Evidence paper for the Culture, Welsh Language & Communications Committee on the Historic Environment


The historic environment of Wales makes a vital contribution to our sense of identity and sense of place – and makes an important contribution to our economy and well being.

Wales’s historic assets include:

Ø 3 World Heritage Sites

Ø 30,000+ listed buildings

Ø 500 Conservation areas

Ø 4,100 scheduled monuments

Ø 6 designated historic wrecks

Ø 390 registered historic parks and gardens

Ø 58 registered historic landscapes


Cadw, the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service, looks after and opens to the public 129 monuments across Wales.  Of these, 29 are staffed sites and the remainder are free open-access sites. Cadw’s wider role includes the provision of advice and support for the thousands of people and organisations across Wales who live in or care for historic buildings and monuments – the great majority of which are in private ownership. For example, during 2016/17 Cadw considered 1869 consultations and applications relating to designated historic assets.


Cadw also supports Ministers in determining which historic assets warrant statutory protection, and the development and implementation of strategy and policy for the historic environment.


Cadw’s future status

Earlier this year, the Cabinet Secretary accepted the recommendations of a steering group set up to review the future of heritage services in Wales: a new Strategic Partnership and the future of Cadw. This included a recommendation to consider options for the future governance arrangements of Cadw, and to test these against the status quo of retaining Cadw within government.  A project board was established with representation across Welsh Government to oversee the delivery of the project and the business case has been developed through a thorough and inclusive process. The advice will be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary shortly before subsequent consideration by Cabinet.


Facilitating collaboration within the sector;

The steering group also recommended greater collaboration between our leading heritage institutions including the establishment of a Strategic Partnership between Cadw, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the National Library of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru. This was established in May 2017 and includes participation from TUS colleagues. The partnership provides a real opportunity to bring a sharper focus and clearer identity to the commercial work of our national institutions, especially at a time of pressure on our public finances.  It is currently considering development of several initiatives including skills development, commercial, and collaborative delivery of back office functions. 


Other collaborations include:


Collaboration with heritage assets in the private sector;

The vast majority of historic assets in Wales are in private ownership. Cadw provides a key role in providing support, advice and mentoring for owners and occupiers – either through direct contact or through the publication of management advice and guidance.


Cadw also works with organisations responsible for privately owned historic assets including the Historic Houses Association and the Country Landowners and Business Association – who are represented on the Historic Environment Group.


An example of the close working between the public and private sector is the Cadw-led Open Doors programme held every September - the largest annual celebration of architecture and heritage to be held in Wales providing free public access to hundreds of historic properties, many of which are in private ownership. 


Cadw works closely with Visit Wales to explore new opportunities for promoting the tourism potential of the historic environment. This will also be a key objective of the new historic Wales Strategic Partnership.



Maximising the value of heritage tourism and Cadw’s work to meet its income generation targets;

Cadw sites provide income from admissions, retail, membership, corporate hire and other commercial initiatives. 2016/17 saw Cadw’s most successful year on record, with 1.4m visitors to staffed sites and £6.6m income received. This is reinvested into the care and protection of the historic environment.


In each of the last three years Cadw income has exceeded ambitious targets (see Annex 1). In exceeding these targets, Cadw has run several successful and award-winning marketing campaigns encouraging visitors to the historic sites in the care of Welsh Government, and delivers ground-breaking events at its sites to attract new and repeat visitors.


For example, the 2016 Historic Adventures campaign began with the introduction of a large dragon sculpture at Caerphilly Castle on St David’s Day. The campaign exceeded all expectations and targets, generating unprecedented interest and contributing to Cadw’s most successful year on record. From the campaign’s launch to its end in September there were 728k paying visitors to all Cadw sites (+3.63% YOY) generating £844k income (+71.47 YOY).


The legacy of the dragons continues, with a female and two baby dragons introduced as part of the spring/summer 2017 Live the Legends campaign. Results to date suggest commercial performance and footfall continues to grow, with record numbers attending sites featured on the ‘dragons tour’.


