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English Heritage has produced a useful Heritage Protection Glossary. You can click on each letter to go to an appropriate set of definitions of terms used within heritage protection legislation and documents. The beauty of it is that it gives official English Heritage definitions but also ones from other bodies such as UNESCO and from Acts of Parliament.

Three definitions caught our eye:


Heritage: “All inherited resources which people value for reasons beyond mere utility.” [English Heritage, 2008]

… which is much more powerful and succinct than the alternative one from ICOMOS (see here) as it explains to people very clearly why, for instance, progressively slicing a plough through a dolmen isn’t a victimless crime.


Buffer zone: “A buffer zone is an area surrounding [a] property which has complementary legal and/or customary restrictions placed on its use constituting and development to give an added layer of protection to the property. This should include the immediate setting of the property, important views and other areas or attributes that are functionally important as a support to the property and its protection. The area the buffer zone should be determined in each case through appropriate mechanisms.” [UNESCO 2005]

Of course, that’s a UNESCO definition not a UK one and needs to be read with other entries such as Setting and Significance (see here). What really sticks out though is how the ideal definitions expressed under those headings somehow don’t stand up very strongly in the eyes of Inspectors when considering Planning Appeals, especially ones involving wind farms. Amongst other things of course the Government has effectively said to them if its going to generate loads of juice the country needs it, so say yes!  


But of most topical interest is “Restoration” as it seems that the Judge in the Priddy vandal case is considering the cost of doing that  – which means, presumably, it is being considered as an option by the authorities.

1) “To return a place to a known earlier state, on the basis of compelling evidence, without conjecture. [English Heritage, 2008]
2) “Returning the existing fabric of a place to a known earlier state by removing accretions or by reassembling existing components without the introduction of new material.” [Australia ICOMOS 1996]

It does seem that whatever is being considered for Priddy it won’t be “Restoration” under those definitions. Actually, it may well be that the word we were provided with was “Reinstatement” – but the general dictionary definition of that – bring back into use or existence or restore to a previous condition or position is equally impossible to achieve.


September 2012

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