Session: 2011/2012

Date: 04 July 2012

Reference: Report on Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings

ISBN: 978-0-339-60439-1

Mandate Number: Tenth Report

Committee: Public Accounts

nia-64-11-15.pdf (1.52 mb)

Public Accounts Committee

Report on Safeguarding
Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings

Together with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee
Relating to the Report and the Minutes of Evidence

Ordered by The Public Accounts Committee to be printed 4 July 2012
Report: NIA 64/11-15 Public Accounts Committee

Mandate 2011/15 Tenth Report

***Corrigendum***

On page 6, in paragraph 17 after "DOE policy since 2008 is that", delete "all" and insert "most".

Certain categories of listed buildings (such as lower grade churches, those owned by Government/public bodies, housing associations funded by public monies, and large commercial organisations and multinationals) are not eligible for assistance.

Membership and Powers

The Public Accounts Committee is a Standing Committee established in accordance with Standing Orders under Section 60(3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. It is the statutory function of the Public Accounts Committee to consider the accounts, and reports on accounts laid before the Assembly.

The Public Accounts Committee is appointed under Assembly Standing Order No. 56 of the Standing Orders for the Northern Ireland Assembly. It has the power to send for persons, papers and records and to report from time to time. Neither the Chairperson nor Deputy Chairperson of the Committee shall be a member of the same political party as the Minister of Finance and Personnel or of any junior minister appointed to the Department of Finance and Personnel.

The Committee has 11 members including a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson and a quorum of 5.

The membership of the Committee since 23 May 2011 has been as follows:

Ms Michaela Boyle (Chairperson)[1]
Mr Joe Byrne (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Sydney Anderson
Mr Michael Copeland
Mr John Dallat
Mr Alex Easton
Mr Paul Girvan
Mr Ross Hussey
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin
Mr Adrian McQuillan[2]
Mr Conor Murphy[3]

[1] With effect from 2 July 2012 Ms Michaela Boyle replaced Mr Paul Maskey

[2] With effect from 24 October 2011 Mr Adrian McQuillan replaced Mr Paul Frew

[3] With effect from 23 January 2012 Mr Conor Murphy replaced Ms Jennifer McCann

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations used in the Report

Report

Executive Summary

Summary of Recommendations

Introduction

Surveying Historic Buildings to Assess their Suitability for Listing

Measuring the Performance of NIEA's Grant Scheme in Improving the Listed Buildings Stock

Enforcing Measures to Safeguard Listed Buildings from Damage or Destruction

Appendix 1

Minutes of Proceedings

Appendix 2:

Minutes of Evidence

Appendix 3:

Correspondence

Appendix 4:

List of Witnesses

List of Abbreviations used in the Report

the Committee - Public Accounts Committee

DOE - Department of the Environment

NIEA - Northern Ireland Environment Agency

OFMDFM - Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

Executive Summary

1. Listed buildings are an important part of the built heritage. They can help to maintain local identity and contribute to quality of life for communities, as well as playing an important role in tourism and economic development initiatives. There are currently around 8,500 listed buildings in Northern Ireland. The decision to list a building is based on a survey undertaken by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) that assesses each building against specific criteria, including condition and style.

2. The survey to identify buildings suitable for listing was originally due for completion in 2008 but is not now expected to be finished until 2020, taking in total 25 years. The original timeframe for the work was unrealistic, and management of the work was not as effective as it should have been. Slow progress of this nature increases the risk that buildings that should be listed could be demolished or damaged before they are surveyed. It is therefore important that there is no further slippage in the timetable.

3. Almost 60 per cent of buildings surveyed up to March 2012 did not meet the standard for listing. This element of the survey cost £1.57 million. Unnecessary survey work is a poor use of taxpayers' money, and NIEA must do more to reduce the numbers of unsuitable buildings that are being surveyed.

4. There is no statutory requirement for owners of listed buildings to maintain them in good condition, and NIEA offers grant assistance in order to encourage conservation. Despite having provided almost £20 million of grants since 2005-06, the only specific measure of performance for the historic buildings grant scheme since it began in 1974 has been the degree to which the grants budget for each financial year has been spent. This is unacceptable. In the absence of appropriate performance measures, the Department cannot provide evidence on the effectiveness of the scheme as a whole.

5. The NI Sustainable Development Strategy contains a target to remove 200 structures from the Built Heritage at Risk Register by 2016. The Committee considered that this target could be met, in theory, if buildings were simply lost: that is, if they went from being 'at risk' to 'beyond rescue'. This is a particular risk where a listed building occupies a site that would be more valuable to its owners if the building were removed. Currently, there is no mechanism that allows NIEA to target its grant aid on the most important or urgent cases on the Built Heritage At Risk register, and this needs to be addressed.

6. Around 850 listed buildings are owned by the public sector, which has specific responsibilities to maintain them in a good condition. Despite this, 31 are currently on the at-risk register. Furthermore Departments, including DOE itself, have not complied with requirements to report on the condition of their listed buildings. A new protocol setting out requirements for the care of the government historic estate was launched on 19 June 2012. This is important, as the public sector must act as an exemplar and be seen to give a clear lead in this area.

7. NIEA recognises the need to be more willing to take enforcement action in cases where persuasion and negotiation have clearly failed. The need for timely enforcement action is illustrated by the Stable Block at Sion Mills, where NIEA's failure to act decisively resulted in deterioration to a point that threatened its long-term survival. It is completely unacceptable that NIEA dragged its heels on this case for so many years, and lessons must be learnt from it.

8. Some listed buildings originally owned by public bodies have not fared well since they were acquired by private owners. They are particularly vulnerable when they were already in poor condition at the time of sale, as was the case with the former courthouse on Crumlin Road in Belfast. NIEA should have taken decisive action long before now to halt its decline, and its failure thus far to use its powers to rescue the courthouse makes it appear toothless and ineffective.

Summary of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

1. The Committee recommends that NIEA puts in place a formal plan to ensure that the listed buildings survey is completed as soon as practicable and by 2020 at the latest. The plan should specify the remaining work to be done; the associated budgetary and personnel requirements; and delivery milestones against which to measure performance on an ongoing basis.

Recommendation 2

2. Undertaking unnecessary survey work is a poor use of taxpayers' money. At a time when public expenditure is particularly constrained, NIEA must be able to demonstrate that it is making best use of its resources. The Committee recommends that NIEA reduces the proportion of surveyed buildings that do not qualify for listing and sets an early date for achieving its 40 per cent target rate.

Recommendation 3

3. It is essential that grant schemes have clear objectives and that the outcomes of the expenditure can be properly evaluated. The Committee recommends that NIEA puts in place a formal performance measurement framework for the listed buildings grant scheme that will allow the results achieved from this element of its expenditure to be quantified and used to revise the scheme, as necessary.

Recommendation 4

12. It is important that grant is targeted on the most vulnerable and valuable buildings. The Committee recommends that NIEA formally prioritises the structures on the Built Heritage at Risk Register and actively encourages owners to access available grant aid in order to undertake the improvements necessary to remove them from the register.

Recommendation 5

4. The new protocol for the care of public listed buildings is an important step in safeguarding them. The Committee recommends that the NIEA publishes the finished condition reports for listed buildings owned by the DOE on its website, to act as a benchmark for assessing the performance of the rest of the public sector. It should also publish the reports for other publicly owned listings when they become available.

Recommendation 6

5. Timely and robust use of enforcement powers, including vesting, is vital to safeguard listed buildings and rescue those that are at risk, in order to send a strong message to negligent owners who fail to prevent deterioration or damage. The Committee recommends that NIEA steps up its enforcement effort, using trigger points to instigate specific measures in individual cases where persuasion and negotiation have clearly failed.

Recommendation 7

6. The public sector cannot shirk its responsibilities for its former listed buildings that are now in private ownership. The Committee recommends that the Department takes timely and effective enforcement action to secure the future of any such buildings and, if required, to rescue those that are at risk. Such action should include carrying out repairs directly and recouping the cost from the owners or, if necessary, being prepared to take the buildings back into public ownership.

Introduction

1. The Public Accounts Committee (the Committee) met on 23 May 2012 to consider the Comptroller and Auditor General's report "Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings". The main witnesses were:

  • Mr Leo O'Reilly, Accounting Officer of the Department of the Environment;
  • Mr Michael Coulter, Director of Built Heritage, NI Environment Agency;
  • Mr Manus Deery, Principal Conservation Architect, Historic Buildings Unit, NI Environment Agency;
  • Ms Fiona McCandless, Director, Department of the Environment Local Planning Division;
  • Mr Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General; and
  • Mr John McKibbin, Acting Treasury Officer of Accounts.

2. Listed buildings are an important part of the built heritage, which is an irreplaceable cultural asset. They can help to maintain local identity and contribute to quality of life for communities, as well as playing an important role in tourism and economic development initiatives. A recent report[1] commissioned by the Department of the Environment estimated that the historic environment as a whole contributes £250 million of tourism revenue each year, £135 million of which comes from non-domestic visitors.

3. The Department for the Environment is responsible for undertaking measures to safeguard the built heritage and its conservation role is carried out by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

4. In taking evidence, the Committee focused on:

  • progress of the survey to identify buildings suitable for listing;
  • the performance of the historic grant scheme in improving listed buildings; and
  • enforcement of measures to safeguard buildings from damage or destruction.

Surveying historic buildings to assess their suitability for listing

5. There are currently around 8,500 listed buildings in Northern Ireland. Listing is a statutory designation that affords a historic building protection against unauthorised alteration or demolition. The decision to list a building is based on a survey that assesses each building against specific criteria, including condition and style. In 1995, the NI Environment Agency (NIEA) began a comprehensive survey exercise to update and improve the quality of information in its listed buildings database. No budget was ever set for the survey overall, but costs up to 31 March 2012 were approximately £2.6 million.

Delays in completing the survey

6. The survey was originally due for completion in 2008 but is not now expected to be finished until 2020, taking a total of 25 years. The Department acknowledged to the Committee that the survey has gone on for longer than it should. The original timeframe for the work was unrealistic, and the stop-start rate of progress in the first 10 years indicates that management of the work was not as effective as it should have been. NIEA underestimated the amount of work involved with the survey, did not provide enough staff resources to process the results of the survey and failed to manage the contractors effectively.

7. There was also poor cost control. NIEA did not set a budget for the work; survey contractors were paid on hourly rate rather than a fixed cost; and there were significant variations in the cost of the contracts per building surveyed. This issue has been rectified in the current contracts, where NIEA determines the workload in advance and the contracts are fixed-price.

8. Resource constraints in 2011-12 have once again led to a delay in processing survey records in NIEA. Slow progress of this nature increases the risk that historic buildings could be demolished or damaged before they are surveyed. To address this risk, there are arrangements in place for ad hoc surveys of individual structures where NIEA becomes aware of a particular threat to their survival. Nevertheless, it is important that there is no further slippage in the timetable for completing the survey.

Recommendation 1

9. The Committee recommends that NIEA puts in place a formal plan to ensure that the listed buildings survey is completed as soon as practicable and by 2020 at the latest. The plan should specify the remaining work to be done; the associated budgetary and personnel requirements; and delivery milestones against which to measure performance on an ongoing basis.

The scope of survey work

10. Almost 60 per cent of buildings surveyed up to March 2012 did not meet the standard for listing. This element of the survey cost £1.57 million. While it is to be expected that some buildings will be rejected, this rate is clearly too high, and NIEA took too long to get to grips with the situation. The Department said that the failure rate is currently around 50 per cent, but that it is working to reduce it gradually to 40 per cent. The Committee welcomes the improved scoping arrangements now used by NIEA to target buildings for survey before contractors begin work. This is a key step towards achieving the 40 per cent target.

11. In order to reduce this failure rate further, it is important that NIEA uses all relevant sources of information. Before commencing survey work in any given area, NIEA engages widely with stakeholders, including local Councils, other public bodies and voluntary groups, in order to gather relevant information. The Committee would also expect NIEA to explore additional sources of information, including electronic mapping information from OSNI. NIEA must minimise the likelihood that large numbers of unsuitable buildings could be included in the survey, to ensure that it uses public monies efficiently and effectively.

Recommendation 2

12. Undertaking unnecessary survey work is a poor use of taxpayers' money. At a time when public expenditure is particularly constrained, NIEA must be able to demonstrate that it is making best use of its resources. The Committee recommends that NIEA reduces the proportion of surveyed buildings that do not qualify for listing and sets an early date for achieving its 40 per cent target rate.

Measuring the performance of NIEA's grant scheme in improving the listed buildings stock

13. There is no statutory requirement for owners of listed buildings to maintain them in good condition, and NIEA offers grant assistance in order to encourage conservation. The rate of grant reflects the higher cost of making repairs to listed buildings relative to more modern buildings.

