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 statutory protection through national designation. Different sorts of heritage asset are protected by different pieces of legislation and forms of protection.
Criteria for the designation of heritage assets are included within separate pieces of legislation (outlined below) and in Principles of Selection produced by the Department for Culture Media and Sport for listing and scheduling
English Heritage, as the Government's principal adviser on the historic environment, is producing a suite of supplementary guidance to explain our approach to designation.
Types of Designation
Designation is a celebration of special interest, intended to ensure that the significance and character of the asset in question are protected through the planning system, to ensure they are passed on to future generations.
Buildings (and structures) are generally listed. This protection system has been in place since 1947 and operates under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The test for listing are architectural or historic interest, if a building is felt to meet the necessary standards, it is added to the list. This decision is taken by Government (DCMS).
Archaeological sites may be scheduled. Scheduling originated in 1882 and aims to capture a sample of key sites which are carefully managed for the future. The current system operates under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act of 1979 and, unlike listing, the Secretary of State has discretion in whether to schedule a site or if another form of management is more beneficial.
Marine archaeology has parallel approaches. Historic wreck sites may be identified under the Protection of Wrecks Act of 1973 and registered by DCMS. Submerged sites up to 12 miles from the coast may be scheduled as well.
Designed landscapes and battlefields may be registered. The Register of Parks and Gardens was established under the 1983 National Heritage Act. The Battlefields Register was established in 1995. Both Registers are administered by English Heritage. These designations do not carry separate controls, but are material considerations in the planning process.
The purpose of selection guides is to explain our approach to designation. English Heritage advises Government on matters concerning the historic environment and recommends which heritage assets warrant protection. These can be any building, structure, site, designed landscape, wreck or battlefield which is believed to be of national significance.
The Selection Guidelines for buildings, first published in 2007 have been revised and illustrated. Further selection guides for scheduling, designed landscapes and battlefields are being developed.
Introductions to Heritage Assets
Further guidance is available alongside the Selection Guides. For archaeology a suite of 40 Introductions to Heritage Assets have been published, offering more detailed overview of different categories of site. Similar detailed guidance for buildings and landscapes will be added as it becomes available.