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Historic England’s Role

We are the public body that looks after England's historic environment.

We do this by:

  • Championing historic places
  • Identifying and protecting our heritage
  • Supporting change
  • Understanding historic places and
  • Providing expertise at a local level

Watch this short film about England's historic places and why we champion them.

We champion historic places

By standing up for historic places, everyone, from individuals and communities to government and major landowners, can look after and care for heritage.

We make sure they understand and appreciate the benefits England's heritage brings and why it should be respected, cherished and enhanced as part of the very soul of our nation.

We open up heritage for everyone, using digital resources, media campaigns, our unsurpassed archive, publishing, public information and exhibitions.

We identify and protect our heritage

Protecting historic places through the designation system is at the very heart of what we do, as expert advisor to the government.

Using our knowledge and understanding we celebrate what’s special and make sure that England’s history is recognised, respected and enjoyed.

We manage the National Heritage List for England: from its origins in 1882, it has grown to include almost 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks. They all benefit from legal protection.

The list is available to everyone through our website. It continues to grow, both in size and in popularity, and now has more than a million visits annually.

We support change

We want people to use and enjoy historic places in ways that reveal and reinforce their significance, and safeguard their setting in a wider landscape.

Each year we give advice on more than 20,000 applications for planning permission or listed building consent.

We help make sure that threats to our heritage are understood, so policies, effort and investment can be targeted effectively.

We find approaches to prevent heritage at risk and tackle it as a priority. Last year, we provided £14.26 million in grants to reduce the amount of heritage at risk.

We understand historic places

We share our understanding of the significance of England’s places.

Using cutting-edge science, research,and information and by working with others, we help people manage historic places, both physically and economically.

We share our knowledge through training and guidance, conservation advice and access to resources, including the Historic England Archive, which is the biggest national collection of records about the historic environment.

We deliver national expertise at a local level

Our local offices are the principal point of contact for many customers.

Our staff specialise in assessment, processing grants, giving advice to owners, developers and local authorities, as well as designation, heritage data, government policy and communications.

Our people work with partners across each region to raise the profile of the historic environment and make sure that it makes the fullest possible contribution across the country.

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