Assessing the impact of grant assistance

14. Since 2005-06, around 9 per cent of listed buildings have received grant aid of almost £20 million towards the cost of approved repairs. However, despite this significant expenditure, NIEA's only specific measure of performance for the historic buildings grant scheme since it began in 1974 has been the degree to which the budget for each financial year has been spent.

15. The grant scheme is a key element of NIEA's conservation work and a driver for delivering positive change. It is therefore important that NIEA is able to measure the scheme's success in persuading and enabling owners to undertake repairs, not least in cases where no other source of grant funding is available to them. In the Committee's view, the Department cannot provide evidence of the overall effectiveness of the scheme in the absence of such basic performance measures.

Recommendation 3

16. It is essential that grant schemes have clear objectives and that the outcomes of the expenditure can be properly evaluated. The Committee recommends that NIEA puts in place a formal performance measurement framework for the listed buildings grant scheme that will allow the results achieved from this element of its expenditure to be quantified and used to revise the scheme, as necessary.

Targeting expenditure on buildings that are at risk

17. DOE policy since 2008 is that all listed buildings in certain categories are equally eligible for grant aid, regardless of their importance, rarity or vulnerability. The Department recognises, however, that funding constraints mean that some targeting may be necessary, in the future.

18. The NI Sustainable Development Strategy contains a target to remove 200 structures from the Built Heritage at Risk Register[2] by 2016. NIEA did not meet its annual target for the number to be removed from the Register in 2011-12 but told the Committee it expects to achieve the overall 2016 target. While this is welcome, the Committee considered that this target could be met, in theory, if buildings were simply lost: that is, if they went from being 'at risk' to 'beyond rescue'. This is a particular risk where a listed building occupies a site that would be more commercially valuable to its owners if the building were removed.

19. Previously, NIEA's efforts in respect of buildings at risk focused largely on encouraging their owners to repair them. While this is the most desirable outcome, the Committee welcomes NIEA's recent moves to prioritise buildings on the Register for more targeted action, including enforcement measures, where persuasion tactics have failed. This move to a firmer approach in specific problem cases is overdue. However the Committee believes there is scope to go further and put in place a mechanism to direct grant aid to the most important or urgent cases.

Recommendation 4

20. It is important that grant is targeted on the most vulnerable and valuable buildings. The Committee recommends that NIEA formally prioritises the structures on the Built Heritage at Risk Register and actively encourages owners to access available grant aid in order to undertake the improvements necessary to remove them from the register.

Conserving listed buildings owned by the public sector

21. Around 10 per cent of listed buildings are owned by the public sector, which has specific responsibilities to maintain them in a good condition. Despite this, 31 of the 858 listed buildings owned by public bodies are currently on the at-risk register, and some have fallen into serious disrepair as a result of long-term neglect. This is unacceptable. The public sector must act as an exemplar and be seen to give a clear lead in this area.

22. In addition, Government departments, including DOE itself, have not complied with formal requirements to report on the condition of their listed buildings. The condition reports were intended to include a planned programme of maintenance and repairs and a protection strategy (repair, re-use or disposal) for buildings at risk.

23. A new Northern Ireland protocol setting out requirements for the care of the government historic estate has been agreed between NIEA and OFMDFM and was launched on 19 June 2012. By June 2013, bodies will be required to submit condition reports to NIEA, who will report overall results to the Assembly's Environment Committee. The Department intends to use the reports on its own listed buildings to illustrate to other Departments what is required by the protocol. This is important, and the Committee is strongly of the view that DOE must be able to demonstrate that it is leading by example and fully discharging its own responsibilities.

Recommendation 5

24. The new protocol for the care of public listed buildings is an important step in safeguarding them. The Committee recommends that NIEA publishes the finished condition reports for the listed buildings owned by DOE on its website, to act as a benchmark for assessing the performance of the rest of the public sector. NIEA should also publish the condition reports for other publicly owned listed buildings when they become available.

Enforcing measures to safeguard listed buildings from damage or destruction

25. DOE Planning is responsible for issuing legal permissions to alter listed buildings and for enforcing regulations to protect them, up to and including prosecution. NIEA is responsible for enforcement action in cases where owners have allowed their listed structures to fall into serious disrepair. This includes issuing statutory notices[3] requiring specific action to address identified problems within a set time frame.

Effective use of enforcement powers

26. Achieving the best enforcement outcome requires close collaboration between Planning and NIEA, underpinned by comprehensive and shared management information. After several years' delay, formal joint working procedures and a single heritage crime database for use by both bodies are now in place. The Department is also working towards implementing a 2007 Criminal Justice Inspectorate recommendation for a single enforcement database covering all of its enforcement activities.

27. Now that there is better information to act as a basis for legal proceedings, NIEA recognises that it must be more willing to take enforcement action in cases where persuasion and negotiation have clearly failed. The need for timely action is illustrated by the case of the Stable Block at Sion Mills, where NIEA's failure to act decisively resulted in deterioration to a point that threatened its long-term survival. After several years of negotiation and threatened legal action, DOE eventually vested the property in 2008, but only after part of it had collapsed.

28. The Committee considers it completely unacceptable that NIEA dragged its heels on this case for so many years, when it was clear that the owner was not going to undertake the necessary repairs. NIEA said that lessons have been learned from this case and, in the past year, it has issued an increased number of Urgent Works Notices and warning letters, with positive results.

Recommendation 6

29. Timely and robust use of enforcement powers, including vesting, is vital to safeguard listed buildings and rescue those that are at risk in order to send a strong message to negligent owners who fail to prevent deterioration or damage. The Committee recommends that NIEA steps up its enforcement effort, using trigger points to instigate specific measures in individual cases where persuasion and negotiation have clearly failed.

Former public buildings that are now at risk

30. Some listed buildings originally owned by public bodies have not fared well since they were acquired by private owners. They are particularly vulnerable when they were already in poor condition when in public ownership, as was the case with the former courthouse on Crumlin Road in Belfast. This unique landmark building was already in need of repair when it was sold by Courts Service and it has suffered serious decay and fire damage in the years since then.

31. The courthouse is a building of considerable historical significance and the neglect it suffered in public ownership was disgraceful. However, given the continued and rapid deterioration that has occurred following transfer to the private sector, it is simply unacceptable that NIEA did not take decisive action long before now to halt the decline. In the Committee's view, NIEA's failure thus far to use the full range of its powers to rescue the courthouse makes it appear toothless and ineffective. This must never be allowed to happen again.

Recommendation 7

32. The public sector cannot shirk its responsibilities for its former listed buildings that are now in private ownership. The Committee recommends that the Department takes timely and effective enforcement action to secure the future of any such buildings and, if required, to rescue those that are at risk. Such action should include carrying out repairs directly and recouping the cost from the owners or, if necessary, being prepared to take the buildings back into public ownership.

[1] "Study of the Economic Value of Northern Ireland's Historic Environment", launched by the Minister of the Environment 21 June 2012.

[2] This is an online database that provides information on each structure, by County. BHARNI is maintained on NIEA's behalf by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society

[3] Urgent Works Notices require owners to undertake emergency repairs (for example, to keep the building weatherproof and safe from collapse). Repairs Notices specify the repair work needed to preserve the building. If this is not done within the required time frame, the Department may make a compulsory purchase to safeguard it.

Appendix 1

Minutes of Proceedings
of the Committee
Relating to the Report

Wednesday, 9 May 2012
The Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

Present: Mr Paul Maskey MP (Chairperson)
Mr Michael Copeland
Mr Alex Easton
Mr Paul Girvan
Mr Ross Hussey
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin
Mr Adrian McQuillan
Mr Conor Murphy MP

In Attendance: Miss Aoibhinn Treanor (Assembly Clerk)
Mr Phil Pateman (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Gavin Ervine (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Darren Weir (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: Mr Joe Byrne (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Sydney Anderson
Mr John Dallat

2:00 pm The meeting opened in public session.

4. Briefing on the NIAO Report on 'Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings'

Mr Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General; Mr Eddie Bradley, Assistant Auditor General; and Ms Ursula Moyna, Audit Manager; briefed the Committee on the report.

2:17 pm The meeting went into closed session after the C&AG's initial remarks.

2:43 pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

2:45 pm Mr McLaughlin entered the meeting.

The witnesses answered a number of questions put by members.

[EXTRACT]

Wednesday, 23 May 2012
The Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

Present: Mr Paul Maskey MP (Chairperson)
Mr Joe Byrne (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Sydney Anderson
Mr Michael Copeland
Mr Alex Easton
Mr Paul Girvan
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin
Mr Adrian McQuillan

In Attendance: Miss Aoibhinn Treanor (Assembly Clerk)
Mr Phil Pateman (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Gavin Ervine (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Darren Weir (Clerical Officer)
Ms Angela Kelly (Assembly Legal Services)

Apologies: Mr John Dallat
Mr Ross Hussey
Mr Conor Murphy MP

2:00 pm The meeting commenced in closed session.

4. Evidence on the Northern Ireland Audit Office Report 'Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings'.

The Committee took oral evidence on the above report from:

  • Mr Leo O'Reilly, Accounting Officer, Department of the Environment (DOE);
  • Mr Michael Coulter, Director of Built Heritage, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA);
  • Mr Manus Deery, Principal Conservation Architect, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA); and
  • Ms Fiona McCandless, Director Local Government Planning Division, Department of the Environment (DOE).

3:11 pm Mr Anderson left the meeting.

3:18 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

3:21 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

3:24 pm Mr Byrne left the meeting.

3:28 pm Mr Byrne and Mr Copeland entered the meeting.

3:36 pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.

3:41 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

3:42 pm Mr McQuillan entered the meeting.

3:53 pm Mr Girvan left the meeting.

3:54 pm Mr McLaughlin left the meeting.

3:59 pm Mr Copeland and Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

4:02 pm Mr Girvan left the meeting.

4:10 pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

4:13 pm Mr Easton left the meeting.

4:33 pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.

The witnesses answered a number of questions put by the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further information from the witnesses.

[EXTRACT]

Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Room 29, Parliament Buildings

Present: Mr Paul Maskey MP (Chairperson)
Mr Joe Byrne (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Michael Copeland
Mr John Dallat
Mr Alex Easton
Mr Paul Girvan
Mr Ross Hussey
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin
Mr Adrian McQuillan
Mr Conor Murphy MP

In Attendance: Miss Aoibhinn Treanor (Assembly Clerk)
Mr Phil Pateman (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Danielle Saunders (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Darren Weir (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: Mr Sydney Anderson

1:36 pm The meeting commenced in closed session.

5. Issues Arising from the Oral Evidence Session on 'Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings'

The Committee considered an issues paper relating to the previous week's evidence session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to proceed with the drafting of the report on the basis of its discussion and the issues paper.

[EXTRACT]

Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Room 29, Parliament Buildings

Present: Ms Michaela Boyle (Chairperson)
Mr Joe Byrne (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Sydney Anderson
Mr Michael Copeland
Mr John Dallat
Mr Alex Easton
Mr Paul Girvan
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin
Mr Adrian McQuillan

In Attendance: Miss Aoibhinn Treanor (Assembly Clerk)
Mr Phil Pateman (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Danielle Saunders (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Darren Weir (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: Mr Ross Hussey

2:02 pm The meeting opened in public session.

6. Consideration of Draft Committee Report on 'Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings'

The Committee considered its draft report on 'Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings'.

3:50 pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.

Paragraphs 1 - 5 read and agreed.

Paragraph 6 read, amended and agreed.

3:55 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

Paragraphs 7 - 8 read and agreed.

Paragraph 9 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 10 -22 read and agreed.

Paragraphs 23 – 24 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraph 25 read and agreed.

Sub header read, amended and agreed.

Paragraph 26 read and agreed.

Paragraphs 27 - 31 read and agreed.

4:12 pm Mr Byrne left the meeting.

Paragraph 32 read, amended and agreed.

Consideration of the Executive Summary

Paragraph 1 – 8 read and agreed.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the correspondence to be included within the report.

Agreed: The Committee ordered the report to be printed.

[EXTRACT]

Appendix 2

Minutes of Evidence

23 May 2012

Members present for all or part of the proceedings:

Mr Paul Maskey (Chairperson)
Mr Joe Byrne (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Sydney Anderson
Mr Michael Copeland
Mr Alex Easton
Mr Paul Girvan
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin
Mr Adrian McQuillan

Witnesses:

Ms Fiona McCandless
Mr Leo O'Reilly

 

Department of the Environment

Mr Michael Coulter
Mr Manus Deery

 

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

1. The Chairperson: We are joined by Mr Leo O'Reilly, accounting officer for the Department of the Environment (DOE). He is here to respond to the Committee. Mr O'Reilly, you and your team are very welcome. I will hand over to you to introduce them.

