Heritage at Risk: Latest Findings
Heritage at Risk 2014 is our most comprehensive survey to date. It records historic sites that are at risk and in need of rescue. These include listed buildings, places of worship, scheduled monuments, industrial sites, conservation areas, parks and gardens, protected wrecks and battlefields.
Overall there has been a reduction in the number of sites on the Register. However, more than a third of buildings that were on the Register when it first began in 1999 are still there now.
We can’t give up on these incredibly important historic buildings; getting them back in use will contribute towards the country’s growing economy. As the economy starts to improve and the demand for development increases, we need to push these buildings forward and find a future for them.
Places of worship
Over the past year we have focused much of our effort on assessing listed Places of Worship.
Based on local reports, we visited those considered to be in poor or very bad condition. We now know that of the 14,775 listed places of worship in England, 6% (887) are at risk. This is fewer than expected but congregations face big challenges to bring these buildings back into a good condition. A combination of failing roofs, broken gutters and downpipes and damage to high level stonework are common problems. Most places of worship suffer from at least two of these problems.
30% (176) of grade I and II* places of worship on the Register are in rural villages with dispersed populations, making the challenge even greater as there are fewer people to tackle the problem.
We encourage people across the country to help places of worship in their local communities. You can get involved with volunteer schemes, help with maintenance or even make a donation to help towards repair.
Expanding the survey
Despite having the most comprehensive view of heritage at risk to date, the state of the majority of our historic sites - grade II listed buildings - is still unknown.
We are sharing our expertise with volunteers, owners and local authorities to tackle this by surveying grade II buildings. With this information, a national picture can be built to see how many of these buildings are at risk and uncover the underlying causes.
Test surveys in Stockton, Cumbria, York, Derbyshire, Worcester, Birmingham, Essex, Hounslow and Aylesbury are happening right now and laying the groundwork for volunteers to get to work when the project launches nationally in spring 2015.