Conservation Principles

Conservation Principles

Conservation Principles

Conservation Principles for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment in Wales

Cadw published Conservation Principles in March 2011. We will use these principles to guide us when undertaking work on the 127 monuments in our care in Wales. They will also guide us when considering consent and grant applications made to us by others. Cadw’s principles build upon those set out by English Heritage in 2008, and those published by organisations such as the National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland. All these principles share the same objectives of conserving and enhancing the historic environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Cadw, as part of the Welsh Government, is committed to promoting sustainable development and the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the people of Wales. Conservation Principles aims to nurture Wales’s rich culture and heritage as a vehicle for regeneration and for fostering local character and distinctiveness.

The six principles for the sustainable management of the historic environment in Wales are:

  • Historic assets will be managed to sustain their values.
  • Understanding the significance of historic assets is vital.
  • The historic environment is a shared resource.
  • Everyone will be able to participate in sustaining the historic environment.
  • Decisions about change must be reasonable, transparent and consistent.
  • Documenting and learning from decisions is essential.

Explanatory paragraphs about how to apply each of these principles are provided in Conservation Principles.

To assist Cadw and others, a section on ‘Understanding Heritage Values and Assessing Significance’ is included. This defines four heritage values:

  • evidential value
  • historical value
  • aesthetic value
  • communal value

When the evidence for these values is gathered together and assessed for an individual historic asset or an area of historic landscape, it will provide the basis for making a Statement of Significance against which the effects of any proposed changes can be measured.

Finally, the document includes a section called ‘Conservation Principles in Action.’ This will guide Cadw in making decisions or offering advice about changes to significant historic assets. It looks at different levels of change; from routine maintenance and repair, restoration and new work, through to potentially the most damaging and controversial proposals where historic assets are threatened by other overriding interests or the need for enabling development.

Whilst Cadw’s actions can be judged against its conservation principles, they do not replace the Welsh Government’s Planning Policy Wales or relevant Technical Advice Notes. Over time, these principles will feed into the Welsh Government’s planning policy and Cadw encourages everyone in Wales responsible for changes to historic assets to use these principles in developing their proposals.


Planning Policy Wales (WAG Website)

English Heritage conservation principles (EH website)