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Our Advice

This page provides details about the role of the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service in advising on archaeology in London.

The role of the Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service (GLAAS)

The Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service (GLAAS) provides archaeological planning advice to local authority planners, developers and their agents, and local people, for 31 London boroughs.

We also maintain the Greater London Historic Environment Record. Sources of advice on the City of London's Historic Environment and Archaeology in Southwark can be found on their websites.

If you need help in addressing an archaeological planning issue, this guidance may be useful.

GLAAS and the planning system

We advise on what the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) terms undesignated heritage assets. These include any buried archaeological remains that are not legally protected as Scheduled Monuments as well as unlisted buildings and landscapes.

The NPPF uses a `values' approach as an underlying philosophy to inform heritage decision-making. This focuses on what is significant in a heritage asset and on determining the impact of a proposed development on that significance.

We encourage a constructive approach to conservation. We also encourage the recognition of the importance of the historic environment in place-making and sustainable development.

Local authorities have a duty to conserve the historic environment by ensuring local plan policies are in place to identify what is important and how to manage change to it. Those policies are implemented through each planning decision.

There is a renewed emphasis for developers to obtain adequate information at pre-application stage to support a planning application. This includes providing a desk-based assessment, which may form part of a heritage statement. Where warranted, it may also include the results of an archaeological field evaluation.

How and when to contact GLAAS

A framework for managing London's archaeology can be found in the GLAAS Charter. Archaeological Priority Areas (APA) show where proposed development is more (or less) likely to affect archaeological interests.

Local planning authorities are requested to consult GLAAS on:

  • All major planning applications over 0.5 hectares whether in an APA or not
  • All Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping requests and Environmental Statements
  • Any application supported by an archaeological desk-based assessment
  • Minor planning applications in any APA (tiers 1 to 3)
  • Domestic basement applications in APA tiers 1 and 2 only. Note: For boroughs as yet without APA tiers consult GLAAS on any domestic basement in an APA.
  • Householder and equivalent-scale very minor applications in APA tier 1 only. Note: For boroughs as yet without APA tiers do not consult GLAAS on householder or equivalent applications unless within 50m of a scheduled monument.
  • Proposed substantial demolition or major alterations to historic buildings
  • Submission of details in relation to archaeological conditions
  • Appeals on applications for which an archaeological issue has previously been identified

To consult GLAAS please email:

We are able to provide archaeological information from the Greater London Historic Environment Record and site-specific advice via the GLAAS archaeological advisers.

This information can be used in combination with site plans, geotechnical information and archive and historic map research to prepare an assessment of a site. We can provide contact details of professional archaeologists to undertake assessment work on behalf of developers.

Excavation of a Romano-British settlement in Shadwell, East London
Excavation of a Romano-British settlement site in 2002 at the Babe Ruth restaurant site, Shadwell

Our statutory and permitted development advice

Archaeological considerations are important for a wide range of activities outside the development planning system. We can advise you on these too.

Change to the historic environment does not always come about through the planning system. Many organisations carry out work that can affect archaeology, using statutory powers of permitted development or through various licensing systems.

Local authorities have a wide range of responsibilities, some of which can affect the historic environment:

  • Highways departments co-ordinate the permitted works of utilities companies that may identify local impacts they may cause.
  • Parks and landscape works may take place within an historic context.
  • Co-ordination of advice with officers covering the natural environment may be necessary.
  • Strategic planning of waste management, flood-risk, and land allocation, may all benefit from a consideration of their wider implications, and be informed by the Greater London Historic Environment Record (GLHER).

The Town and Country Planning Act allows planning authorities to remove permitted and statutory development rights at a site where heritage assets are unacceptably threatened, by use of an Article 4 Direction.

If you need archaeological advice on dredging projects, transport infrastructure works, utilities schemes, ecclesiastical exemption cases or other public or private works with archaeological impacts, contact us for advice.

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