Climate Change and the Historic Environment

Flooding at Rievaulx Abbey, 2005.

Climate change is one of the most important and urgent problems facing us today. Without action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the direct impacts of a changing climate will have major adverse effects on society, the economy and the environment, including our cultural heritage. The wide-ranging actions required to limit further damaging emissions, combined with the need to adapt historic assets to make them more resilient to a changing climate, will also have significant implications for the historic environment.

English Heritage is the Government's adviser on the historic environment. Our responsibilities include the understanding and conservation of archaeology on land and under water; historic buildings, sites and areas; designed landscapes and the historic aspects of the wider landscape. We also manage an estate of more than 400 historic properties.

The statement Climate Change and the Historic Environment, which updates and replaces our 2006 position paper, sets out our current thinking on the implications of climate change for the historic environment. It is intended both for the heritage sector and also for those involved in the wider scientific and technical aspects of climate change; in the development of strategies and plans relating to climate change impacts; or in projects relating to risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation.

Alongside this high-level statement, English Heritage continues to publish more detailed research and guidance relating to climate change and its implications for the historic environment.

What's New?

Flooding at Rivaulx Abbey, 2005.