Understanding Climate Change Issues for Historic England

The Historic England Climate Change Adaptation Report submitted to Defra in 2016 as part of the National Adaptation Reporting Power identifies the following risks and opportunities.


  • Inadequate or insufficient information or experience preventing or impeding appropriate action  
  • Damage to or loss of heritage assets  
  • Difficulties in planning/undertaking fieldwork  
  • Harm to heritage assets from maladaptation
  • Damage to reputation from inappropriate, inconsistent responses or failure to respond to climate change related impacts
  • Harm to/loss of plants within designed and historic landscapes  
  • Damage to buildings from poor/inadequate rainwater goods
  • Geological shrink and swell causes damage to historic structures.  
  • Damage to or loss of historic and archaeological collections and archives
  • Harm to heritage structures from frost fracture  
  • Harm to heritage assets from wildfire
  • Damage to, loss of, or changes to visibility of maritime heritage due to changing depositional processes

An aerial view of flooding near York.
An aerial view of flooding near York. © Historic England, Dave MacLeod.


  • Opportunity for new discoveries
  • Opportunity for learning from the past - the historic environment can inform integrated solutions  
  • Opportunity for making the case for heritage: advocacy for the positive role the historic environment can play  
  • Opportunity for prolonged fieldwork season  
  • Opportunity for heritage in helping to communicate change  
  • Increased opportunities for community engagement and broadening access to heritage
  • Extended tourist season with opportunity for increased interest in heritage  
  • Opportunity for greater collaboration with existing and new partners for knowledge, expertise & data


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