Criteria for protection

There are a number of ways we can protect heritage assets to ensure they are passed onto future generations for their enjoyment. One way is by legal protection through national designation: all assets which have this appear on the National Heritage List for England.

Municipal Water Tower (Jumbo), Colchester, Essex. Listed at Grade II*.

Municipal Water Tower (Jumbo), Colchester, Essex. Listed at Grade II*.
© Brian Martin

Criteria for the designation of different types of heritage assets - buildings, archaeological sites, designed landscapes, battlefields, and ships and boats - are included within separate pieces of legislation. Slightly greater detail on the criteria for listing buildings and scheduling archaeological sites are set out in Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings and Scheduled Monuments Policy Statement produced by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

English Heritage, as the Government's principal adviser on the historic environment, has produced a suite of supplementary guidance, including 44 selection guides covering all types of heritage asset, to explain our approach to designation.

The Grade I registered landscape at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire.

The Grade I registered landscape at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire.
© English Heritage

Selection Guides

The 44 selection guides cover the full range of heritage asset types. Each gives a brief overview of current understanding before moving on to set out asset-specific designation criteria. Twenty treat different building types, eighteen archaeological sites, four designed landscapes, and one each battlefields and ships and boats.

Introductions to Heritage Assets

Supporting the Selection Guides is a growing series of Introductions to Heritage Assets (IHAs). Each provides a brief, up-to-date, factual overview of our understanding of a particular heritage asset type. Forty-one have already been produced on archaeological topics, along with two which cover ships and boats from prehistory to 1950. These will be joined by others on particularly poorly-understood or little-studied building types: the first looks at Coastguard Stations.