2. Mr Leo O'Reilly (Department of the Environment): Thank you, Chairman. On my left is Manus Deery, principal conservation architect with the historic buildings unit in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). To my right is Michael Coulter, director of built heritage in the NIEA, and to his right is Fiona McCandless, director of local planning division in the Department of the Environment.

3. The Chairperson: As I say, you are all very welcome. I think that you have been here before anyway, but the usual procedure is that I will start by asking a few questions to set the scene before other members come in. So, nothing has changed.

4. Let me first of all apologise for keeping you waiting for a bit longer today. This session was supposed to start at 2.00 pm but we had to get through other items first. So apologies for that. Hopefully, we do not keep you longer than we need to.

5. Paragraph 2.4 talks about the slow progress of the second survey. It tells us about the review undertaken by the agency itself and says that it might end up taking 30 years to complete, compared with the original target of 11 years. I am no mathematician, but I know that that is a 19-year difference, which is a terribly long time. Can you justify why the timing of the survey has gone so far off the rails? For it to be 19 years out of sync is just horrendous.

6. Mr O'Reilly: Thank you. Obviously, the survey has gone on for a very long time, and that has been a focus of concern. I suppose the basic answer to your question is that it has gone on longer than it should have. The report identifies the factors that explain some of the reasons why it has lasted for quite a long time, and they fall under three broad areas.

7. The first factor that affected the length of the survey was an underestimation at the beginning of just how much work would be involved, particularly in relation to the decision on the survey's coverage and scope in respect of the range of buildings to be surveyed and re-surveyed during the second survey exercise.

8. The second factor that impacted on the length of time that the exercise has taken to date is the various stages of contractual relationships that have been entered into. As the report highlights, the nature of the contractual relationships has changed over time. I suppose, to some extent, the agency was going through a learning process in seeking to find the optimum contractual model that would provide the type and quality of work that it required the survey to undertake at a reasonable cost to the public purse.

9. The third key factor that has impacted on the length of time is resource availability. In a sense, that is at two levels. Financial constraints impacted from time to time on the pace of the survey, particularly in the period from 1999 to 2001, when there were some significant reductions in the budget available to carry out the survey.

10. A second key aspect of the resource issue was the availability of staff in the agency to process the survey outcomes once the basic survey work had been carried out by fieldwork staff who were primarily contractors. The varying availability of those staff in the agency over the years impacted on the pace at which the information coming into the agency could be processed, which, in turn, impacted on the length of time it took to make decisions about listing a particular building and on the necessary consultation work carried out to reach a final decision before a formal listing took place.

11. Those factors — coverage and the nature of the survey, contractual relationships, the resources available over time and the deployment of those resources — can explain why the survey has lasted for so long. However, as I said at the beginning, it has lasted longer than, I think, any of us wished to see it last.

12. The Chairperson: I think so. It is estimated to last 30 years, which is 19 years more than expected. You gave three reasons, one of which was contractual. Is that because individuals were paid an hourly rate instead of a fixed cost? Is that why it is taking so long?

13. Mr O'Reilly: As the report records, when the second survey began in 1997, four contracts were let, covering four separate geographical areas of Northern Ireland. Those were let on an hourly basis, not on a fixed-price basis. As the report also records, the reason for taking that basic approach at the time was that there was uncertainty about the nature and the extent of the work that would have to be carried out by the contractors. However, as the report shows, after a couple of years, the analysis showed that there were significant variations in the cost of those contracts in respect of the cost per building surveyed. So, after a few years, the contracts were reviewed. Two of the contractors were dispensed with, and the remaining two —

14. The Chairperson: After how long?

15. Mr O'Reilly: After four years: they worked from 1997 to 2001.

16. The Chairperson: Four years — do you understand why some people might think that the project lacked good practice and project management skills?

17. Mr O'Reilly: There was a need to understand what was happening. The contracts, as I said, were let for separate geographical areas. Differing numbers of properties were surveyed in each area, which had a significant impact on the net price per property surveyed in each of the contracts. During that first four-year period, the exercise was bedding down. The first full review of how the contracts and survey were working was undertaken only in 2001.

18. The Chairperson: Originally, the project was supposed to take 11 years, so four years would have been just under one third of the way through. Four years is a serious amount of time, never mind bedding in.

19. Overall, the Audit Office report gives the impression that this part of your Department does not have much of a managerial culture and that certain functions are not well managed. What actions have you, as permanent secretary, taken to strengthen management since the publication of the report in March 2011 last year? You have had over a year.

20. Mr O'Reilly: As you rightly highlight, we have been in receipt of the report for a year, but, of course, even before it was published, we were aware of the various issues and concerns being explored by the Audit Office during its review exercise in the Department. I will answer your question by quickly referring to the report's key findings and recommendations, which, to some extent, will allow me to outline what has been happening over the past year and even before that.

21. The first recommendation concerns improved targeting arrangements. Those have been introduced since 2007, when a fundamental review of the whole second survey exercise was carried out. More recent contractual work has included improved targeting arrangements before the fieldwork begins.

22. The second recommendation refers to prioritising work for survey activity. The recommendation is that the contract, which expires in 2013, should be reviewed to ensure that current procedures are built on.

23. The third recommendation is that NIEA engage more proactively with owners, particularly owners of buildings that are on the Built Heritage at Risk in Northern Ireland (BHARNI) register. That has been taken up more proactively over the past year through positive engagement with owners and, at the same time, taking enforcement action or issuing warning letters to owners when we feel that activity is not being properly taken forward.

24. The fourth recommendation deals with issues surrounding the funding of the grant scheme and whether we should introduce enhanced targeting arrangements. It refers to a formal weighting and scoring exercise. Fortunately, over the past year, as we have highlighted to the Committee, we have been able to maintain and increase the grant spend. However, the recommendation remains relevant because there are still potential issues in the future in relation to the funding available for that piece of work in the Department.

25. The fifth recommendation is:

"OFMDFM and NIEA work together to put formal processes in place to ensure that public bodies understand, and comply with, their management and reporting responsibilities".

26. That engagement has taken place. A new protocol for the care of the government estate was agreed by the Executive in February, and we intend to publish that next month. The Committee may want to come back to that later.

27. The second last recommendation concerns the need to review the operation of our enforcement databases in light of the Criminal Justice Inspection (CJI) report in 2007. A follow-up report by CJI was published in November 2011. As part of that review exercise with CJI, we have taken action to enhance the working of the databases in the planning portal to ensure that they fully comply with the enforcement needs of the Environment Agency. Again, you may wish to come back to that.

28. The final recommendation is that NIEA undertake a review to understand the full range of its management and costing information requirements. That work has been taken forward over the past year, and actions have been put in place. We can perhaps update the Committee by going through the report. Over the past year since the report was published, we have been carrying out work on all the recommendations. However, to some extent, that was building on work that was already in train, particularly since the significant review of the second survey exercise that was completed in 2007 in the Department.

29. The Chairperson: I appreciate that detail. Other members will delve into some of those areas as we go through the report today. This question might be hard for you to answer, but, of all the initiatives that the Department is working on, where do listed buildings come as a priority? How high up on your list is that issue?

30. Mr O'Reilly: It is a significant issue for the Department for a number of reasons. There is the intrinsic importance of the subject and the importance that all communities, regardless of where they are, place on their built heritage and built environment. However, there is also, as members will be aware, a significant interrelationship between the quality of the built and historic environment and our tourist potential and offering. Indeed, since 2008, a Historic Environment Strategic Forum has been in place and has met regularly under the chairmanship of the permanent secretary. I have been its chairman for the past couple of years. Over the past year, our preoccupation has been with the completion of a report on the economic value of the historic environment in Northern Ireland, and that exercise has included a highly detailed to establish the monetary value of the built estate and historic buildings in Northern Ireland. For the Committee's information, that group comprises colleagues from NIEA in the Department, the chief executive of the Tourist Board and representatives from the Historic Buildings Council and the Historic Monuments Council. It also includes representatives from external voluntary and other groups concerned with the built environment, including the Belfast Buildings Preservation Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund. So we have a set of arrangements in place and are seeking to engage proactively with our colleagues in the voluntary sector and the non-governmental sector to ensure that the work on promoting, maintaining and improving our built heritage is taken forward in a co-ordinated way.

31. The Chairperson: Paragraph 4.4 of the report quotes the Planning Service:

"unauthorised works to, or demolition of, a listed building constitutes a Priority 1 case"

32. In the past, some resources were diverted from this area, but none of the Planning Service's business plan targets for enforcement relate to listed buildings. Maybe I am wrong, but that is what I take from the report. Will you explain the rationale for that apparent contradiction? If listed buildings enforcement is a priority 1 issue, it surely merits specific performance targets, but I see none.

33. Mr O'Reilly: Every listed buildings enforcement case is treated as a priority 1 case by the Planning Service. It is important to note that the number of listed buildings cases that come through for enforcement is, fortunately, a relatively small proportion of the total enforcement caseload in the Planning Service. Over the past three years, the Planning Service has opened more than 11,000 enforcement cases, which are cases involving enforcement activity or enforcement matters being investigated. About 100 of those relate to listed buildings, which is approximately 1%. That said, they are all treated as priority 1 cases because of their significance. So although there is no separate target for listed buildings, they are treated as an important part of enforcement activity in the Planning Service. Fiona will deal with the general point and provide some background.

34. Ms Fiona McCandless (Department of the Environment): Enforcement cases for listed buildings are treated as priority 1. However, other unauthorised developments, which could result in public danger, are also treated as priority 1 cases, as are those that could result in permanent damage, such as trees protected by tree preservation orders. Listed buildings are treated as high priority 1 cases, for which we have separate targets: for example, 95% of cases in which there has been unauthorised work to listed buildings should be inspected within three days, and 100% should be inspected within five days. The separate targets for priority 1 cases are included in our business plan.

35. The Chairperson: Mr O'Reilly, the 2010 report from the Public Accounts Committee on planning authorities states that money was diverted from this initiative. You said that it was a top priority, so why was money diverted from it? When other priorities come in, money is deflected from the initiative to them. It seems to be an easy target.

36. Mr O'Reilly: I gave evidence to this Committee on that report, and I recall the concerns expressed by the then members about enforcement activity in the Department generally and in the Planning Service in particular. Despite the various financial pressures that all Departments are facing, including the Department of the Environment, we have continued to place a particular emphasis on improving our enforcement activity across the Department, including in planning. The total number of staff working on enforcement activity, for example, is 44: 37 full-time and seven part-time staff. A decade ago, there were 14 working full time on enforcement activities. So we have increased by 30 the number of staff working on enforcement activity, and we have moved to a system of ensuring that those staff are located across the various planning offices in Northern Ireland, which means that they are close to where incidents and problems arise.

37. There are other parts of the Department in which we are also seeking to improve and enhance our enforcement activity, but that is a particular focus in planning. Despite other pressures, we have continued to increase the staffing resources allocated to that activity, taking account, in particular, of the concerns expressed back in 2010 by this Committee about enforcement.

38. Mr Copeland: Leo, Michael, Fiona and Manus, you are all very welcome. Michael, I have not seen you since we crossed swords over Loopbridge mill, if I remember correctly. That is a building site now but is to become a Tesco store. I confess to much preferring the old red-brick building.

39. I see from paragraph 2.3 that the first 10 years of the current survey of historic listed buildings progressed on a stop-start basis. The survey seemed already to be in trouble by 2002, but, for some reason, it was not until 2007 that you undertook to review its methodology. It strikes me that six years is rather a long time to decide to re-evaluate a survey that appeared to be in some trouble. The need for re-evaluation was glaringly obvious by 2001. Will you give us some idea of the thought process that delayed it for six years?

40. Mr O'Reilly: With members' agreement, I will highlight some initial points and then pass to my colleagues Michael and Manus, who were involved in the exercise. Indeed, Manus carried out the major review in 2007. From my reading of the background papers, I understand that a large amount of fieldwork was carried out by the contractors during the first phase of the survey exercise between 2001 and 2007. In other words, initial work was done to survey buildings. However, as I said, an overall survey exercise is not complete until that work is reviewed by staff in the agency and decisions taken on whether buildings should be listed. There is a process that follows the fieldwork stage, if I may put it like that.