Implementation of the Historic Environment Act

The Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 received Royal Assent on 21 March 2016, giving Wales the most progressive historic environment legislation in the UK. With the greater part of the Act’s provisions in force, Wales now has:

·         Statutory historic environment records (HERs) for every local authority area

Maintained by the four Welsh archaeological trusts on behalf of the Welsh Ministers, the records are freely available on the Archwilio website. They provide essential evidence for decisions on the sustainable management of the historic environment and help people engage with their local heritage. They are the first statutory historic environment records in the UK.

·         A statutory list of historic place names

Another ‘first’ for Wales. Compiled and maintained on behalf of the Welsh Ministers by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the list is accessible online  or through the historic environment records. It has been well received and will raise awareness of the importance of our historic place names and encourage their continuing use. Statutory guidance directs certain public bodies to take account of the list if naming or renaming properties in the discharge of their functions.

·         More open and accountable systems for the designation of historic assets

New requirements for formal consultation with owners and occupiers and rights of review have put Wales in the lead amongst the UK nations in making the processes for scheduling a monument or listing a building more transparent and accountable. During the consultation period, an asset receives interim protection as if already designated.

·         New and enhanced arrangements for the protection and management of scheduled monuments

A greater range of nationally important archaeological sites can now be protected as scheduled monuments.  The Act has introduced new measures to halt damage to scheduled monuments and enforce their restoration augmenting existing powers of prosecution. These new measures are supported by the provision of online access to reliable information on the location and extent of scheduled monuments through Cof Cymru — National Historic Assets of Wales.A simplified scheduled monument consent process for uncontentious works is already saving time for owners and Cadw staff.

·         New and enhanced measures for the protection of listed buildings

Local authorities have new powers to put an immediate stop to unauthorised works to a listed building. They can also undertake urgent works to halt the deterioration of any listed building, provided that they do not unreasonably interfere with residential use. In a move to reduce the financial risks associated with urgent works, local authorities can make the costs a local land charge, charge interest on outstanding sums and employ a number of mechanisms for recovery.

Four provisions of the Act remain to be commenced:

·         Heritage partnership agreements(Sections 11 and 28)

These voluntary agreements, which support the consistent long-term management of scheduled monuments and listed buildings, will benefit both owners and consenting authorities by embodying the necessary consents for agreed routine works. Since these agreements will last for a number of years, it is important that the regulations and associated guidance are well-founded and practical. Drawing upon the experience of such agreements in England, we are seeking partners for pilot schemes to inform further progress. The aim is to commence the provisions in 2018.

·         Statutory register of historic parks and gardens in Wales(Section 18)

The boundaries of 390 parks and gardens on the existing non-statutory register have been reviewed. Before the statutory register is brought into force, all known owners and occupiers of these sites will be notified of the boundaries of the registered areas during the remainder of 2017 and early 2018.

·         Preservation of listed buildings in disrepair(Section 31)

This provision provides for new regulations to give local authorities additional powers to secure the proper preservation of listed buildings in disrepair. However, the input of stakeholders across the historic environment sector will be needed to shape effective legislation. While deteriorating listed buildings are a cause for concern, new regulations need to be genuinely useful to local authorities and contribute positively to the resolution of the complex challenges posed by such buildings. Research commissioned to inform proposals for the regulations will be published shortly.

·         Advisory Panel for the Welsh Historic Environment(Sections 38 and 39)

It would be premature to consider the detailed arrangements for the Advisory Panel until the Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet has concluded the review on the future governance arrangements for Cadw.

From the outset of the legislative process, we recognised that up-to-date planning policy and advice for the historic environment would be needed to reflect and support the provisions of the 2016 Act. We have now published:

These publications will help local authorities, the third sector, developers and owners and occupiers to manage the historic environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

Protection for listed buildings and scheduled monuments;


During 2016 and 2017, a series of measures have been, or are being, introduced to support the management and protection of listed buildings and scheduled monuments in Wales.








