In this section, find out what the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP) is, why it’s so important, how it works and who does what within the plan.
What Is the National Heritage Protection Plan?
The National Heritage Protection Plan is a major strategy that identifies those parts of England’s Heritage that matter to people most and are at greatest risk – and then concentrates efforts on saving them. Find out more below or download our introductory leaflet.
Why Does Our Heritage Need Protection Through the Plan?
England’s historic buildings, sites and landscapes are of fundamental importance to telling our national story; to establishing community identities and to creating a sense of place. By encouraging tourism, creating jobs and providing the places where most of us live and work, our heritage is also an important contributor to growth and prosperity within the UK.
But much of this heritage is at risk of damage or destruction: sometimes sudden and catastrophic, more often gradual and incremental – threatening the distinctiveness, character and appeal of the places we care about. Damage can be caused by natural erosion, climate change, crime or poorly thought-through development. Decline often starts with neglect, abandonment or the loss of the skills needed for vital advice, maintenance and repair.
How Does the Plan Work?
There are many public, commercial and voluntary organisations, that ensure our heritage is cared for, appreciated and enjoyed. Often it is local communities that make the real difference. In the current economic climate all of these groups are short of resources, so it makes sense to work together, identify common priorities and pool efforts.
The National Heritage Protection Plan is intended to encourage this joint working by providing a common framework within which all heritage organisations are invited to participate – to make the most of their resources and celebrate their successes.
At the heart of the Plan is a clear set of priorities about what matters and what is in danger of being lost. These were identified following a widespread public consultation which is repeated every year to ensure the Plan remains up-to-date and relevant to changing circumstances.
The Plan covers the period up to 2015: we hope it will be the first in a series. The Plan aims to ensure that, while helping to deliver positive and sustainable economic growth, England’s heritage:
- is not needlessly at risk of damage, erosion or loss
- is experienced, understood and enjoyed by local communities
- continues to provide memorable places where people live and work
What Is English Heritage Doing?
The National Heritage Protection Plan was initially devised by English Heritage. As part of this, we have set out the contribution we intend to make in an Action Plan. This explains what we are doing to protect the heritage, why, where and when. It makes our programme of work transparent and more accountable to the public than ever before.
Our Action Plan will help English Heritage work more effectively with other organisations like the National Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund. And it will help the public monitor our progress.
Other organisations are beginning to develop their own action plans. We hope that many more will join them and we are ready to offer help and advice to those that do.
Who Is Currently Involved?
English Heritage coordinates the overall plan, because it has a unique place at a national level to maintain an overview of England’s heritage. At present, a member of English Heritage staff, with particular specialist knowledge in the relevant field, leads each themed package of work within the Action Plan that we have termed an “Activity”.
Other partners outside of English Heritage are working with us on a number of projects within the Activities.
There is also an independent Advisory Board, made up of representatives from many heritage bodies but also other organisations that have an interest in heritage. The board advises on the shape and content of the Plan.
How Can I Get Involved?
English Heritage publishes the National Heritage Protection Plan online and provides reports on progress twice annually.
Every heritage organisation or interested individual can get involved in the Plan in a number of ways. You can:
- Influence the priorities in the Plan. We will consult the public every year to ensure the Plan is up-to-date. Ideas and suggestions are welcome from civic societies, archaeological groups, communities and those responsible for historic buildings and places. Suggestions can be sent to the NHPP Team.
- Develop your own Action Plan. Effective heritage protection requires the efforts of many organisations and individuals. Devising an action plan and linking it to the main National Heritage Protection Plan website will unlock opportunities for collaboration and sharing.
- Report your successes. From local groups to major organisations, the effort applied to caring for our heritage should be recorded and celebrated. Whether local research, a community initiative or a major regeneration programme, English Heritage will be happy to include it in the regular reports on progress.
Why Does It Matter?
Our shared heritage is a precious resource that is at the heart of our identities, our local sense of place and our national story. But it is fragile and easily damaged. Once lost it cannot be replaced. The National Heritage Protection Plan works to ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate and enjoy this vital inheritance.