41. Mr Copeland: Yes.

42. Mr O'Reilly: By 2001, quite a backlog of casework had built up. The fieldwork stage was complete, but there was a backlog —

43. Mr Copeland: Was that a resourcing or finance issue?

44. Mr O'Reilly: Primarily, it was a staffing or skills-based issue. As you will appreciate, that work requires staff with an architectural background or skills who know what they are looking at in individual buildings. Therefore, for a period of three or four years, most of the agency's focus was on trying to clear that backlog. I suspect that it was probably after that stage had been completed that the agency was able to consider restarting the survey and re-examine its contractual framework. Indeed, as appendix 3 to the report highlights, survey work restarted in 2004. However, the survey was again suspended in 2006, mainly because of the problems with letting a new contract. New contracts were advertised and bids came in, but, after consultation with internal audit teams, those bids were considered too expensive. We did not proceed with those contracts because we felt that they had increased in price so much that they did not represent value for money. A further review of the contracting arrangements was undertaken as part of the major policy review in 2010.

45. Mr Copeland: Were the tender conditions altered at that stage, or was that an attempt to get the same value for less money?

46. Mr O'Reilly: I think that it was an attempt to get best value.

47. Mr Copeland: I understand that.

48. Mr O'Reilly: What I think happened was that the prices that we were working on up to then had been sourced back to the letting of contracts in 1997 and 1998. In the intervening period, there had been a significant construction boom and there was lots of work for architects and other professionals, so the bid prices that came in were much higher than the Department expected. That was why it was decided not to proceed with that tranche of contracts. Instead, a further review was undertaken to seek to establish a more viable contract framework that would deliver better value for money.

49. Mr Copeland: I take it that that problem no longer exists.

50. Mr O'Reilly: The present contract was let in February 2010, with an average survey price per building of, we think, £350. That is a fixed-price contract, and we think that it represents value for money. However, as the report highlights, that contract will expire in 2013, so we are beginning a review exercise to consider the framework through which we will take forward further contractual arrangements in the subsequent period.

51. Mr Copeland: How much did you say that it costs per building?

52. Mr O'Reilly: £350.

53. Mr Copeland: Given the amount of work involved, that seems quite competitive, certainly compared with what some companies charge for personal capability work assessments. However, that is an issue for somewhere else.

54. Mr O'Reilly: I do not know whether my colleagues wish to pick up on any points that I may have missed.

55. Mr Michael Coulter (Northern Ireland Environment Agency): There was a scoping issue at the outset, and then we had to deal with a backlog of fieldwork produced by contractors. The focus was on making sure that we processed that fieldwork. If fieldwork is not processed rapidly enough, it becomes out of date, and changes may have been made to buildings — that was an issue in the first survey — and we have to go back and do it all over again. So we focused our effort, first, on processing the backlog. After we addressed that, we sought to establish new contracts. That said, throughout all the contracting, and despite the systematic pausing of the main second survey, we maintained the capacity for contractors to carry out ad hoc surveys. So if were informed that a particular building had not been listed or needed a second survey, we maintained the capability to do that in what were, effectively, emergency situations.

56. Mr Copeland: So that was a way of using the available resources as effectively as possible to ensure that the work that had been done was not wasted. It also allowed the process to move along as far as possible with the resources available.

57. Mr Coulter: Absolutely.

58. Mr Copeland: Chair, with your indulgence, I will be slightly naughty.

59. The Chairperson: That is not like you.

60. Mr Copeland: I am a carpenter and joiner by trade, and I was interested to note the inclusion of Prehen House in Derry/Londonderry on page 12 of the report. I was even more interested, although I have subsequently found out how the situation arose, in how a 17th century house could be described as early Georgian, given that the Georgian period did not start until the latter early half of the 1700s, by which time the 17th century had long departed. It is certainly on my list of buildings to visit on the basis of the early joinery work in the stables.

61. The Chairperson: Is that the latter early half, did you say?

62. Mr Girvan: He served his time there.

63. Mr Copeland: I cannot remember, but if I did, I am sure that the joinery work would be of a very high standard. I just could not understand how a 17th century building could be described as early Georgian. It would have to be fairly early, unless there were additions.

64. Mr Manus Deery (Northern Ireland Environment Agency): It is, in fact, an 18th century house: there is a misprint in the report. There was a 17th century house on that land, but as far as we know, Prehen is an eighteenth-century house.

65. Mr Copeland: I researched it: the bit that was left, the origins of the foundations, went back to the 17th century. It just struck me as confusing.

66. Paragraph 2.7 states that the survey is expected to be completed in 2020, which means that it will have taken 23 years. That is quite a long time. It was anticipated at the outset that the survey would take 11 years, so when the time frame was set, it must have been unrealistic. The update paper explains that there is now a new backlog of reports from 2011-12 that have not been processed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. To be honest, and forgive me for saying so, because I mean no harm, it does not exactly inspire confidence. Can you assure us that this survey will not go back to the stop-start rate of progress? What measures are you taking to ensure that it will be finished by 2020?

67. Mr Coulter: The issue is less that a backlog has built up and more that there is a processing time between what we receive and what we can process through to listings or delistings. There is a time lag, so we have a number of records in the office that are being processed through the system but not a backlog per se. Certainly, the number of records at any one time varies, but we are determined to put resources in place to ensure that we can maintain a flow that balances the resources that we have to buy in the contract survey of work in the field and the processing that can be done by staff in-house. I do not know whether Manus wants to add any more detail on that.

68. Mr Deery: The issue is that, in the past year, we had to divert staff to other areas, because the cutbacks at the beginning of the year meant that we thought that we would not have the necessary budget and that the second contract, would have to end. However, we received resources in-year and were able to survey the full amount that we had expected to in that year. We had to move the staff resources back to cover that. That explains why the figure is slightly higher than we would have expected at this stage. As Michael said, we are putting resources in place this year to make sure that that does not become a backlog as such.

69. Mr Copeland: Do you have any notion whether irreplaceable buildings are being lost because we have not given you sufficient resources? Is there any possibility of that? Not very far from my office, there is a Georgian terrace — in this case, genuinely Georgian — two of which appear to have some protection. However, it is my firm belief that the developer or the owner, had he the ability, would level the third one because it is dangerous and because of the cost of maintaining it. It strikes me that, on some occasions, we know the price of everything and the value of nothing. We will never be capable of recreating some of what is lost. I am asking for an honest opinion: have buildings been lost?

70. Mr Coulter: That is always a risk. However, as I was saying, even when we systematically paused the second survey, we maintained the capacity for ad hoc surveys by both contractors and in-house staff. If we receive any notification from whatever source, whether members of the public, colleagues in Planning Service, people in the voluntary sector, members of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) — I think that I am right in saying that Rita Harkin is sitting just behind me today — we react. We go out and check out buildings, and if we consider them likely to meet the listing standard, we will go through the second survey process and seek to add them to the list. However, no system is perfect. There will always be a concern that we may lose buildings, but we use our best endeavours to ensure that we catch any such cases. We use any form of information that comes to us. We react to it and seek to save such buildings.

71. Mr McLaughlin: I have some appreciation of just how difficult it would be to have a comprehensive perspective on all the assets. The Ordnance Survey conducts continuous aerial surveys and regularly produces 3D maps, and so on. Do you link to those emerging technologies as well as maintaining your register? If you did, you could be specific in identifying where the buildings are and in responding to information from, say, the voluntary sector's preservation groups, which form around local areas or buildings of interest.

72. Do you work with building control officers? Is all that linked into the survey? It amazes me that the first survey took so long and that the second survey also seems to be running into difficulties.

73. Mr Coulter: Thank you for your understanding of the scale of the task. That is acknowledged in the report. In the second survey, we deal not only with the exterior of the buildings but, for the first time ever, we go into the interior. Through Planning Appeals Commission cases, we had learned many lessons about the inadequacy of the extent of our records, although the quality of what was produced was very good.

74. We use a great deal of Ordnance Survey mapping, but we focus more on historical mapping, which is useful for establishing where the older buildings are likely to be. When conducting the second survey, three basic areas are considered: the first group of buildings presented is of those already on the list; the second grouping is those that were considered for listing in the first place, and the third is those that surveyors find anew.

75. Mr McLaughlin: That is helpful. The Ordnance Survey work is valuable to Land and Property Services in detecting changes in the footprints of buildings, such as extensions, etc. It seems to me that that would have an application for you as well. You would be able to detect any unapproved work carried out to listed buildings.

76. Mr Coulter: Absolutely. I agree completely that it has merit in that regard. As the second survey continues and we make a new record of a building, we find any changes that have been made at that stage. That becomes a mechanism by which we advise our colleagues in Planning Service about enforcement issues.

77. Mr McLaughlin: So you agree that the Ordnance Survey process would be of assistance? I am looking for an assurance that you access the information available.

78. Mr Coulter: I do not think that we do, but Manus can provide more detail.

79. Mr Deery: Our current engagement with Ordnance Survey is through the demonstration on our website of our heritage of historic monuments and listed buildings. You can go on to our website and zoom into a part of Northern Ireland. The heritage features are highlighted on the Ordnance Survey maps, and information on them is available. As Michael said, different levels of maps are available. We have not engaged with Ordnance Survey on the means of identifying those buildings in the first place, and perhaps there would be some merit in doing so. Michael talked about responding to the voluntary sector and to any concerns that may be brought to us. We certainly respond to every listing query that comes to us.

80. At present, the survey is designed so that we cover one district council at a time. That means that we go to the district council; explain in advance what we intend to do; ask members to suggest buildings that might be of interest to them; and, through that, highlight to local voluntary societies the opportunity to suggest buildings. That is how we compile a list of buildings to give to our contractors.

81. We have had developing engagement with local building control departments. We found in Strabane, for example, that building control officers were going out to look at every building that we proposed to list and producing a report on them. They were consulting individual owners, not knowing that we also informed the owners. We have been able to work with building control and develop its awareness as it is looking at its role and how it develops. There is certainly scope there.

82. Mr McLaughlin: I think that Land and Property Services would admit that it could not carry out its function without that level of collaboration. I have a very pedantic mind, and I was wondering about the difference between preservation and conservation. Is it a legal definition? If you stop people destroying the property, is that the preservation end of it?

83. Mr Coulter: That is debated in professional circles, and, for every professional you ask, you get a different view. However, for what it might be worth, as director, I say that preservation is where you seek to retain things with an absolute minimum of change, and conservation is where you accept positive change. In that regard, we use scheduling legislation to protect archeology, where we seek to have no change. However, with listed buildings, we use conservation-based legislation that allows for the fact that, because you want to keep a structure or building in use, it may be entirely appropriate to add an extension or toilets or do maintenance work. That is a personal definition, if that helps.

84. Mr McLaughlin: It does help. Thank you.

85. Mr Coulter: I will go back to your questions on building control. We joined in with annual meetings with building control over a number of years, and we have had joint seminars that have specifically focused on buildings at risk. We have, as Leo said earlier, an owners forum, and we have met owners for four years in a row. Between 300 and 350 owners come along to those sessions, and we are joined on those days by a building control officer, who provides information from the building control side. There is quite a bit of rapport. I was speaking to Fiona about enforcement cases, and Planning Service uses Ordinance Survey (OS) information on rear extensions and so on as part of that action.

86. Ms McCandless: We engaged recently with building control on enforcement cases, and we sometimes rely on members of the public and people from other Departments or building control to advise us of breaches of planning control. We have provided building control officers with access to all our listed buildings and to electronic copies of all our conservation area maps so that they are aware if a building is in a conservation area or is listed.

87. Mr Coulter: We have gone further than that and have given the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service access to our databases so that, if it is dealing with a fire in a listed building, it knows that it is a listed building and that it is of more concern. We have quite a positive rapport there.

88. The Chairperson: People usually try to stop answering questions when they are in front of us, but you are going the opposite way.

89. Mr Copeland: Paragraphs 2.10 and 2.11 show that the contract management of the survey until 2007 could, by any standards, safely be described as poor. There was no fixed price for the work, and contractors were paid an hourly rate, and, as a result, the whole process was effectively being run, to a degree, by the contractors, and you had no overall control of costs. Why was there difficulty in getting to grips with the situation until long after the survey had started? Do you believe that the agency now has the necessary management skills in place to prevent a reoccurrence of how we see it, which is maybe not how you see it?

90. Mr O'Reilly: I will respond to your last question and perhaps ask a colleague who was around at the time when the second survey was getting under way to come in after. Since the review was carried out in 2007, we have been very conscious of issues of cost control, and that is why, although it has delayed things, we have taken time to try to put in place a contracting framework that guarantees sufficient quality of survey work and ensures that it is done at a reasonable cost to the public purse. As we said, the most recent contract for the survey has been agreed on a fixed-price basis at an average price of £350 per building surveyed. So, in more recent years, we have sought to address, at an earlier stage, the contractual difficulties that you have identified.

