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English Heritage and Canal & River Trust pilot nationwide heritage project

The Canal & River Trust is partnering with English Heritage on a national pilot project which could significantly improve the way national custodians of heritage, such as the Trust, are able to look after the listed buildings and structures in their care.

This spring the Trust and English Heritage will run a stakeholder consultation on the draft proposal for a new National Listed Building Consent Order.  The Order would be designed to allow the Trust to carry out pre-determined conservation work to masonry hump back bridges and canal locks without having to seek local authority planning consent every single time.  As the owner of the third largest collection of listed structures in the UK, a Consent Order would allow the Trust to carry out canal heritage repairs more quickly and more efficiently.

Nigel Crowe, head of heritage at the Canal & River Trust, says: “The Canal & River Trust cares for 2,000 miles of nationally important designated and non-designated heritage.  Each year, in looking after the waterway network, we make numerous applications to local authorities for standard heritage repairs and conservation works.  The applications can be both costly and time consuming.

“Being given the opportunity to develop England’s first national Listed Building Consent Order is a great endorsement of the work we do and will enable us to direct our efforts and resources where they can make the most difference.”

Sarah Buckingham, Head of Better Heritage Protection at English Heritage, comments: “Much of the heritage the Canal & River Trust cares for is similar in age, materials and appearance and the work they do is well practiced with the same skills and craftsmanship employed from place to place. For this type of repair and conservation work, a national Listed Building Consent Order will save time and red tape.

“This pilot will be a really exciting opportunity to show how, as a nation, we can look after our heritage even better.  It could also be an exciting forerunner for many other organisations which, between them, look after a significant stock of the nation’s heritage.”

Works covered by the pilot Canal & River Trust Consent Order are likely to include repair and maintenance works, such as replacing lock gates, rebuilding damaged bridge parapets and carrying out occasional alterations in the interest of public safety. A pre-agreed schedule of works will be prepared as a part of the Consent Order and great care will be taken to detail these in such a way that the special interest of listed locks and bridges are protected.

Further information about the project is available at or if you are interested in receiving details of the consultation when it is launched, please email