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Historic Buildings: Protection

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent steps the Government has taken to protect historic buildings. (222312)

Buildings that are of special historic or architectural interest are listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Listing protects a building against unauthorized demolition, alteration or extension and ensures that its special interest is taken into account when proposals are put forward that affect its character or appearance.

English Heritage, the Government’s statutory adviser for the historic environment, gave £24 million in grants in 2007-08 to protect and encourage enjoyment of historic buildings and monuments. English Heritage recommended 564 buildings for listing, and during the year, 57 buildings were removed from the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register as their futures had been secured. English Heritage is a statutory consultee in the statutory planning process and gave advice on 17,090 consent applications in 2007-08.

In April 2008, the Government published a draft Heritage Protection Bill. The draft Bill contains provisions setting out a framework to unify heritage protection regimes, allow greater public involvement in decision-making and place heritage at the heart of the planning system, thereby making the system more transparent and making heritage protection easier to understand and manage.