91. Figure 5 shows that there were significant variations in the cost per building surveyed, which is related, in part, to the size of the individual contracts. In general terms, the larger the number of buildings in a contract, the lower the cost per building surveyed. However, you can see also that that was not the case with contractor C and that, in fact, a relatively small number of buildings were surveyed at a very low cost. Michael can outline the reasons for those variations and explain what happened in the early stages.

92. Mr Coulter: Each of the four contracts that were issued were tendered, and various rates came in. There were issues around how many buildings were in a particular area. There may have been questions around how many surveys particular contractors carried out. The hourly rate reflected the fact that we had never before been involved in the process of being inside buildings and making such an extensive record, etc. On reflection, it is good to be able to look back on those figures. On average, the cost per record that we ran through in those times, at an hourly rate, was about £350. Even now, when we go through fixed-price tendering, the ballpark price per record is still £350.

93. Mr Copeland: I can follow that logic.

94. Mr McQuillan: Thank you for your answers so far. Paragraph 2.13 states that 60% of the buildings that were surveyed were not suitable for listing, and it cost £1·1 million. I appreciate that you now have better records, as you said, but do you not think that it was a waste of taxpayers' money to pay that sort of money to get a few records? A high percentage of buildings were not listed.

95. Mr O'Reilly: We agree with the broad conclusion: the 60% rate is too high. Since 2007, as the new contracts have been let and as the contractors prepare to move into a new ward or district council area, a pre-survey exercise is carried out in the agency to seek to narrow down the number of buildings that will be surveyed to ensure that there will be a closer focus on the buildings that are likely to merit listing or attention. The figures are accurate; they cover the full period of the second survey activity to date. Since 2007, the ratio has moved to 50:50, but our objective is to get it to 60:40 in the other direction. That is what we seek to do, and we are beginning to achieve some success in reducing the percentage figures that are quoted in the report.

96. The purpose of the survey is, of course, to identify buildings, particularly new buildings, that may be suitable for listing. To some extent, therefore, there will always be a proportion of buildings that you survey that you conclude are not suitable for listing. We would not expect —

97. Mr McQuillan: It should be a smaller percentage.

98. Mr O'Reilly: It should be a smaller percentage. It is roughly 50:50 at the moment and has been so for the past few years. It should be down to 40%.

99. Mr McQuillan: You mentioned the pre-survey. Who carries that out?

100. Mr Deery: It is a scoping survey. The current contract was let in 2010. The contractor scopes the area. He knows that he has to survey the listed buildings because, even if we are going to de-list them, we need a full survey to be able to justify that decision. He scopes the area and then brings in the results of that. That is his initial historical review and his initial drive-past survey, which identifies potential buildings. He then goes through that with us, and we agree with him the buildings that he is going to survey. In the past, we relied more on his professional judgement; in the 2008 and 2009 surveys, the contractor came to us with what he felt were the borderline ones. We felt that, even with that, there was still too big a difference. As Leo said, the ratio of 50:50 is the result of the two tests contracts in the surveys of Cookstown, Strabane, Omagh, Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus. Currently, we are aiming much closer to that 40% figure.

101. Mr McQuillan: You have nearly answered my second question, but I will put it to you anyway. Paragraphs 2.19 to 2.21 tell us that two successive internal audits recommended a more targeted approach to survey work. That was rejected by NIEA. Paragraph 2.24 indicates that the Audit Office also expressed the view that resources should be better targeted. Can you explain to the Committee why you rejected internal audit recommendations on two separate occasions and whether you are now adopting a more targeted approach? I take it that you are.

102. Mr Deery: The recommendations in the first audit report were largely accepted as part of the 2007 review and were worked into the test contracts. The principal recommendation was to move away from hourly rates to batch processing. The second audit report concluded that if the test contract proved to be unsatisfactory, a more targeting approach should be carried out. The results of the Cookstown survey, which was the first test contract, were very much on the money in respect of what we were expecting. At the same time, we let the ad hoc contract, which happened after that auditor had reported. That came back with a cost per record of £840. So, the decision was between either proceeding with a £350-per-record survey but surveying a wider number of buildings or having a much more focused survey. The danger with a much more focused survey is that you start to go towards the ad hoc end of the spectrum, in that you have to go back to an area and carry out more individual historical research, which involves more travel time.

103. Our view, at the time, was that the test had proven itself. I suppose the way that we are addressing the targeting approach is by being much stricter with the contractor at the scoping stage by ensuring that that is well focused. One of the other issues with a contract approach is that there is a danger that you might have a new contractor and, therefore, another training period. So, having that scoping level ensures that there is no slippage if there are different contractors at an early stage.

104. Mr McLaughlin: Hello, Leo. Paragraph 3.3 says that the Environment Agency did not establish any specific objectives or performance measures for the grant scheme at any stage since its inception in 1974. In effect, it was paying out over £3 million a year with no specific targets, performance measures or specific objectives. So the question is this: how could you ensure that you were using the grants effectively if you did not set out in advance exactly what you expected to achieve? The obvious follow-up question is whether now, some 14 months after the audit report, you have addressed that issue and whether those objectives are now in place.

105. Mr O'Reilly: As the report reflects, the emphasis of the grant scheme has been on, in a sense, ensuring quality outputs, in other words ensuring that the work carried out on individual buildings in receipt of grant support is done properly and to the right standard before that support is paid to the owner of the building. To that extent, there has been monitoring, but it was done case by case.

106. I suppose, from my analysis, the reason why there has not been an attempt to look at more general impacts on the total stock of listed buildings is that, in any one year, an average of, for example, 150 individual listed buildings will receive grant aid support. That is positive, but, out of the total stock of listed buildings in Northern Ireland, it is a relatively small proportion. So, it is only going to be over a considerable period of time. For example, we estimate that over the past seven years, just over 730 buildings have been in receipt of grant aid support, which begins to bring you up towards 8% or 9% of the total stock of listed buildings that have now received some form of grant aid over that period. That, in a sense, is an explanation of the approach adopted previously.

107. On the latter part of your question about what has happened since last year, we have decided, this year, to carry out a baseline survey of the general condition of the listed building stock in Northern Ireland using statistical techniques. I am told that if we carry out a survey on the general condition of a random selection of approximately 2,000 buildings, that will give us a fair idea of the total standard of the stock across 8,500 buildings. So, that exercise will be carried out this year. A similar type of exercise was carried out in 2000, so the results of the exercise this year will give us something to compare with the previous one.

108. I think that the answer to your question is yes. I can see people thinking that, it is OK; they understand that we have to look at individual buildings, but they may still wonder whether what we are doing is having some sort of overall beneficial impact on the stock. Having looked at this issue since we received this report last year, we will carry out this baseline survey this year to seek to establish the general condition of listed buildings in Northern Ireland at the moment.

109. Mr McLaughlin: I presume that is not intended to be a 'Groundhog day' type of operation, and that we are looking at the general condition of buildings that we are trying to conserve and whether the grants are having this impact.

110. Mr O'Reilly: We would be certain of that in the cases where a grant is paid, because there is architectural involvement from colleagues in the NIEA's historic buildings unit in each and every one of those schemes. They will have an input and, before the grant is paid, they review the quality of the work when it has been completed. I suppose the difficulty is that a large number of listed buildings are untouched by grants from one year to the next. The question is what is happening to the condition of those buildings. That question is unanswered, but we hope that the baseline survey this year will help us to get some idea.

111. Mr McLaughlin: That could be germane to the discussion or the consideration, particularly with other Ministers who are competing for financial resources. If you can demonstrate that, because you have set out objectives and have applied the grant regime to achieving that and measuring the beneficial impact, you can address those that fall outside the scheme; those buildings that receive no grant aid whatsoever but could possibly benefit, before we get to the stage of having to spend large sums of money.

112. Mr O'Reilly: Yes. What we are seeking to do is to secure investment in the listed building stock to improve and maintain it as well as conserve it as best we can. The grant mechanism is one part of the range of tools or, indeed, funding sources that are available, but there is a wide range of other funding sources available. In the first instance, there are the people who receive a grant. They receive a grant of 35%, which means that they have to find the other 65% themselves. They are also contributing in a very real sense, but there is a range of activity across government and quasi-government in support of the historic environment. As well as funding from the Department, substantial expenditure happens from one year to the next through the Tourist Board, particularly through the signature projects, for example, on the north coast and St Patrick's Trail. My colleagues can give you more details as necessary. There is obviously the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is a very significant funder of major refurbishment and conservation projects. There is the Department for Social Development, with its urban regeneration responsibilities, and there are district councils, some of which spend very substantial amounts of money on maintaining and preserving their listed buildings. The most dramatic example of that in recent years is Belfast City Council, but there are lots of examples around. There are other Departments that spend money, including UK government Departments at times. For example, HM Revenue and Customs invested in the work done down at the Custom House in the city centre. Then there are the Churches, which contribute very substantial amounts to the refurbishment of their properties. There are also private individuals, as I said, and there are companies that also own historic buildings and invest in the refurbishment.

113. The issue for the agency and the Department is to try to co-ordinate and focus those potential funding sources from one year to the next and seek to ensure that the effort is directed as widely as possible across the full stock of listed buildings. Our particular focus at the moment is on those owners of listed buildings who probably cannot access larger funding sources, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, and who may be private individuals who own smaller properties. Also, and I am sure that we will come back to this, buildings that are seriously at risk and where there are serious issues and problems must also be a particular focus for the Department.

114. Mr McLaughlin: Paragraph 3.6 makes reference to the fact that you have an:

"objective of ensuring equity of grant funding for all listed buildings, irrespective of grade."

115. Can you tell us what that means in practice? I did not really understand it.

116. Mr O'Reilly: That refers to the revised grant scheme that was introduced in May 2008. In the year before that, there was a major review of the operation of the heritage building grant scheme. In 2008 a scheme was introduced. There were a couple of major changes but, apart in an increase in the funding available for listed-building grants, the other major change was that, for the first time since 1986, all listed buildings became eligible for grant. In particular, what are referred to as grade B2 buildings became eligible for grant. That meant that, for the very first time since 1986, all owners of listed buildings in Northern Ireland were able to seek grant support for the preservation and maintenance of —

117. Mr McLaughlin: When you say "equity of funding", that means that, as owners of a listed building, they have an automatic entitlement to apply for a grant, though they may or may not get it?

118. Mr O'Reilly: Yes, there is that. What is also alluded to here is the fact that there is a difference — I do not know whether it is an anomaly or just a difference — between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, in that the categories in the listing of buildings — A, B1, B2, etc — are administrative categories, whereas, in GB, they have a statutory basis. Here, they have no statutory basis. That is a technicality. That, plus the policy to date, particularly since 2008, has been to make the grant scheme available to all owners of listed buildings, rather than a targeted scheme that is available only for more important buildings or buildings of a higher grade. That policy has been deliberately followed over the years since 2008.

119. We think that it has had significant benefits in that, in a sense, it increases the capacity of NIEA architects to get involved in individual buildings because they become involved in approving grant applications. They get involved in types of buildings that they might not otherwise be able to have an influence over. In particular, it also helps owners of B2 buildings, who are often simply people who own their own home, which is a listed building, and are not eligible for Heritage Lottery Fund grants. Generally, they are unable to access Tourist Board grants or council spending. So, in a sense, it helps those particular categories of householder. However, I am sure that we will come to that separately. We understand the concern in this report about the need to target the grant scheme differently in the future.

120. Mr McLaughlin: That is exactly the point. The present grant scheme appears to take a broad-sweep approach, but the evidence is that we perhaps need a much more focused and target-led approach.

121. Mr O'Reilly: Michael will come in on that point. I expect that the key constraint in the future will be funding. As funding becomes more constrained, we may need to reintroduce some targeting, such as in the approach that was in place before 2008.

122. Mr Coulter: Thank you very much Leo, and I agree with what you said. In essence, we have roughly 8,500 buildings, all of which are protected equally under law, and all of which, in accordance with the statutory provisions, may have access to grant aid. We have sought to manage our budget on the basis that we have a backstop position. If the amount of grant aid available in any year is very low, we can default only to buildings at risk, those that are thatched and for owners who are in receipt of certain benefits. Those are the three categories that we fall back to. If we look at the ordinary statistics, that would involve only about 600 of the 8,500 listed buildings throughout Northern Ireland. By capping the grant, we have managed to spread the funding that we have across a much greater number of listed buildings. As Leo said, it is between 120 and 150 a year. It means that, when we have willing owners who want to look after their buildings — a positive owner is exactly what we need — we are able to support all of those who come to us. We have no history of turning away willing owners, with very few exceptions —

123. Mr McLaughlin: In welfare payments, we have what are called passport benefits, which entitle you to other support. Is this, in any way, a certification that other funding agents, including, in particular circumstances, the Heritage Lottery Fund, would regard as a precondition to their involvement?

