Beijing has taken steps to protect cultural relics by making it easier to demolish new developments that threaten historically significant areas, according to Xinhua. However, critics have cautioned that removing the new buildings may be difficult as the developers sometimes pay significant sums of money in compensation to the local governments. The amended version of the law on protection of cultural relics, which came into effect on Monday, says developments near a cultural relic can be demolished by urban planning departments. According to a report carried by China News Service last month, a number of luxury villa projects at the famous Fragrance Hill suburb have jeopardised the view of several cultural relics. Some critics have also complained that the location of the luxury villas blocks public access to popular tourist sites. But Xie Yuanji, a former deputy head of the Urban Planning Department in Beijing, said that while it was important that development projects at tourist spots did not damage cultural relics, legislation might not solve the problem. 'The Urban Planning Department has to consult the opinions of the cultural relics authorities first before any action can be taken,' he said. Some media reports previously claimed developers of luxury villas had paid huge sums of money to local authorities in exchange for permission to build projects in sensitive areas.