The National Heritage Bodies

Jonathan Taylor

 

Although the protection of the historic environment follows a broadly similar pattern throughout the UK, significant changes were made in the roles undertaken by the four national heritage bodies responsible, particularly in 2015. These changes are summarised here.

Generally, applications for the various special consents required (see lower table) are made to the local authority, no matter which part of the UK you are in. Applications for scheduled monument consent and some applications for listed building consent are then referred by the local authority to the national heritage body, such as Cadw in Wales.

NATIONAL HERITAGE BODIES AND THEIR GENERAL AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
 

ENGLAND

NORTHERN
IRELAND

SCOTLAND

WALES

Heritage
designation
and protection*

Historic
England

DoE HE Div

HES

Cadw

Archives and
recording

Historic
England

DoE HE Div

HES

RCAHMW

Historic
properties in state care

English
Heritage

DoE HE Div

HES

Cadw

* The national authorities’ responsibilities include the designation and protection of historic buildings and monuments, maritime wrecks, historic parks, gardens and landscapes. Conservation areas, however are designated by the local authorities, and world heritage sites are designated by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO.

ENGLAND

In April 2015 English Heritage separated into two organisations: Historic England, which is the new public body responsible for the protection of England’s heritage, including historic buildings and monuments, and English Heritage, a charity which looks after the national heritage collection of more than 400 historic places across England.

Historic England
www.historicengland.org.uk
Historic England is responsible for the designation of heritage assets in England and for maintaining the National Heritage List for England. It has a statutory role in determining certain applications affecting ‘designated’ heritage assets (listed buildings and scheduled monuments), and advises local and central government on their protection. Historic England works to protect the historic environment through grant aid, skills development, research, advice and guidance, and it maintains the Historic England Archive and Library in Swindon.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Formerly known as the Environment and Heritage Service, the Historic Environment Division of Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment is responsible for the protection of the historic environment, including monuments and buildings. Since April 2015 most planning responsibilities have been transferred to local authorities, including listed building and conservation area consent applications.

DoE Northern Ireland – Historic Environment Division
www.doeni.gov.uk/topics/historic-environment
The work of the division is divided between two units.
The Historic Monuments Unit maintains Northern Ireland’s 194 monuments and sites which are in state care. In addition, it is responsible for the recording, designation and conservation of historic monuments more generally by advising on planning applications that affect them, commissioning archaeological investigations, and monitoring and recording their condition. It maintains the national databases on sites and monuments.
The Historic Buildings Unit produces and maintains ‘the list’ of buildings of special historic interest; advises the planning service on planning applications that affect listed buildings; provides professional advice on alterations and technical information on repairs; where appropriate provides grant aid for approved schemes; and promotes awareness of historic buildings, for example through organising European Heritage Days.

DESIGNATION WORKS REQUIRING CONSENT CONSENT REQUIRED

Scheduled monument

All works including demolition, alterations and repairs

Scheduled monument consent (SMC)

Listed building

All demolition work and alterations which affect its character as a listed building – this includes works to the interior, objects and structures fixed to the building, and objects and structures within its curtilage built before 1948 or, in Northern Ireland, 1973

Listed building consent (LBC)

Unlisted building in a conservation area

Demolition only (‘substantial’ not partial demolition

Conservation area consent (CAC) or, in England, planning permission

Some external alterations to houses, which elsewhere would be permitted by right, may require consent under an Article 4 direction

Planning permission

In addition to the above consents, changes affecting the exterior of a heritage asset may also require planning permission

SCOTLAND

Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) have merged to form a single organisation, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which became fully operational on 1 October 2015.

Historic Environment Scotland
www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
HES advises on wide-ranging historic building matters and has a statutory role in determining applications affecting the demolition of buildings which are listed or in conservation areas, and the alteration of category A and B listed buildings. It also offers several grant schemes, provides technical advice, and is responsible for the management and presentation of over 300 historic sites in the nation’s care. The archives (formerly maintained by RCAHMS) provide unique insights into Scotland’s places, documenting how the nation’s archaeological, industrial and architectural environment has changed over time. They can be accessed online through the Canmore website.

WALES

In 2014 the Welsh Assembly took the decision to keep the RCAHMW and Cadw as separate bodies, so the structure remains unchanged.

Cadw
www.cadw.wales.gov.uk

Cadw (Welsh for ‘to keep’ or ‘to protect’) is the Welsh government’s historic environment service. It manages 129 monuments and sites in the care of the Welsh Government and carries out statutory duties in respect of the wider historic environment, most notably protection and designation functions, offering grants, providing general leadership for the historic environment sector and engaging stakeholders and communities.

RCAHMW
www.rcahmw.gov.uk

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is the investigating body and national archive for the historic environment of Wales. It has the lead role in ensuring that Wales’ archaeological, built and maritime heritage is authoritatively recorded and understood, and seeks to promote appreciation of this heritage nationally and internationally. RCAHMW’s archive can be accessed online through Coflein together with selected images and an index to the drawings, manuscripts and photographs held in the extensive archive collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales, which is maintained by the Royal Commission.

 

 

 

The Building Conservation Directory, 2016

Author

JONATHAN TAYLOR MSc IHBC is the editor of The Building Conservation Directory and a co-founder of Cathedral Communications Limited. He studied architectural conservation at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and has a background in architectural design, conservation and urban regeneration.

Further information

RELATED ARTICLES

Conservation principles

Heritage organisations

Legislation and guidance

 

RELATED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Advisory bodies and associations

Architects

Conservation plans and policy consultants

Historical research

Legal services

Planning consultants

Project management

 

BuildingConservation.com
Site Map

© Cathedral Communications Limited 2016