124. Mr Coulter: For the Heritage Lottery Fund, if the building is listed or scheduled that becomes an enabler for it to pay funding.

125. Mr McLaughlin: I could see that as a certification, but what about your willingness to put your money where your —

126. Mr Coulter: When it comes to owners in receipt of certain benefits, we will pay our grant at 90% rather than the normal 35%, which recognises that their building has become listed because society wants to see it protected but that the individual owners may not have the financial wherewithal to do that. We step in and increase our grant in those circumstances.

127. Mr McLaughlin: Thank you, I will move on. Paragraph 3.10 shows that the sustainable development strategy set a target to remove 200 buildings from the built heritage at risk register. However, paragraph 3.12 tells us that you have no prioritised list of buildings that you would like to see removed from that register. Would it not make sense to have a prioritised list and just work your way through it so that you respond specifically to the buildings that are most at risk?

128. Mr O'Reilly: I will ask Michael or Manus to come in on some of the detail. We regard the built heritage at risk register as a targeted list, because most of the buildings on that register are also listed buildings. To that extent, we regard that BHARNI list, as we refer to it, as being a subset and a targeted group in its own right. We seek, as far as possible, to encourage action to address all the buildings on that list. However, because of the uncertain funding environment that we are in, we have recently begun to draw up a prioritised list of buildings in that register based on a measure of the risk to them. Indeed, that prioritisation has already begun to be used in targeting action, for example, issuing warning letters to owners or even moving to the next stage of urgent works notices. Manus deals with this matter daily.

129. Mr Deery: That is correct. The buildings at risk register is really a subset of the whole and is, effectively, a targeted list. When dealing with buildings at risk, we are still dealing with owners and trying to encourage them. We try to target staff resources. We have a contract with the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, which employs a surveyor to talk to the owners of the buildings and to try to encourage them to apply for grant. We then respond to that. To a certain extent, we try to focus on the buildings at risk register by encouragement.

130. As Leo said, we have also gone through the register and looked at the buildings' relative risk, but that was done more with a view to deciding which buildings we should move towards issuing warning letters and taking direct action rather than saying that we will limit the grant to those buildings. We are trying to get all of the buildings out of the at-risk category.

131. Mr McLaughlin: I understand. You have described to me fairly well how a prioritised list exists within a broader scope of buildings. You could meet the target that you set yourself, albeit not only on paper, but you could lose some of the buildings that you intended to preserve because you did not have a prioritised approach.

132. Mr Coulter: I accept your point. It is something that we have to keep under review; there is no doubt about that. At present, we are on target to achieve that saving of 200 buildings off the at-risk register.

133. Mr McLaughlin: You would welcome that as a performance indicator. However, would that report also address the fact that, perhaps, we lost some buildings that you would rather not have lost?

134. Mr Coulter: To date, we have not lost any.

135. Mr McLaughlin: It has not happened.

136. Mr Coulter: We are keen to save them all and have targeted some grant aid to the voluntary sector to acquire some of the buildings at risk. There is an old mantra that there are no problem buildings. Manus and I are architects, and we are quite happy to deal with the buildings. However, there are problem owners, and, sometimes, getting that change of ownership is the bigger issue. We will help the voluntary sector to acquire buildings to help to save them and to get them off the register of buildings at risk. There is also a concern that, if we started to enhance the grant for buildings on the register, we might encourage people to let their buildings deteriorate until they were at risk so that they would receive an enhanced grant. There was a situation with the stable block in Sion Mills, which, ultimately, we acquired by compulsory purchase. That owner was offered a 90% grant to fix the building and still would not do it.

137. Mr McLaughlin: I drive through Sion Mills often. It is heartbreaking.

138. Mr Coulter: Absolutely. It is back to that old mantra.

139. Mr McLaughlin: It is a beautiful building in a lovely village.

140. The updated paper shows that you removed from the register only 12 of your target of 18 buildings in 2011-12. How do you respond if you miss a target? Does it carry on to the next year, or is it gone?

141. Mr Coulter: We have signed up to a target of saving 200 buildings in the 10-year period, but we recognise that, given how the economy is, the cash value of the buildings is considerably down on what it used to be, and people are not investing in them as they used to. We find that banks will not give mortgages, and so on. There is a real issue there, and we are in a particularly difficult position now. Therefore, through our current review of grant aid, we need to consider whether we should have more targeting, whether we can do it in a way that does not reward the bad owners and whether we can work with the voluntary sector, as we do now, to help it to acquire and save more buildings.

142. Mr McLaughlin: Bad or irresponsible owners must make your job virtually impossible, or at least very difficult. However, in an economic downturn, some good owners simply may not be able to afford remedial or preservation works, so is there not a case for you to seek additional support from the Executive and the Finance Minister to address the issues?

143. Mr Coulter: We would be delighted if that were the case.

144. Mr McLaughlin: Have you recalculated your bids in the context that genuine owners with a real attachment to their buildings are not in a financial position to carry out the necessary work?

145. Mr Coulter: As Leo said, an economic study is being produced to highlight the value of the built heritage to the economy, and a basic strand of the case would be made outside the Department. However, in the Department, we have been very successful with in-year bidding to continue our support for owners who come to us. Our out-turn figures for spend in the previous financial year increased over those in earlier financial years, even in straitened circumstances, as we seek to support all the owners who come to us with a view to fixing up their buildings, and we encourage them to do exactly that. Through an assessment, which is a calculation of how much is spent on the building in total, we also know that, for every pound that we spend on grant aid, £3 is spent on the grant-eligible works. However, generally, owners also do additional work and may add a toilet or upgrade their heating or electrical system. Those are not grant-eligible items. For every pound that we spend on grant aid, we lever £7·60 of spend into built heritage in general, which, given the economic circumstances of this day and age, is very important leverage.

146. Mr McLaughlin: Sammy Wilson is a great champion of the invest-to-save initiative. If that could be applied to built heritage, you might find a very receptive Minister.

147. Mr Coulter: He is a former Minister of ours, and he was able to quote the leverage figures when he was with us.

148. Mr S Anderson: Michael, you talked about bad owners and a building moving from being at risk to beyond rescue. You said that you could offer a grant of up to 90% to repair such buildings. What is the position if the bad owner refuses to do anything? What is the fall-back position? Do we lose what might be a very important building?

149. Mr Coulter: There are two fall-back positions in legislation. There is an urgent works notice, which we can serve when an owner will not do the appropriate works after we have served notice on him and tried to engage with him. Once we have served that notice, we will undertake the work and seek to recoup the money from the owner. That requires the building to have deteriorated significantly.

150. Mr S Anderson: Do you serve those notices often?

151. Mr Coulter: Since October of last year, we have issued five urgent works notices. On top of that, we have issued notices numbering in the high twenties, which we refer to as warning letters, to which owners have reacted and done the work before we have had to serve an urgent works notice.

152. Mr S Anderson: Do you find that it is becoming an increasing problem because of the economic downturn and owners just not having the finance?

153. Mr Coulter: There is no doubt about that. We see a number of buildings that have been mothballed, some not terribly well. However, we have taken action and been supported by our Minister through the likes of the heritage crime summits that we have held. The sector has now got the message that we will come out and take action. So the letters that we issue in advance of urgent works notices are proving more effective and buildings are being secured in so far as being windproof and watertight.

154. Mr S Anderson: Most of them can be rescued, then.

155. Mr Coulter: Absolutely. We have not lost them from the list.

156. The second strand to the legislation is the repairs notice. If repairs notices are not acted on, the Department may initiate a compulsory acquisition, which we did with the stable block in Sion Mills. That is the absolute fall-back position: we acquire the buildings and transfer the ownership to a caring owner. In the case of the Sion Mills stable block, ownership has been transferred to the Hearth Housing Association, which is a voluntary society.

157. Mr S Anderson: It is good that the option to secure buildings is available in the cases of bad owners.

158. Mr Coulter: Absolutely.

159. Mr McQuillan: In what areas where the five urgent work notices issued? I do not want to know who they were issued to, but where were they issued?

160. Mr Deery: Dungannon, Derry, Larne and Dundrum.

161. Mr Coulter: We chose to spread them throughout Northern Ireland so that the message would be, "No matter where you are, we will take action."

162. The Chairperson: Maybe you would forward the name of the fifth area, as you mentioned only four.

163. Mr Easton: Figure 10 in the report shows that about 10% of listed buildings are owned by public bodies. However, paragraphs 3.18 and 3.19 state that public bodies have not been meeting their obligations to monitor the condition of the buildings. Will you clarify whether those monitoring reports are being produced? Will you give us your view on the condition and management of listed buildings in the public sector?

164. Mr O'Reilly: I will ask my colleagues to answer your second question on the condition of buildings generally in the public sector.

165. As the report before you today accurately reports, in 2003, the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) introduced a revised protocol for the care of the government historic estate. As part of that, it introduced a monitoring arrangement. At that time, the devolved Administrations reported on, and gave a general overview of, the state of the historic buildings in their custody. However, those monitoring requirements were dropped, or ceased to be asked for, by DCMS in 2005.

166. So, effectively, since 2005, we have not been reporting to DCMS against those monitoring arrangements. Two things have been happening in the period since then. First, we have continued to engage with local public sector owners, particularly in certain sectors. A particular focus has been on, for example, the health sector, in which we often find that older hospital buildings have been abandoned when a hospital moves to new premises.

167. In more recent times, as I mentioned at the beginning, we drew up a new local protocol for the care of the government estate in Northern Ireland. That has now been agreed with OFMDFM. It was approved by the Executive in February, and we plan to launch and publicise it next month. Specifically, that will require all Departments and public bodies here, but not district councils, to provide to us by June 2013 a detailed report on the state of the listed buildings in their care or ownership. It is intended that that will happen by June 2013, and we, in turn, will be required to report to the Committee for the Environment by September 2013 on the outcome of that exercise.

168. In answer to your question, monitoring arrangements were in place but lapsed, and no substitute arrangements were put in place for a time in Northern Ireland, particularly between 2005 and 2011. We have now, however, introduced completely new arrangements here for the care of the government estate, and new monitoring arrangements will be launched next month, with a return from all Departments and public bodies within a year by June 2013.

169. Mr Coulter will say more about the general state of the government estate.

170. Mr Coulter: We believe that government should lead by example. Indeed, this Building is listed, and government is leading by example from the top. However, that should be the case across the entire government estate, and we are keen to play our part in that. We have a few listed buildings in our care, and we want to show that we are taking appropriate care of and reporting on them. We have reviewed the number of listed buildings at risk that are in central government ownership and have an action plan against that. I will turn to Mr Deery to give you the detailed figures and percentages and the general condition of the government-owned historic estate.

171. Mr Deery: The Audit Office report shows that 438 buildings are in central government ownership, seven of which are currently on the at-risk register. Those are Craigowen Lodge in Holywood; the water tower at Donaghadee; Ormiston House; Ormiston House gate lodge; Ormiston House stables; and the walled garden and arboretum in Castlewellan.

172. The 858 listed buildings owned by public bodies are shown in a table in the report. Of those, 31 buildings are on the at-risk register. I do not have a detailed list with me, but we can provide that.

173. Mr Easton: Two of those seven buildings are in my area, so I may come back to you about that.

174. Have any buildings been demolished by any Department as a result of the length of time that the survey has been ongoing? Have any become so dilapidated that it cost a huge amount to sort them out?

175. Mr O'Reilly: I am sure that colleagues can report on demolished buildings. In answer to the second part of your question, there are some examples in the document, but we do not believe that a situation has arisen specifically because of the second survey. However, certain government buildings, including some highlighted in the report, have fallen into a serious state of disrepair. I suspect that you may come back to that later. Mr Deery may have some information about whether any buildings have been demolished.

176. Mr Deery: None come to mind. The risk of a second survey is that some buildings might not yet have been listed, so there would be no record of buildings that might have been listed but were demolished. We do not offer grants to Departments.

177. Mr Coulter: We lose very few listed buildings to demolition. That generally happens when there has been an incident such as a major fire and there is so little of the building left that it would never be economical to save it. It would be a replica anyway and no longer a historic structure. I am not aware of any list-worthy, government-owned building being demolished.

178. Mr Easton: Did some of the seven buildings mentioned get into a serious state after monitoring stopped in 2005?

179. Mr Deery: No. There was a long-term process of decay in those buildings. Three buildings associated with Ormiston House, for example, are on the at-risk register, but the building itself is secure and has been looked after well and responsibly by the Department responsible. It just does not have a long-term use and is, therefore, at risk. That is why it is on the at-risk register.

