Heritage needs to be taken seriously

CONSERVATION and Heritage organisations in the East of England have served notice on the Government that it does not take the country's historic heritage seriously enough.

CONSERVATION and Heritage organisations in the East of England have served notice on the Government that it does not take the country's historic heritage seriously enough.

Launching this year's Heritage Counts report on the state of the region's historic environment Andrew Derrick, of English Heritage said: "Heritage is something we tend to take for granted and once it's damaged you can't get it back.

The East of England report is one of nine regional reports published in response to the Government's statement on the historic environment, published in 2001.

It was prepared by English Heritage on behalf of a regional forum of organisations concerned with heritage and environment, including the National Trust, the heritage lottery fund, the Historic Houses Association, the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and the Civic Trust to try to influence policy.

Mr Derrick said: "We have to fund a resource which once lost can't be replaced but does have huge economic and social potential."

The report highlights that the East of England is one of three regions with the greatest number of monuments, 3%, at high risk of severe damage or loss within five years.

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Michael Knights, a conservation officer from Norfolk and regional chairman for the East Anglia branch of the (IHBC) Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation said: "It's a hell of a task we are facing because you are up against enormous pressure from developers, redevelopment, new shopping patterns and so on."

He said having enough resources to do the job was very important and that conservation officers were really undervalued and under-resourced in England.

He warned that if they did not get political support conservation officers would drift away from the job.

He said he hoped people in Government would read the report and realise that more resources had to be put into it

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