Established under The Heritage Act 1995, the Heritage Council is a public body whose mission is to develop a wide understanding of the vital contribution that our heritage makes to our social, environmental & economic well-being.
Our heritage is all around us. It includes our landscapes, countryside, rivers and lakes, our archaeological sites, our buildings, our history, folklore, language and customs. It’s what makes our places special. Heritage gives a place its identity, its character, its distinctiveness. As we plan for our own futures, we must also plan for the future of our heritage. Wise planning will ensure that the best elements of this heritage — those that enhance our communities and enrich our lives — will be passed from generation to generation. In doing so, we will also ensure that our local areas and communities are good places in which to live and work.
The Heritage Council has a particular responsibility to promote interest, education, knowledge and pride in national heritage. In its current strategic plan "Our Place in time" the Heritage Council has set out its core principles and goals.
The Heritage Council provides policy advice for government on heritage issues that include sustainability, landscape management, high nature value farming, forestry and climate change.
Education has always been at the heart of the Heritage Council’s work programme. Our Heritage in Schools Scheme, in particular, plays a key role in encouraging interest and participation from an early age. We also support a wide range of professional development programmes that to date have dealt with landscape, museums, archaeology and traditional skills.
We raise awareness
Through our publications, promotions, social media and the hugely successful National Heritage Week we focus on contacting, informing, engaging and even entertaining as wide and as varied a range of people as possible. We are ever-conscious of the need to remind people of the value and beauty of heritage in a time where so many other issues and events compete for their attention.
We work with local communities
Community involvement is at the heart of the Heritage Council’s vision for national heritage. Our work with local communities supports jobs, education and heritage tourism in our local areas, delivering a rich tourism experience and excellent practice in the care of our nation’s valuable heritage assets.
Since our establishment in 1995, we have put in place heritage infrastructure and networks to enable communities participate in and take responsibility for the development and conservation of the heritage of their areas. Success has been achieved through working in partnership with local authorities and statutory agencies. The results of such projects include the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Programme, the Heritage Officer Programme and a wide range of projects undertaken under the Community Heritage Grant Scheme.
We work with partners
The Heritage Council works with partners, particularly at local level, to increase awareness of our national heritage and to highlight its importance to public policy and everyday life.
Most important is our ongoing relationships with local authorities across the country. Building expertise and resources at local level has been a key objective of the Heritage Council since it was established in 1995. Management and responsibility of heritage at local level is often the best means to ensure its long-term care and sustainable use.
The Heritage Council has a complex national brief across natural, cultural and built heritage which places a heavy and welcome reliance on us to work with others to achieve common aims together. In addition, the Heritage Council provides core funding to a number of bodies in order to support the needs of the sector and to help achieve shared aims. Find out more
We support the heritage sector
The projects and initiatives we fund, participate in or support in other ways are carried out in line with best conservation practice. They help support and maintain a wide network of highly-skilled heritage professionals that includes conservators, thatchers, builders, ecologists, archaeologists, conservation architects and museum curators.
Our work complements and builds on the work of other state heritage bodies which have primary responsibility for the care of property in state ownership and the designation of protected areas.