Northern Ireland currently has around 52,000 recorded heritage assets, and approximately a quarter of these are protected by formal designation. The Department for Communities also has responsibility for 190 monuments in state care.

The Department’s Historic Environment Division (HED) has drafted a paper entitled ‘Conservation Principles; Guidance for the sustainable management of the historic environment in Northern Ireland’. 

The principles within the document are based on internationally established conservation doctrine, laying out good practice and guidance for conservation of the historic environment.

The Conservation Principles guidance sets out a best practice conservation framework for all aspects of decision making affecting our historic environment. It is intended that by setting out these overarching principles, our process and consistency in decision making and advice is transparent; it will clarify the Department’s position on important matters affecting heritage assets across Northern Ireland, including those in relation to its statutory obligations as set out in the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995, Planning Act (NI) 2011 and The Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (NI) 2015.

The six conservation principles set out within this publication are consistent with the approach by our sister heritage organisations, to ensure a clear, shared approach across these islands.  This publication is tailored to the processes through which the historic environment is managed in Northern Ireland.

The well-informed change management and care of our heritage assets is essential to supporting outcomes within the Department’s five year strategy (Building Inclusive Communities 2020-2025) and also has parallels in the draft Programme for Government and Regional Development Strategy 2035 (RDS).

Why are we consulting?


The purpose of this consultation is to seek the views of all interested parties on the Department’s proposal.  The Department will give due consideration to all responses and a synopsis of responses will be published as soon as practicable following the consultation period.

Anyone with an interest in this area is welcome to respond.

Respond online: Public Consultation on Conservation Principles - Guidance for the sustainable management of the historic environment in Northern Ireland - NI Direct - Citizen Space

Closing date 08 October 2021 at 17:00