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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.

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 three stand-alone provisions.

The Act will:

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

Some of the Act’s measures will come into force in May 2016, but the majority will require further secondary legislation or other preparations before they are brought into effect later this year or in 2017.

The Act will also form the core of an integrated suite of legislation, policy, advice and guidance. Together, these will give Wales flexible and effective systems for the sustainable management of the Welsh historic environment, reflecting current conservation principles and practice.

Chapter 6 of Planning Policy Wales, ‘The Historic Environment’, has been revised to reflect the changes made by the new legislation. It has now been released for public consultation, which will close on 13 June 2016. View the Proposed changes to Planning Policy Wales Chapter 6: The Historic Environment consultation here.

Find out more

Additional information on the Act 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: