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The Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, Mick Antoniw MS, presented the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill before the Senedd Cymru today.

The Government’s plans to improve the accessibility of Welsh law, set out in ‘The Future of Welsh Law: a programme for 2021 – 2026’, are ‘an important step’ on the Welsh Government’s journey to develop a modern, accessible, and bilingual body of law for Wales. It said that historic environment law was deemed ‘a suitable subject for the first project in an ambitious programme of legislative consolidation’ for Welsh law.

The Counsel General said:

“Our current historic environment legislation has become a confusing jumble of repeatedly amended provisions. It is, moreover, largely based on two Westminster statutes that are now decades old, so the greater part of our historic environment legislation is only available in English.

“The objective of this consolidation is to improve the accessibility of the historic environment legislation for Wales by providing a single, modern, bilingual Act for Wales. By introducing greater consistency into the language, form and operation of the law, it will be easier to understand and apply and will better support the effective protection and management of the unique historic environment of Wales.”

The Historic Environment (Wales) Bill is part of a wider programme to improve the accessibility of Welsh law, and will be the first building block towards creating Codes of Welsh Law. The Law Commission of England and Wales (The Form and Accessibility of the Law Applicable in Wales) whose remit is to improve the accessibility of the law, identified that historic environment legislation would benefit from consolidation. Stakeholders have also expressed a strong wish for clearer legislation, which is available in one place – Historic Environment (Wales) Bill 2015 consultation.

Antoniw MS will make a legislative statement in Plenary on the 5th July 2022 and will work with Members of the Senedd during their consideration of the Bill over the coming months.

For more information on the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill, click here.