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Archaeological Desk Based Assessment

Archaeological Desk Based Assessment (now referred to as Historic Environment Desk Based Assessment (HEDBA) by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists so that it includes the built heritage) is a study that is usually required as a preliminary stage in the planning process. Planning policy expects such work to be proportionate to the heritage significance of the assets affected.


Planning applications often expect standard background data to be brought together in one document which is then submitted as part of the planning supporting statements, so that the local planning authority can make an informed decision. The HEDBA might indicate the potential for buried remains or identify existing known heritage assets, and this helps define whether further stages of investigation might be necessary.

HHD&C design and undertake HEDBAs in a bespoke way, dependent on the particular circumstances of each job. Some require in-depth research and a comprehensive output, whilst others may only need a light-touch, selective approach. One single approach does not meet all needs, although national guidance is available to assist with deciding which items are relevant and should be included or excluded for specific projects.

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