Historic environment

Local authorities have a duty of stewardship towards the historic environment through:

  • operation of the planning system
  • provision of advice, guidance and grant aid to property owners and managers
  • maintenance of histroic environment records.

They are also responsible for setting a good example in the management of council-owned historic assets.

Conservation officers and archaeologists employed in council historic environment services help to:

  • inspire, promote, and create a sense of identity, community and place
  • be a catalyst and promote heritage-related and heritage-led regeneration and economic development – including housing, tourism, investment and employment
  • champion sustainable development across built and natural environments valued for their cultural significance
  • support local communities, enrich education and promote social inclusion through heritage-related projects.

English Heritage is the government's statutory adviser on the historic environment in England and is funded jointly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It seeks to foster understanding, valuing, caring and enjoyment of the historic environment.

English Heritage manages a number of initiatives to support councils in realising the social and economic potential of the historic environment. This includes regional networks of member-level historic environment champions and the Historic Environment Local Management  (HELM) programme. This provides tailored information, training opportunities, case studies and guidance to help those involved in making policy and operational decisions about the historic environment. Further details can be found by clicking the link below:

Historic Environment Local Management (HELM) website


29 August 2014

Related resources

Making the most of your heritage assets

A new joint publication from LGA and English Heritage that shows how heritage helps achieve local priorities and shares innovative practice in historic environment services.

Good practice guide for local heritage listing

This English Heritage publication shows how local heritage lists provide a unique opportunity for communities, in partnership with local authorities, to identify heritage assets that they wish to protect.

New ways of working for historic environment services

LGA and English Heritage report on innovations in historic environment services and the Historic Environment Local Authority Capacity (HELAC) project.

HELAC Case studies

Through the Historic Environment: Local Authority Capacity (HELAC) project, the LGA is working with five councils to improve and learn from each other. Case studies from these councils, plus an extra three, are now on the Historic Environment Local Management (HELM) website.

Heritage Champions

English Heritage's Heritage Champions scheme includes advice and guidance on being a Local Authority Heritage Champion.

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