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Heritage campaign seeks duty of care law

BRITAIN'S HERITAGE is under threat from sustained under investment in maintenance on key historic building and structures, a report has revealed this week.

Current government policy and legislation does not adequately encourage maintenance, leaving most listed buildings in the UK without any duty of care, says the Maintain our Heritage campaign report. The campaign was launched this week by comedian and presenter of the BBC Restoration series, Griff Rhys Jones.

'Listing imposes on an owner a responsibility to obtain building consent for works that would affect the building's character, but there is no obligation on the owner to keep the building in repair, ' the report points out.

'Government should legislate to introduce a statutory duty of care or to enable local authorities to introduce a minimum maintenance code to require owners to maintain listed buildings, ' it adds.

The report points out that owners also frequently lack the skills and funds to properly manage the nation's important buildings. They often take the short term view, which can lead to more serious structural problems in the future.

The campaign has called for more information and support to be made available alongside funding to help building owners tackle the maintenance backlog on their historic buildings.

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