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English Heritage to launch new \'at risk\' register

10 June 2008

English Heritage are creating Europe\'s first all-encompassing register of a country\'s neglected or decaying historic heritage with the intention of introducing new ways to save it.

The Heritage At Risk project, to be launched on 8 July, will, they say, give England a comprehensive knowledge of the state of its protected heritage - and it will be the only country in Europe to have that knowledge.

The information will be kept on a register that will help the nation save what English Heritage describe as "this precious and finite resource".

The Heritage At Risk initiative is based on English Heritage\'s Buildings at Risk Register, published annually since 1998. That, they say, has transformed the approach taken by English Heritage itself, other conservation bodies, local authorities and property owners towards saving Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings.

As the new Heritage At Risk Register rolls out over the next two years following its launch next month it will aim to extend this formula to Grade II buildings, scheduled monuments, archaeology, historic landscapes, parks and gardens, places of worship, conservation areas, battlefields and even designated maritime wrecks.

In fact, it will aim to identify any and every bit of England\'s protected heritage at risk of loss through decay or damage.

As well as 30,687 Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings, English Heritage say there are 19,711 scheduled monuments, 1,595 registered historic parks, gardens and landscapes, 43 battlefields and 45 protected wrecks off our coasts.

Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, says: "Most owners of heritage sites in England do a fantastic job of looking after them but it is a difficult task. Heritage At Risk is not a name and shame exercise. The new register will focus everyone\'s attention on the neediest cases, bringing the owners, councils and others together and harnessing the nation\'s huge enthusiasm for its rich, varied but sometimes fragile past."

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