Monday 03 March 2014
Between 2006 and 2012, Cadw received reports of 119 cases of unlawful damage to scheduled ancient monuments in Wales. However, there has been only one successful prosecution under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 in the last 25 years.
A number of respondents to last year’s consultation on proposals for the historic environment, ‘The future of our past’, expressed concerns about the rarity of successful prosecutions. Some called for changes to the Act’s permitted defence of ignorance of the status or location of a monument to make it easier to secure convictions for illegal damage.
Accordingly, the Welsh Government would now like to receive your views on a proposal to amend the offences and defences in the 1979 Act to modify the ‘ignorance defence’.
More details on the proposal are contained in a consultation document, which is available, along with a response form, on the consultation pages of the Welsh Government website.
Since responses are only being sought on a single proposal, the consultation period will be limited to six weeks running from 3 March to 14 April 2014. The consultation results will be available while there is still time to shape the provisions of the Heritage Bill, which is scheduled for introduction to the National Assembly for Wales in spring 2015.
Your thoughts on this proposal could help to improve the protection of scheduled ancient monuments in Wales, so be sure to take part in the consultation by submitting your reply by 14 April.