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The Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016

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This Act is about protecting our past for the Wales of tomorrow.

The Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 (external link) received Royal Assent and became law on 21 March 2016. It is the first legislation enacted specifically for the Welsh historic environment.

The Act makes important changes to the two main UK laws that provide the legislative framework for the protection and management of the historic environment: the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. It also incorporates stand-alone provisions establishing: statutory historic environment records, a list of historic place names and an advisory panel for the historic environment.

The Act:

  • gives more effective protection to listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments;
  • improves the sustainable management of the historic environment; and
  • introduces greater transparency and accountability into decisions taken on the historic environment.

Most of the Act’s provisions are now in force, but a few still require further preparatory work or secondary legislation before they can be brought into effect.

The Act stands at the centre of an integrated suite of legislation, policy, advice and guidance for the historic environment. 

These include:

Together, these will give Wales flexible and effective systems for the sustainable management of the Welsh historic environment, reflecting current conservation principles and practice.

Find out more

Additional information on the Act and its implementation is available on the Cadw website (external link).

If you would like to keep informed about the implementation of the Act or progress on the supporting policy, advice and guidance, sign up for regular e-newsletters by sending your email address to: historicenvironmentleg@gov.wales.