180. Mr Easton: Are any government buildings in a bad state because they were not monitored? If so, have large sums of money consequently been spent in recent times on fixing those buildings and getting them up to scratch? Had they been monitored, might they not have got into that condition.

181. Mr Coulter: I am not aware of monitoring being an issue over that period

182. May I go back to part of your earlier question? My apologies for coming back on this, but I have just thought of a building that will be demolished in due course, namely Enniskillen Model Primary School. We worked with the Western Education and Library Board on the cost of refurbishing the building as opposed to building a new structure. We carried out a full economic appraisal and established that it would cost significantly more than £1 million extra to refurbish the historic structure as opposed to building anew. Ultimately, we and our colleagues in Planning Service concluded that, in the balance of benefit to society, the listed building should be demolished and a new school built. That is the only exception to the rule that I can think of.

183. Returning to your question on monitoring, I am not aware of any building that deteriorated so significantly in that relatively short time that it would not be viable to bring it back again. I can think of some buildings on the register that have been at risk for a long period, but the lack of monitoring or otherwise really does not make a big difference to their condition.

184. Mr Easton: So, at the moment, we will lose one building?

185. Mr Coulter: Yes.

186. Mr Easton: Paragraph 3.19 points outs that the DOE owns eight listed buildings but has not complied with requirements to compile formal reports on the their condition. Given that the Department should be acting as an exemplar, why have you not complied? I know that you touched on that briefly just now, but why has it taken you so long? Is that not a wee bit naughty, given that are supposed to be protecting and looking after those buildings?

187. Mr O'Reilly: My colleagues will talk about the individual buildings in our ownership.

188. The report rightly states that we have yet to comply with the protocol's requirements to report to DCMS. As I said, requests for those reports ceased in 2005. I am sure that Michael can report on the Department's activity.

189. Mr Coulter: As I said, we are keen to lead by example. We have brought in a new protocol and charged staff with producing reports on those buildings so that we can lead by example and say that we have done so. That is the start of the process. Indeed, we will use those reports as exemplars of how to take things forward when we run training sessions with the other 11 Departments.

190. May I widen the scope a bit? Of course, I appreciate that the focus is on listed buildings, but the Department also maintains 190 monuments in state care, such as Dunluce Castle, Carrickfergus Castle and Inch Abbey. We seek to lead by example by maintaining and making those available to the public. However, we must get our own house in order in respect of those structures, and we are doing that now.

191. Mr Easton: What condition are your eight properties in?

192. Mr Coulter: In most circumstances, they are —

193. Mr O'Reilly: Do you want to say where they are, one by one?

194. Mr Coulter: Manus can detail them. The majority are in Roe Valley Country Park. The majority of the structures are in very good condition, and our directly employed labour force will address those that are not through reporting.

195. Mr Deery: There are, in fact, six structures in our ownership. Four are in Roe Valley Country Park: Dog Leap power house; the south watchtower and bleach greens; the weaving shed museum; and the Carrick footbridge. The other two are the Martello Tower at Magilligan and Scrabo Tower just outside Newtownards. Largy bridge is also in Roe Valley Country Park, but it is owned by the Department for Regional Development, not us. There was an error in the reporting of that.

196. Mr Easton: I have finished, Chair, but can we get a list of all protected government buildings?

197. Mr Deery: Yes.

198. Mr S Anderson: I want to go back to the subject of bad owners. In the past, have Departments been classified as bad owners? We talk about individuals who own old buildings being classed as bad owners. Some were offered grant aid but not complied. Is there any situation in which government could have been classed as a bad owner? If so, would you have offered grant aid? Manus, I think that you said that you do not, so what happens? Has it happened, or is it likely to happen?

199. Mr Coulter: Some buildings in government ownership are at risk but a relatively small percentage compared with those in private ownership.

200. Mr S Anderson: Would Departments be classed as bad owners?

201. Mr Coulter: I was not going to go into that territory, but some buildings in the ownership of both central and local government are at risk. Until 2006, Crown exemption applied, so we could not apply any sanction. However, we raised awareness of those buildings by publishing their details on the buildings at risk register, and we treated government — central and local — in the same way as private individuals. As Manus said earlier, we are now looking through our list of buildings at risk for those on which we may issue urgent works notices, and that includes those in the care of government.

202. Mr S Anderson: You expect Departments to comply and make the repairs.

203. Mr Coulter: Yes, absolutely. The new protocol should be a lead into that.

204. Mr O'Reilly: You are highlighting the responsibility on government to ensure that it protects and maintains the listed buildings in its ownership. The purpose of the protocol is to seek to raise awareness of that responsibility. By definition, we are doing that, because we acknowledge that there is definitely insufficient awareness of the responsibilities that accompany the ownership of listed buildings at present. That is the purpose of the protocol and the action that we are taking, because there has been a deficit in Northern Ireland for a number of years.

205. Mr Copeland: This question might be described as a red herring, so forgive me for asking, but, over a long period, a number of listed buildings, or buildings that might have been suitable for listing, have caught fire in suspicious circumstances. Is it possible to remove a listed building from its context and rebuild it in another location, such as the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum? Is the primary consideration the architectural significance of a building or its context? I have been to the transport museum on many occasions, and some buildings look as though they are of significant architectural importance, albeit that they are in a museum. If a building is listed and deemed incapable of being saved in its original location, is there a mechanism that allows for its organised removal to, for example, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum? Does it then derive a different form of protection because it is now an old building that has been rebuilt? I am curious about the mechanics of that. Has that scenario ever arisen?

206. Mr Coulter: We tend to draw a parallel between buildings that go into museums instead of being in their original position and wild animals that go into zoos as opposed to remaining in the wild. In essence, buildings moved to a museum become the caged animals. Listing is really directed at the wild animals, that is, the buildings in their original environment and habitat. The idea is to keep them in place and working. Planning Policy Statement 6 accepts that there will be adaptation of listed buildings so that they remain vibrant, live and important to the community rather than fossilised. In the past, we were criticised for preserving in aspic. Nothing could be further from the truth — change is made. Think of the other Chamber, here in Parliament Buildings, that was extended after the fire to allow for the fact that a larger one was required. That was facilitated through the listing legislation. There is no difficulty with that.

207. Mr Copeland: Does no mechanism exist to do what I am asking?

208. Mr Coulter: From personal experience over my years in this organisation, there was one case of a telephone kiosk, which is a prefabricated structure that became listed. We accepted that it could be moved to a different location in the same village. I could cite the name of the village, but I do not think that I need to.

209. Mr Copeland: I think that I know it.

210. Mr Coulter: That was simply because it was a prefabricated structure and could be moved. We have done the same thing with compound 19 at the Maze, which was one of the original huts there. We accepted the case made to us that it needed to be re-sited. We have held off from finalised the listing until it is reconstructed. We have an agreement with OFMDFM that that will be the case. Otherwise, we seek to preserve the original fabric in its original location. Only if it is prefabricated in some way or other — timber construction or cast iron — have we considered moving it.

211. Mr Copeland: In an instance of a building facing demolition for X, Y and Z reasons, might not having such a mechanism save it?

212. Mr Coulter: There is always the hypothetical case. It could be argued that the cases already in the museum satisfy those conditions.

213. Mr Copeland: That is what I thought.

214. Mr Byrne: Thank you for the presentation. This relates slightly to what I touched on before. Paragraph 4.6 of the report recommends that compliance with enforcement procedures, agreed between NIEA and Planning Service in June 2010, should be regularly monitored and reported on. Have you conducted any compliance monitoring since the publication of the Audit Office's report? If so, do you have any results?

215. Ms McCandless: The agreement was put in place by NIEA in 2009, and we have sought to develop it. A formally agreed protocol is in place and identifies clear lines of responsibility and a commonality of approach throughout the enforcement process. We tried to improve it by standardising pro formas so that we had in place all the relevant information required for court proceedings. We hoped, therefore, to be more successful in such proceedings. We have that in place and it is now monitored. There are time frames for NIEA to respond to Planning Service on issues connected to unauthorised development and listed buildings.

216. We also have an enforcement working group, which monitors and discusses that information. That is attended by representatives of NIEA and Planning Service. We also have more informal arrangements in place. Discussions between case officers and conservation architects from NIEA on unauthorised cases are ongoing. Since 2009, we have built on the arrangements that were in place and tried to redefine and improve them to ensure that the consistency of information is improved. That will, I hope, help us in court cases at later dates.

217. Mr Byrne: I appreciate what you say, Fiona. In the past, was there a lack of urgency in strengthening the liaison between the two bodies? Where does the greater onus now lie in ensuring the enforcement and protection of listed buildings?

218. Ms McCandless: There has always been an understanding that we needed to collaborate. What we have tried to do is ensure that everyone is clear about their lines of responsibility and that we all adopt a consistent and common approach. We have always treated it as a high priority and appreciated the need for collaboration, but I think that we can always just develop that.

219. Mr Byrne: Has the Minister been helpful in that regard?

220. Mr O'Reilly: Very helpful

221. Ms McCandless: Very helpful. The Minister —

222. Mr Byrne: Keep it simple.

223. The Chairperson: He just wants you to answer, "Yes".

224. Ms McCandless: Yes. [Laughter.]

225. Mr S Anderson: He has given you a free hand.

226. Mr Byrne: The integrity of this Committee is so pure that we have to watch it.

227. Ms McCandless: The Minister has been very keen to ensure that we apply our enforcement procedures consistently and he is very concerned about heritage crime. That is reflected in the three summits that he has held recently and he hopes to hold another one on enforcement in the near future.

228. The Chairperson: Are you happy enough, Joe?

229. Mr S Anderson: Paragraph 4.9 states that Criminal Justice Inspection (CJI) report of 2007 recommended:

"the establishment of a single incident and enforcement database for ... the Department."

230. The updated information that you provided to the Committee states that you are now only at the stage of planning to set up a working group to consider this issue. You touched on this at the very outset of the meeting. Have you any comment on that?

231. Mr O'Reilly: I can update the Committee on that. As I have said already, the original CJI report on enforcement by the DOE was completed in 2007. The CJI came back last year and completed a follow-up report with us — or on us, if you prefer to put it that way. That was published in November of last year. Again, we were able to update the inspectorate on where we had got to with the establishment of the single incident and enforcement data base. We have now created a single database on all enforcement issues on heritage crime and listed buildings. So there is now a common database that is accessed by staff at NIEA and Planning Service in relation to enforcement cases. Have you any further details, Fiona?

232. Ms McCandless: Just that the database is shared between the Planning Service and NIEA, and the action plan drawn up in response to the CJI follow-up report has indicated that we will look at the practicalities and necessity to extend the use of that, as a single enforcement database, throughout the Department. We have a target date. The membership of the working group is established and we are currently scoping that exercise.

233. Mr S Anderson: It is to be welcomed that we are now finally on the move with that. Why has it taken four and a half years to get to that position? Does the delay illustrate the low priority that was given to enforcement activities?

234. Ms McCandless: I acknowledge that it has been four and a half years. Over that period, we have been upgrading the data that we hold in relation to enforcement. In 2008 and 2009, we invested significant resource in upgrading our enforcement data. We then had the implementation of e-PIC (Electronic Planning Information for Citizens), the planning portal. All our information was migrated onto a new information system. It became clear at the start of the implementation of e-PIC that improvements to the enforcement module were required, so we set about a data-cleansing exercise. We trained staff on the new enforcement module in 2011. In the last business year, we can be satisfied that we have cleansed all the data in relation to enforcement and trained all the staff. Now, we have a database, shared between NIEA and ourselves. So, although we have not yet put in place the single database that the CJI recommended and for which we recognise the need in principle, we have put in place huge improvements in the data that we have on our IT systems, and a database is shared between NIEA and ourselves.

235. Mr S Anderson: Would you say that it was given high priority?

236. Ms McCandless: It was given significant priority. We put a lot of resources into ensuring that our data is now reliable and that we can retrieve it in a timely manner. The types of information that the Audit Office report requests that we are able to pull reports on, such as the nature and extent of the breaches, the dates, the costs involved and the nature of the investigation, is all recorded in our database. We are able to retrieve that information readily and use it to actively manage caseloads, identify trends and look for areas of improvement. I acknowledge that it has taken us a while to get there, but we feel that we now have that information in place.

237. Mr S Anderson: In the past, the Department would have blamed significant budgetary pressures that were impacting on its ability to progress different activities across the areas of business and to implement the recommendations in the report. However, it stated that the front line services that it was trying to deliver would include the enforcement activities, and resources were to be targeted towards that. Is there not some view that the supposed prioritisation of enforcement and the delay of four and a half years prevented the improvements? It does not seem to match up. Funding was being directed there but, because of the timescale, you did not reach that and maybe still have not reached a single enforcement activity. Can you explain that? I do not know whether you get my drift here or not.

