Six volunteers and professional posing by the pool, wearing hard hats and high vis vests.

About this image

Team of professionals and volunteers gets ready for the repair of the Gala Pool's roof at Moseley Road Baths, Balsall Heath, Birmingham. © Historic England DP218859

What is the Heritage at Risk Programme?

The Heritage at Risk Programme (HAR) helps us understand the overall state of England's historic sites. The programme identifies those sites that are most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Every year Historic England updates the Heritage at Risk Register. The end result is a dynamic picture of the sites most at risk and most in need of safeguarding for the future.

The important process of checking the condition of our heritage goes back more than two decades to the birth of the London Buildings at Risk survey. The method has since been widened to include other types of historic places (heritage assets). The Register now includes:

  • Buildings and structures
  • Places of worship
  • Archaeological sites
  • Conservation areas
  • Registered parks and gardens
  • Registered battlefields
  • Protected wreck sites

You can find out what's at risk by searching the Heritage at Risk Register or downloading a regional Register.

Heritage at Risk sites can come in many forms; from grand to simple buildings and structures, to large visible earthworks and less visible buried remains. Many issues threaten these sites, from environmental to human impact.

Façade of the former Star of the East pub and adjacent shops.
The former Star of the East public house in East London was added to the Register in 2018. It is currently vacant, and discussions about its future are on-going. © Historic England DP232584


There are fewer entries on the 2018 Register (5,160) than on the 2017 Register (5,254).  See our latest findings page for more information on heritage at risk in 2018. 

Our local Heritage at Risk teams strive to find solutions for sites at risk. Our work with partners such as owners and funders is vital.

Why is it important?

People regularly say how much the historic character of where they live, work and play contributes to their lives. As public and private finance remains scarce, we need to focus on the heritage assets that are at greatest risk and that offer the best opportunities for positive development. The benefits of collecting data on places at risk is especially important when public spending is low.

The Heritage at Risk Register tells communities about the condition of their local neighbourhood. It encourages people to become actively involved in looking after what is precious to them. It also reassures them that any public funding goes to the most needy and urgent cases.

The Buildings at Risk project proved that the Register works. We published the first national Register of Buildings at Risk in 1998. We have now been tackling heritage at risk for twenty years, and over two thirds of England's historic sites on the 1998 Register have since had their futures secured.

Regularly reviewing and updating our assessments of heritage assets allows us to pinpoint trends. We then explore why change is happening and how we can bring about more positive change in the future.

What does the programme include?

As well as carrying out surveys on condition and management, Historic England also does social and economic research to understand the value of heritage.

Historic England's local teams have a specific focus on reducing local heritage at risk. They use the outcomes of research and the annual Register to help prioritise where they focus their time and funding.

They work with partners such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Natural England to support owners with funding to understand what repair or conservation works are needed as well as the actual work.

They strive to find solutions that work for both owners and the historic environment.

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