Proposals for a new buffer zone to protect the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey from encroachment by tall buildings were unveiled today.

The buffer zone is part of a new Management Plan for Westminster World Heritage Site, which was published this today by a steering group chaired by English Heritage. Further research into the practicality and suitable boundaries of the buffer zone will be undertaken by English Heritage this summer.

‘It is important that the outstanding universal value of the Westminster World Heritage Site is protected from beyond its boundaries,’ the plan says. ‘Its iconic status, which derives from its distinctive appearance, needs particular attention to ensure that it is safeguarded.’

Paddy Pugh, English Heritage’s head of advice for London, said buildings which could be affected by the buffer zone include plans for Elizabeth House in Waterloo, a 1m sq ft development by P&O and Morgan Stanley, and Land Securities’ Victoria Transport Interchange scheme, which features two towers.

English Heritage has already told Southwark borough council that it will press for a call-in by the secretary of state if the council approves plans for a 52-storey residential tower by the Beetham Organization near the bank of the Thames at Blackfriars Bridge. English Heritage has taken a similar stance with Lambeth borough council over plans for a 45-storey residential tower in Doon Street by Coin Street Community Builders, Pugh said.