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Scheduled monuments

There are over 4,000 scheduled monuments in Wales. The principal pieces of primary and subordinate legislation that currently govern their protection and management are:

Primary legislation

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979

This Act is the basic legislation that provides for:

  • the scheduling of monuments of national importance
  • the control of works to scheduled monuments through the scheduled monument consent process
  • action against unauthorised works or deliberate damage to scheduled monuments
  • the acquisition and guardianship of ancient monuments.

The Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016

The Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 made a number of important amendments to the 1979 Act.

Consultation, interim protection and review of decisions to designate historic assets

Owners and others are now formally consulted when a monument is being considered for scheduling or descheduling. Interim protection safeguards a monument from damage or destruction during the consultation period. An owner or occupier is able to request a review of a designation decision.

Extension of the definition of a scheduled monument

The Welsh Ministers can recognise and protect any nationally important sites that provide evidence of past human activity.

Amendments to the criminal offences and defences for damage to scheduled monuments

The Act makes it easier to bring cases of unlawful damage or destruction of scheduled monuments to prosecution by limiting the defence of ignorance of a monument’s status or location. The accused will have to be able to show that all reasonable steps had been taken to find out if a scheduled monument would be harmed or destroyed by their actions.

Introduction of enforcement and temporary stop notices for scheduled monuments

Temporary stop notices give the Welsh Ministers powers to put an immediate halt to unauthorised works or other damage to scheduled monuments. They can use complementary enforcement notices to order repairs to monuments or the fulfilment of scheduled monument consent conditions without going to court.

Amendments to the scheduled monument consent process

A simplified scheduled monument consent process uses modern communications for the authorisation of minor works.

Powers of entry for the archaeological investigation of ancient monuments in danger of damage or destruction

If an ancient monument is at immediate risk of damage or destruction, the Welsh Ministers can authorise archaeological excavations without the owner’s consent.

Introduction of heritage partnership agreements

Heritage partnership agreements will bring owners, consenting authorities and other interested parties together to create long-term management plans for historic assets. The plans will cover agreed programmes of works and incorporate scheduled monument and/or listed building consents. Provision still to be commenced.

 

Further information on the scheduled monument provisions of the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 can be found in the following fact sheets.

Subordinate legislation

The Ancient Monuments (Class Consents) Order 1994

This Order permits the continuation of certain classes of works — for instance, agricultural and forestry works — without the need to apply for scheduled monument consent if those works have been legally carried out in the same location during the previous six years.

The Ancient Monuments (Claims for Compensation) (Wales) Regulations 2017

If the Welsh Ministers choose not to schedule a monument or add to a scheduled area, any person with an interest in the monument when interim protection took effect may claim compensation for loss or damage directly attributable to its operation. These Regulations establish the procedures for such claims, which must be made within six months from the date that interim protection ceased.

The Scheduled Monuments (Review of Scheduling Decisions) (Wales) Regulations 2017

These Regulations supplement the 2016 Act’s provisions by setting out the grounds for reviews of scheduling decisions and various detailed procedural matters.

The Ancient Monuments (Applications for Scheduled Monument Consent) (Wales) Regulations 2017

These Regulations set out the requirements for an application for scheduled monument consent and define the circumstances under which a streamlined process to grant scheduled monument consent process for minor works.