Protection for buildings and monuments at risk;


Monuments at Risk Survey: Since 1985 Cadw field monument wardens have undertaken a systematic programme of monitoring the condition of scheduled monuments, supported by aerial photographic surveys undertaken by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

The survey involves the collection of robust evidence that is used to identify the nature and extent of threats and risks and to focus positive conservation work and grants to monuments in most need. It also allows the provision of advice and the development of management agreements with owners. 


The condition of listed buildings in Wales: Surveys of the condition of listed buildings have been carried out in Wales for over 15 years and are currently undertaken over a five-year rolling period, surveying approximately 20% of listed buildings stock in Wales per year using a consistent methodology.  The latest available data suggests a modest improvement with the number of buildings either ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ falling to 8.54%.. The surveys provide local authorities and Cadw with a sound evidence base for strategies to address buildings at risk, and to target any grant-giving programmes.


Tackling buildings at risk requires a proactive and collaborative approach. For example, Cadw is working with other government departments and local authorities in a range of urban regeneration initiatives, and is taking the lead in a strategic action plan for places of worship, many of which face an uncertain future. Cadw also supports organisations that are directly involved with the management of buildings at risk, such as the Heritage Trust Network, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust.


Where positive support fails, there is a range of statutory measures available to enable local authorities to take remedial action. These measures are outlined in new guidance, Managing Listed Buildings at Risk in Wales, which also provides guidance on the identification of problems and their causes, and how to manage them through positive action wherever possible.


Delivery of Baroness Andrews’ Culture and Poverty report;


The recommendations in Baroness Andrews’ Culture and Poverty report have been progressed through our innovative Fusion: Creating Opportunities through Culture Programme.  The aim is to eliminate barriers to cultural participation and boost skills, engagement, self-esteem and aspiration, particularly in areas experiencing economic disadvantage. Fusion has enabled a wide range of cultural organisations to contribute to a shared anti-poverty agenda by developing new, exciting opportunities for people living in the most deprived communities in Wales. The evaluation of the Programme has demonstrated that cultural bodies are developing more coherent and collaborative approaches to tackling poverty.


Fusion pilot phase in 2015-17: saw the establishment of an innovative delivery model – the Pioneer Area approach. Ten coalitions of cultural and community organisations across Wales delivered activities including digital heritage programmes, schemes to encourage young people and their families to visit museums, volunteering and work experience, and projects using heritage to encourage healthier lifestyles. During the pilot phase, over 100 partners collaborated to offer opportunities to over 5,000 participants. This included:


Fusion 2017-18: Building on the pilot phase, the Programme is now being aligned to wider Welsh Government policy for supporting resilient communities focusing on three themes - employability and skills, supporting the early years, and supporting health and wellbeing. Current initiatives include the Fusion Challenge Grants Programme launched in March 2017 and transformative programme, Cultural Ambition, which will create 33, 12-month training placements in the heritage sector across Wales, targeted at young people who are NEET, particularly from disadvantaged communities.


The Andrew’s report has also inspired other initiatives, notably the development of a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a major youth-focused community archaeology programme: ‘Unloved Heritage’. This will be delivered over the next three years by Cadw in partnership with the Archaeological Trusts and the Royal Commission

Annex 1


Breakdown of Cadw income over the last three years – on each occasion the actual income generated has exceeded ambitious targets


Income Stream

2016-17 target

2016-17 actuals

2016-7 variance

















Commercial Hire




Estate Income













Income Stream

2015-16 target

2015-16 actuals

2015-6 variance




Total Admissions




Total Retail




Total Membership




Commercial Hire




Estate Income













Income Stream

2014-15 target

2014-15 actual

2014-5 variance





Total Admissions




Total Retail




Total Membership




Commercial Hire




Estate Income