What this means for landowners

Policies relating to archaeology are based on guidance given by national government in its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) document:

 'There will be archaeological interest in a heritage asset if it holds, or potentially may hold, evidence of past human activity worthy of expert investigation at some point.'

Early consultation with the County Archaeologist is of enormous importance.  They can tell you whether archaeology is something you need to take into account and will advise you on the steps that may need to be taken at each stage of the planning process.

If a site is within an area of potential archaeological interest the applicant may need to provide the Planning Authority with information of the likely impact of the scheme on any buried remains. This is estimated from existing records, including historical accounts, and reports of archaeological work in the vicinity, in conjunction with a number of sources which suggest the nature of deposits on the site, like bore-hole logs and cellar surveys. This is presented in a standard format, known as a Desk Top Assessment.  As a starting point you are advised to consult the Tyne & Wear Historic Environment Record Sitelines.

You may need to provide a Written Scheme of Investigation.  This is a detailed document which sets out the precise work required, covering the area to be excavated, the volume of deposits to be recorded, the methodology employed, the degree of expertise required, the amount of analysis and research required, finds collection policies, conservation of perishable artifacts, the deposition of finds and archives and the eventual publication of the results. These programmes are expensive and time-consuming.

Pre-application enquiries should be directed to Jennifer Morrison, Tyne & Wear Archaeology Officer, via email at or by telephone on 0191 211 6218.