Historical places in the UK
World Heritage Sites are places, ranging from forests and lakes to buildings and cities, that are ‘listed’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Places are listed as World Heritage Sites because of their special cultural or physical significance.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for making sure the UK complies with UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention, and for nominating UK sites for World Heritage status.
The nomination process
We nominate UK sites from a tentative list of future nominations to be World Heritage Sites, which UNESCO’s expert advisers assess.
Sites on the tentative list which want to be nominated to be World Heritage Site have to complete a technical evaluation. The next round of technical evaluations takes place in Autumn 2013.
You can also view the ‘state of conservation reports’ and ‘statements of outstanding universal value’ that accompany each World Heritage Site.
Appendix 2: protecting shipwreck sites
This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.
Because of their particular archaeological, historical or artistic importance, we protect certain wrecked vessel sites at sea from unauthorised interference. We protect them by designating a restricted area around the site.
Licences to dive protected shipwreck sites
You must have a licence to dive in a restricted area around a protected shipwreck site. For more information and how to apply for a licence, visit English Heritage’s website to see its advice on diving licenses.
Appendix 3: protecting buildings through the listing system
Listing a building protects it against unauthorised demolition, alteration or extension because of its special architectural features or historic interest.
English Heritage is responsible for caring for our historic environment, including recommending to ministers in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which buildings should be listed. After ministers have announced their decision, English Heritage records which buildings are listed.
There are 3 grades of listed building:
- Grade I are buildings of exceptional interest
- Grade II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest
- Grade II are buildings of special interest, justifying every effort to preserve them
There are approximately 374, 000 listed buildings in England and 92% are Grade II listed.
Appendix 4: grants to help maintain religious listed buildings and memorials
Important historical buildings and memorials are often owned or run by charities and faith groups. We provide grants that help them to maintain these structures.
Memorials Grants Scheme
The Memorials Grant Scheme allows faith groups and charities that look after statues and monuments to claim grants equal to the VAT amount they pay on upkeep and improvement works.
Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme
The Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme makes grants towards the VAT incurred in making repairs and carrying out alterations to listed buildings mainly used for public worship. The scheme has an annual budget of £42m, and presently receives around 4000 claims each year.
Appendix 5: protecting ancient monuments through the scheduling system
Scheduled Ancient Monuments – often referred to as ‘Scheduled Monuments’ – are nationally important sites that have been given legal protection by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport due to their archaeological or historic interest.
There are currently nearly 20, 000 Scheduled Monuments in England. However, other sites of comparable significance are known, but not currently designated as Scheduled Monuments: potentially, further sites still remain to be discovered.
Together these sites help to shed new light on our past, from early prehistory up to the present day.
It is a criminal offence to demolish, destroy, damage, remove, repair, alter or add to Scheduled Monuments, or to carry out flooding or tipping operations on them, without prior permission from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. This is known as Scheduled Monument Consent (‘SMC’).