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Greater protection for heritage sites mooted

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England’s 17 world heritage sites could be granted the same protection as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Communities minister Baroness Andrews said the sites, which include Stonehenge, the city of Bath and the Tower of London, might also have the same status as conservation areas under national planning protection rules.

Less than half of the world heritage sites are located in existing conservation areas. The government is to consult on the changes, which will mean any alterations to nearby buildings will require specific planning permission.

Baroness Andrews said: "We are changing the planning rules to give all English world heritage sites the best protection from potentially damaging developments that could threaten the authenticity, accessibility and charm or character of our most important places."

The government consulted earlier this year on plans to require all major planning applications on world heritage sites to be considered for a call in for national determination.

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