European Portal of National Heritage Organisations

Land-use and Spatial Planning

Christabel Meyers, International Planning Division, UK Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, led the Syndicate Group on Land-use and Spatial Planning. Wladyslaw Duczko, Assistant Professor at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, chaired the session, and Stefan Lasch-Abendroth, Lecturer, European Centre for the Preservation and Restoration of Historic Monuments, Germany, was the Rapporteur.
Christabel Meyers focused on the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP), explaining that this was an inter-governmental document, rather than Commission-led, and it was not intended to be legally binding. Rather it would act as a common reference framework for those authorities involved in policy formation and seek to improve the implementation of policies and to increase their efficiency by taking into account the spatial aspect.
She explained that the ESDP considers current Europe-wide trends in areas such as the changing role and function of rural area, changes in transport and the continuing pressure on the natural and cultural heritage. Taking into account European Policies such as the CAP, Structural Funds and Environmental Policy, the ESDP puts forward Policy Options to address certain trends, for example, partnerships between town and country, diversification of rural areas and the conservation and development of natural heritage.
The Group discussed whether a need could be identified for an initiative such as the ESDP and it was agreed that, in its capacity as a non-legally binding policy reference framework, it would be very useful to many European cultural heritage organisations. It was agreed that some spatial planning issues had to be tackled on a transnational level, for example where countries shared marine environments or a river basin. In other cases an issue might be of a local significance, and where other localities were facing the same challenge, transnational partnerships could be formed to tackle them. Further discussion established that there are some issues which had not been covered in depth in the document, which participants felt it would be useful to develop, for example, air pollution.
Christabel Meyers stressed that there was still a great deal of discussion to be had before a final document was produced and all suggestions would be taken into consideration. The ESDP was still in the development stage and, while it would undoubtedly be a very valuable reference framework for planners, it was likely to have long-term implications rather than provide short term solutions to current issues.
It was concluded that working together to address common planning challenges would greatly benefit many cultural heritage organisations across Europe and that the partnerships formed through the European Exchange Programme and the European Heritage Partnerships Workshop would provide valuable links for this. It was agreed that the ENNHO Network was an ideal framework for such co-operation.