Combining sections of coastline with seemingly endless countryside locations, Dorset is primarily rural, with urban areas accounting for just 6.3% of the county. The local council and independent groups will want to retain as much of that greenfield land as possible, benefitting local biodiversity and the environmental quality of Dorset. However, planning projects are inevitable, and it is to be expected that a large number of developers will opt for land with no existing infrastructure.
Developers face numerous obstacles on the road to completing a planning project, and even undeveloped land with no previous infrastructure requires assurances from the local council before they will even consider an application for planning permission. Without any consideration of potential archaeological features, the project could face lengthy delays or costly issues further into the planning process.
Dorset’s Archaeology and Excavations
As outlined in a dedicated section on archaeology, excavations and surveys on the official website, Dorset Council show an emphasis on historic remains in the county. Among the purposes of archaeology services are to advise local planning authorities on archaeology and how archaeological remains can impact planning applications.
With a role in applications for planning consent, it is crucial that developers meet the requirements of archaeology officers and the local councils they serve. Although a potentially concerning factor to consider, developers can identify historic remains on their development site and remove any issues they may cause by booking an archaeology survey.
Surveys for Archaeology
A typical archaeology survey will start with an archaeologist undertaking desk-based assessments to gather information on known historic remains present on the site and archaeological records that indicate historic importance. The archaeological surveyor will then physically attend the site for an analysis of archaeological features, starting with a surface survey to identify visible items before moving on to a geophysical survey to find items hidden within the ground.
Highly specialised equipment will be used during the geophysical survey, including a ground penetrating radar (GPR) device to discover underground historic remains. It will be moved all over the site and send radio waves into the ground. Then, the distances between the radio waves leaving and reflecting back to the GPR device will be recorded, and if any distances are shorter, it could be an indication of archaeological remains. If nothing from the desk-based assessment explains the reading, the archaeological consultant may opt to excavate.
As well as this, the nature of the site may also lead to the need for aerial photography, site discovery and evaluation, walkovers and watching briefs. It may also be beneficial to factor in the correlation to the National Grid, contours, earthworks, and results from building surveys. After the assessment, the archaeologist will assemble an archaeology report to detail findings from the survey, the next steps that will mitigate for any historic remains on the site, and give the planning officer from the local council all they need to pass an application for planning consent.
Contact Us for an Archaeology Survey
For any developer staging a project on a recognised historic site or a development site with sections that are untouched, an archaeology survey would be advisable. That way, our trained, qualified and capable archaeologists can visit your site, undertake a high-quality archaeological assessment, and address any factors that would otherwise hinder your planning project.
Reach out to Arbtech today, give us details about your site and project, and we can give you a free quote. You can do this by filling out an online quote form, calling us directly or via our other contact options. We can then set up a date to attend your site, carry out an archaeology survey, and make all of the right moves to push your project through planning.