New UK Conservation, People and Places APPG launches
An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on ‘Conservation People and Places’ was inaugurated on 10 September 2020 with the IHBC as its secretariat, chaired by Layla Moran MP, foreign affairs spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, and with vice-chairs that span both Houses of Parliament and major political parties.
APPG vice-chairs include the former chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency (Lord Kerslake, Crossbench); the Conservative MP who won Tony Blair’s former constituency in Sedgefield (Paul Howell); barrister and listed building owner (Earl of Devon, Crossbench) and Helen Hayes, formerly a planner specialising in town centre regeneration before becoming MP for Dulwich.
The APPG’s ambition is:
To support built and historic environment conservation as the means to deliver successful places, which are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. This includes using heritage to help places adapt to the diverse needs of current and future communities, whilst supporting enterprise, transport connectivity, health, climate change efforts and quality of life.
Layla Moran said: ‘I am very pleased to have been invited to chair this APPG which will champion the conservation of the historic environment as a means to deliver successful places that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.’
IHBC Chair David McDonald: ‘The APPG’s focus on conservation, people and places represents the three pillars that can ensure a sustainable future following the pandemic. The APPG’s core aim is to help communities manage and benefit from local places and heritage, as powerful drivers for physical, social and economic sustainability, regeneration and progress.
‘Establishing the APPG is the first stage of much larger ambitions, but for now we are delighted to have such broad-ranging interest from MPs across the parties, including SNP, Green and crossbench members. We are very conscious too that we do not yet have UK-wide representation, and that is a clear priority for the IHBC both as secretariat and as a UK professional body and charity.
‘Our other priority now is to get a programme of events and inquiries in place, and to show how conservation offers real solutions to our challenges. As a lead up to this inauguration we’ve been very lucky to have Layla introduce the IHBC’s 2020 Yearbook as well as recording a powerful opening speech to the IHBC’s 2020 Virtual School.
‘Also, Layla will draft the introduction to the next issue of the IHBC’s membership journal, Context, which explores Oxford as a global city and the challenges it faces as it balances economics, unsustainable infrastructure and development pressures across local communities.’
 Conserving sustainable resources
IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘In the coming months and years, APPG members want to address the major issues we face now, as well as the longer term challenges confronting society. The focus will remain on how conservation is part of the solution, helping us manage valued places as a sustainable resource, and benefit from them for the opportunities they offer.
‘The IHBC would like to thank our advisers across the whole process, Powerscourt, as they have helped us all make such a success of this over the last two years when, as we all know, Parliament itself has faced so many challenges.
‘With the APPG now in operation, its members are ready to determine the wider plans, so we can all look ahead to an exciting programme of integrated advocacy on behalf of conservation, people and places.’
This article originally appeared on the IHBC NewsBlog under the headline, "New UK Conservation, People and Places APPG launched with IHBC secretariat: Layla Moran MP Chair; officer experience already spans foreign affairs, Homes and Communities Agency, law and planning." It was published on 11 September 2020.
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