the planning process.
Here at Rocket Heritage & Archaeology Ltd, we believe in simple explanations of our place in the planning process and aim to help our clients and potential clients as much as possible.
If we can be of any help or you simply have a question, please don't hesitate to get in touch.