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Indicator Data

Each year, Heritage Counts analyses a series of indicators which provide an insight into the state of the historic environment. In most cases, these indicators have been collected since 2002, providing well over 10 years of trend data.

The evidence collected is used by historic environment professionals to develop policies and priorities and to demonstrate the importance of the historic environment.

A man with a hard hat carrying out repair work on a roof.
A professional carrying out roofing repair work © Historic England

Data is organised according to the five strategic priorities of Heritage 2020 below (you can find out more about Heritage 2020 from the Historic Environment Forum web pages). The data is accompanied by easy-to-use statistics in Excel spreadsheets. These enable year-on-year changes in the historic environment to be tracked at national, regional and, wherever possible, local level:

Discovery, identification and understanding: Provides indicators on the scale and scope of the historic environment and assets

Constructive conservation and sustainable management: Includes indicators on the overall condition of the historic environment, indicators from the Heritage at Risk programme and data on managing the historic environment, including planning statistics

Public engagement: Presents data on participation in heritage, heritage membership and volunteering in the sector

Capacity building: Indicators of heritage investments from private, public and voluntary sectors as well as the skills and capacity of the sector

Helping things to happen: Includes indicators of the importance of guardianship

Please note: Some users with older versions of Excel may experience difficulties opening the files. Please treat them as a trusted document in any dialogue boxes that pop up. If you still experience difficulties, please email Heritage-Counts@HistoricEngland.org.uk so we can send you the files.

Visitor attraction trends

In 2016, Historic England commissioned BDRC to produce a report on Visitor Attraction Trends in England. The report provides a comprehensive England-wide analysis of heritage attractions and visits in 2015 and trend data.

Key indicator findings for 2016

These include:

  • Listed Building Consent (LBC) applications are an increasing proportion of all applications submitted to planning authorities. In 2015/16 LBCs accounted for 7.1% of all planning permissions compared to just 5.7 % in 2007/08.
  • Local Authority historic environment staff capacity continues to decline. In 2016, there were 796 Full Term Equivalent jobs in the historic environment in Local Authorities nationwide. This included 272 Archaeology staff and 525 Conservation staff. The overall number of historic environment staff has decreased by 5.8% since 2015 and 35% since 2006.
  • Historic properties continue to attract large numbers of visitors. In 2015, there were 61.3 million visits to historic properties, an increase of 39% since 1989.
  • Membership to heritage organisations has grown considerably in the past year. The National Trust has over 4.3 million members in England (an increase of 8 per cent since the previous year), while the English Heritage Trust has over 932,000 members in England (an increase of 10% since the previous year).
  • Heritage is becoming more inclusive. The gap in participation between those in the most deprived areas and those in the least deprived areas has decreased dramatically – from 44.4 percentage points in 2009/10 to 24.5 percentage points in 2015/16.

Repair work on The Kingsand Institute in Rame, Cornwall
Repair work on The Kingsand Institute in Rame, Cornwall © John Grimes Partnership Ltd.

Indicator maps

These maps show the location of heritage assets in England for 2016.

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