Re-Using Information

As a public sector organisation, any information that Historic England produces, holds or disseminates while carrying out its ‘public task’ must be re-usable by members of the public, unless the information is restricted or excluded.

This page describes what is included in Historic England’s public task, when we may charge for re-use of information, and how to make a request to re-use information.

Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations

The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations have established the framework for the re-use of public sector information since they came into force on 18 July 2015. The purpose of the regulations is to make information easier to re-use, resulting in economic, social and civil benefits.

What information is available for re-use?

Only documents that are created, stored or disseminated in order to fulfil a public institution's public task are under the scope of the regulations. Most data that we collect and create is done so in accordance with our public task.

The regulations do not apply to:

  • Information that is exempt from disclosure under information access legislation (for example the Data Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and Environmental Information Regulations)
  • Information where a third party holds the intellectual property rights (for example copyright or database right)

What is Historic England’s public task?

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England's spectacular historic environment. It is an arm’s length body of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (‘DCMS’). Find Historic England's official name and connection to English Heritage.

Historic England's current ‘public task’ for the purposes of the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 derives from its statutory functions, duties and powers which are set out in the Heritage Act 1983.

Historic England’s public task is, in summary, ‘to protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we have come from as a nation’.

In delivering this aim, Historic England undertakes a range of statutory, advisory, financial and academic functions including management of the National Heritage List for England and provision of planning advice to English local authorities, property owners and developers, as well as advice and assistance to the government on guidance and legislation relating to the historic environment of England.

Historic England is also accountable to the government for the English Heritage Trust’s stewardship of the National Heritage Collection, which comprises more than 400 historic sites and monuments in the nation’s ownership or care.

Historic England produces, holds and uses information for the purposes of:

  • Advising government on the designation of heritage assets
  • Providing expert planning advice to local authorities, owners and developers on proposals and planning applications which affect the historic environment
  • Maintaining, developing and making accessible the National Heritage List for England
  • Managing a number of grant funding streams including local and national capacity-building grants, repair grants, place-making grants and research grants
  • Supporting local authority heritage capacity and capability through training and grants
  • Undertaking in-house research on the historic environment as an Independent Research Organisation and funding external programmes
  • Public engagement activities to promote interest in, and understanding of England’s historic environment
  • Sharing knowledge through training and guidance, conservation advice and access to resources including the Historic England Archive
  • Supporting English Heritage in its care of the National Heritage Collection
  • Meeting its operational, legal and statutory obligations.

This statement is regularly reviewed and is due to be considered again in December 2025.

Charging for re-use

The Historic England Archive has the right to apply conditions of re-use and charge fees for certain re-uses. Information and images held in and made available through the Historic England Archive will be made available for re-use under a specific licence and charging scheme in accordance with The Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015, Statutory Instruments 2015 No. 1415, reg 15, (3)(c).

Other Historic England information made available for re-use will usually be done so under an Open Government Licence. Visit our Open Data Hub

How to make a request

To submit a request for re-use of information you should:

  • Submit your request in writing
  • Give your name and address
  • Specify which information you want to re-use
  • State the purpose for which the information is to be re-used.

Requests for re-use of information or images held in the Historic England Archive should be sent to:

The Historic England Archive
The Engine House
Fire Fly Avenue
Email: [email protected]

For further information about licensing the re-use of information and photographs held in the Historic England Archive, see Archive Services and Price List.

Requests for re-use of all other information held by Historic England should be sent to:

The Information Rights Team
The Engine House
Fire Fly Avenue
Email: [email protected]

Time limit for responses

We will normally respond to requests within 20 working days. However, it may be necessary to extend the deadline in complex cases.

Queries and complaints

If you have any queries on this public task statement or complaints about Historic England under the regulations, including challenges to our statement of public task and its scope, you can contact us by email [email protected]

If you are not satisfied by this process you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office