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Heritage at Risk: Latest Findings

There are fewer entries on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2017 than in 2016.

We published our most recent Heritage at Risk Register on 26 October 2017. Our Register identifies sites most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

The number of entries on the Register has reduced from 5,341 in 2016 to 5,254 in 2017.
Reducing the number of sites at risk is an important part of Historic England's strategy. Our nine regional teams work with owners, developers, funders and communities to focus on the country's most vulnerable historic places and find solutions to rescue them.

What’s new in 2017?

Target exceeded

On average at least one entry a day has been removed from the 2016 Register for positive reasons in the past year - a total of 387 entries. Historic England's target to reduce the number of entries on the Register in 2015 by 15% (not including conservation areas) has been met a year early. We are especially proud that over the last five years 1,240 archaeological entries have been removed from the Register for positive reasons.

Infographic representing target exceeded. Historic England's target to reduce the number of entries that were on the Register in 2015 by 15% has been met a year early

Grant aid

Grant aid from Historic England and other funders is one reason for removals. This year Historic England gave grant aid of £10.5m to 260 projects. This grant aid is often the first step to securing the future of a site and helps give confidence to other funders as their support is sought.

Infographic representing grant aid. This year Historic England gave grant aid of £10.5m to 260 projects

Unusual entries

There is a wide variety of entries currently at risk. The 5,254 entries on the 2017 Heritage at Risk Register include rock art, dovecotes, a tunnel, an office, stables and sixteen pubs. The Register also includes protected wreck sites; there are now only four ship wrecks on the Register in comparison with ten when we started recording them in 2008.

Infogrpahic representing unusual entries. The 2017 Register includes a wide range of interesting sites from 9 rock art sites, 17 dovecotes and 1 tunnel to offices, stables and 16 pubs.

Challenges

We do still face considerable challenges and 328 entries were added to the Heritage at Risk Register this year. Places of worship constitute 130 new entries, and over 450 buildings or structures from the 1999 baseline still remain on the 2017 Register. Creative solutions will be needed to resolve these long-standing cases, seizing opportunities that arise. We will make effective use of our grant aid and work constructively in partnerships.

Conservation areas

We are concerned about the number of conservation areas on the Register in their 50th Anniversary year and are working with local authorities and other partners through our Heritage Action Zones initiative to target our resources effectively. More conservation areas have been added (47) than taken off the Register in 2017.

Building on Church Street in Hartlepool, County Durham covered with scaffolding
Church Street in Hartlepool, County Durham, is a Conservation Area at Risk. The Grade II listed Shades Hotel is a key building at risk within the conservation area. © Historic England DP174683

Finding solutions

Through advising funders on which sites are most at risk, and targeting our own grant aid to areas that are far more difficult to fund in general, we will continue to reduce heritage at risk.

Sadly, some owners do not take responsibility for the condition of their sites. In these cases, Historic England can assist local planning authorities in exercising their statutory powers to prompt action.

Historic England can provided bespoke advice to councils, and we can also offer grants to support the cost of underwriting action.

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