238. Mr O'Reilly: I understand. I do not want to go on too much, but there were significant technical issues with the database. We had to get it right, cleanse the database and make sure that it is reliable, because the challenge is that we are dealing with issues that can lead to criminal convictions and court action against individuals, so we have to be very sure of our information before we start. That is one important strand.

239. You mentioned resource pressures. In a sense, the Department is strange because, up until 2007 or 2008, there was a major workload pressure on the Department. In other words, there was a very large volume of work in the Department, particularly in planning, and the system was struggling to keep up to date with that as well as take forward the implementation of revised database systems. Over the past few years, the situation has gone in the other direction, and the difficulty now is that there has been a very rapid drop in available resources in the Department because of the sharp drop in planning activity. Therefore, in a sense, we have had to take forward the work in a more constrained financial environment.

240. I appreciate and acknowledge entirely the view that it has taken quite a while to get to where we are now. We hope that we are in a much better place now than we were a couple of years ago. I appreciate that, since 2007, it has taken quite a while to get to the point where we are moving towards a more coherent single database for the Department, and, significantly, we now have one between the Planning Service and NIEA, which is a major interface.

241. Beyond that, I assure the Committee that enforcement as a general topic has been a very high priority in the Department. That has been reinforced not just by this Committee but by the Criminal Justice Inspection, and we have put in place the various arrangements to take forward the implementation of the CJI report. Indeed, within the Department's structures, a specific subcommittee of the departmental board is devoted entirely to looking at our enforcement effort and ensuring, in particular, that we take forward and implement all the recommendations in the CJI. We will, no doubt, take forward any further recommendations from this Committee as well.

242. Mr S Anderson: I am pleased to note that you have recognised that delay. Going forward, the enforcement issue needs to be tackled head-on to achieve cohesion between the different parts of the Department. That needs to be done ASAP, and four and a half years was a big time lag. So, hopefully, we will not see much of that in the future and we will move to a better and more cohesive policy here.

243. Mr Byrne: Paragraph 4.14 gives some views of stakeholders on the enforcement activity. What arrangements are in place to engage with those stakeholders? How regularly do you do that, and what sort of improvements have you made as a result of their feedback?

244. For the record, I know two people who have owned listed houses and have carried out major restorations: Louis Kelly of Mullaghmore House in Omagh; and Tom Mayse of the Old Manse, Church of Ireland, in Gortnagarn. Both were very pleased with the co-operation they had. They carried out major work and did an excellent job with co-operation from the heritage service.

245. Mr Coulter: I will deal with the urgent works notices and repair notices that are mentioned in paragraph 4.14 of the report. We engage quite a lot with the voluntary sector and our owner group, as I have said, through annual meetings and so on. We have increased the number of urgent works notices and warning letters that we issue, and we have seen very positive action resulting from that, which is helping to secure buildings. We have used a repairs notice to effect a compulsory acquisition. The rest is about enforcement, which is the responsibility of the Planning Service. We in NIEA co-operate with our colleagues in the Planning Service all the time in that regard.

246. Ms McCandless: Our engagement with our stakeholders occurs mostly through the processing of applications rather than through enforcement-related activities. However, enforcement-related activities often result in planning applications to try to resolve the issues. We work with all owners of buildings to try to ensure that we have a satisfactory outcome. Our initial approach would be to work with owners rather than issue an enforcement notice. We would try to achieve compliance rather than enforce it. We work with all owners on a case-by-case basis.

247. We have also engaged with a lot of owners and those involved in the built heritage through the heritage crime summit, which the Environment Agency has taken forward in recent months. It involves a huge range of interests and provides an open forum for people to engage positively in ways to improve the built heritage.

248. Mr Girvan: Everything has been very mild-mannered until now. I want to ask about a couple of case studies. Paragraph 3.20 in the report outlines the 1999 guidelines for safeguarding government-owned listed buildings after they have been vacated. It is obvious that, in the case of the Crumlin Road Courthouse, which is outlined in figure 11 in the report, the Court Service ignored this guidance. Since it vacated that building, that has become even more of an issue.

249. I appreciate that the purchase price for that building was probably what would be termed as a peppercorn-type figure, which would have reflected the amount of money that needed to be spent on that building to keep it enveloped and secured with the opportunity to retain it. However, for one reason or another, it has deteriorated to such an extent that I do not know whether it is expected to bump into a digger or whether something is going to fall from the sky and sort out all the problems.

250. When it was purchased for a very miserly amount of money, there was an indication that something would be done, but there seems to be an awful lot of leniency given where it appears that there is no commercial interest and, because there is nothing there, nothing can be done. That does not exclude anyone from any responsibility to ensure that a building is maintained.

251. Mr O'Reilly: Mr Coulter can give you more detail about the background to the case. When you read the report and look at the photographs, you can see that there are many photographs of what we would term successes, but there are also photographs of some failures. This is a failure. This building, which is of enormous historical and architectural significance — Mr Coulter can elaborate on the reasons for that better than I can — should not have got into that state.

252. The story is recounted at figure 11 in the report. Generally speaking, there was concern about the general state of the Crumlin Road Courthouse long before it ceased to be a courthouse, because it was decaying. The NIEA's predecessor, the Environment and Heritage Service, had engaged with the Court Service to try to ensure that, at least, essential maintenance and repairs were being carried out on the building. However, as the story then goes, the courthouse was sold, apparently as a part of a PFI deal, to an outside company. Initially, it seemed to be quite a positive outcome. Planning permission was granted, first, for the use of the building as offices and, subsequently, to use it as a hotel. That included, as Michael said earlier, permission for extensions and so on to be built to it, in the interests of preserving the site and building. However, with the severe economic downturn, all those plans seem to have fallen by the wayside. Now we are left with a building that is very vulnerable and is in an exposed condition. Over recent months and weeks, we have been engaging with the current owners of the property in an effort to identify whether there are potential uses and ideas that they may have for the future use of the building. However, it will require some form of further intervention by us in the very near future.

253. Mr Girvan: Can I come back in on that? Why are you interested in the commercial interest in the site?

254. Mr O'Reilly: Pardon?

255. Mr Girvan: We are dealing with the built heritage represented by the building. At the end of the day, does it matter what they want to do inside it? We are worried about losing the fabric of the building. The price that the building was sold for reflected the amount of money that needed to be spent on it. Yes, the Court Service definitely handed over a building for which it had not stuck to its own guidelines. I refer to the guidelines that were there from 1999 in relation to the maintenance and upkeep of it and ensuring that the building was preserved. Court Service failed on that point and is culpable for that. However, it probably thought that the price of moving the building on reflects the amount of money that was going to have to be spent on it.

256. To be quite honest, what goes on inside that building is of no interest to me whatever. The fact is that I want to see it retained and secured. The company obviously thought it was commercially viable when it took it on. There was a very keen interest in doing so. I feel that where we have failed is from the transfer of that until now. The building has just deteriorated and become even more of an eyesore on the Crumlin Road. We are now at a stage where people say that it is better to remove it than to look at it. That is exactly what some people — I do not say all — feel may be the ultimate agenda. A clear, vacant site might be of more value than what is currently there. That is the frightening thing. I genuinely think that the Department does not have the teeth to go in. There are statutory responsibilities and conditions, but they are not always being used. Negotiating? We could be negotiating about this in 10 years' time.

257. The second case that I want to talk about is the stable block in Sion Mills. It was on the at-risk register in 1993. From then until now, we have been negotiating with them and seeing what will happen. Eventually, the building went into such a state that work had to be undertaken. There are a couple of ways of dealing with it. It was on the at-risk register. The owners were given a notice to repair, and then a notice of intention to vest. If someone were to send me a letter stating that my property was going to be vested, I would definitely take action to put it right — unless I thought that the authorities had no teeth. What is going to happen here?

258. Those are just a couple of the issues. I will let you answer.

259. Mr O'Reilly: I completely acknowledge both the substance of what you say and the way you say it. I fully understand the points you make about that building and where the situation has got to. At present, it is in private ownership. Therefore, when deciding what to do about it, we have to take account of that in how we handle the situation.

260. Mr Girvan: Ultimately, we can vest it?

261. Mr O'Reilly: Yes.

262. Mr Girvan: Can that be done because of the heritage value on the site?

263. Mr O'Reilly: Yes.

264. Mr Girvan: The Department could have made repairs and, ultimately, billed the owners for securing the premises to a standard at which they could be retained. That did not happen. There is no roof on it worth talking about, and the water is coming straight in and destroying whatever fabric is in the building. Both the exterior and interior are being destroyed. From that point of view, if somebody said to me, "A Department will do some work on your property", I would say, "Let me at it, because it will cost me only half what it will cost government." That is the way it is, and I know that to be the case.

265. Mr O'Reilly: This does not address all your concerns, but we have had discussions over recent weeks on the situation here. Michael will fill in the details, but we discussed that case with the Minister very recently, and further action may be being considered for the short term.

266. Mr Coulter: I share your concerns, as does Leo. We need to have the building sorted out. The Minister and I met the owner to ask about the situation, given that time has passed. The Minister felt, and expressed directly to the owner, that appropriate care had not been taken of the building in the intervening years and asked us to review that with a view to action. That is exactly where we are at, and I can say no more at this stage. However, I fully share your concerns and completely understand where you are coming from.

267. Mr S Anderson: Michael, you mentioned the Minister and said that you might be preparing to move in and take action. What is the timescale? As Paul said, we can all keep talking until we talk in circles. You said that you met the owner, but if the owner is not prepared to move, what is the timescale for your moving in to do something?

268. Mr Coulter: It is a relatively short timescale.

269. Mr S Anderson: Is that months or a year? What is a "relatively short" time?

270. Mr Coulter: It can be weeks or months. As I said earlier, we have issued five urgent works notices since October last year, and, if you look at the history, you will see that very few were served before that. So we have undoubtedly moved from a deliberation and discussion phase into an action phase. We are very keen to discuss the issues with owners, but there is a time when, as you rightly say, we have to say, "Enough is enough; we need it sorted now."

271. I met the voluntary sector to establish which building should be the first in Northern Ireland on which we should take action on compulsory acquisition, and we all agreed on the Sion Mills stable block. It has been the long-running thorn in the flesh of the conservation sector. We took action against the owner through a High Court injunction to stop him doing works, which had caused further damage to the building, on the site. We moved in and have now purchased the building under the compulsory system. We removed some of the structure and have it in safe keeping. We transferred its ownership to the voluntary sector, to Hearth, and we are waiting for it to undertake the necessary repairs to bring the building back into a good state of repair. Meanwhile, we have capped the walls and protected what is on site, and I know, because we have been in close touch with Hearth through its director Marcus Patton, that he is quite close to having grant aid assembled to enable works to be undertaken on the building.

272. Mr Girvan: We have lost the part of the building that fell down while on the at-risk register. Notice was served on it, and part of it came down at that stage. So what is the point in having the statutory powers to protect a building's heritage when you do not apply the full set of powers in a timely manner to achieve the result of retaining the building in its entirety? It is not about one part of the building — the tower in the centre or whatever — but about the whole building, and, because timely action was not taken, it will cost much more to restore that building, some of which probably will end up being funded by the public under grant funding. You have heard the saying, "A stitch in time saves nine". Unfortunately, we have waited from 1993 until today, and over that period, the building has been allowed — I use the term "allowed" because it seems that nothing was done until relatively late in the day — to deteriorate to such a state that it will now cost an absolute fortune of both Hearth and public sector money to put right what is disappearing before our eyes. That frustrates me. I appreciate that I might be coming across as a wee bit animated, but I get worked up when government does not react quickly enough to such issues even when the statutory powers to deal with them are in place.

273. Mr Coulter: I accept your criticism as well founded. Although I appreciate that there does not appear to have been much action in the intervening years, I can assure you that there was. The owner's circumstances changed: initially, he would have been grant eligible for 20% of costs, but when he went on to a pension, he became eligible for 90%. At that stage, we had to pause our legal action to allow him to reconsider his circumstances now that he was eligible for an enhanced grant. Quite a few things were going on that made this a particularly difficult case. However, I still accept your basic point that, if we have powers, we need to use them, and the quicker we use them, the more effective we are. This case has been the big learning curve for us. I agreed with the voluntary sector that we would tackle only one building at a time, initially. If we tried to spread our action across a range of buildings and then made a wrong legal move, all our cases would fall simultaneously. We decided that we would take on the stable block as the one case from which we could learn lessons, and that is precisely what we sought to do.

274. The positive news is that we have achieved it now. We had never formally served a notice of intention to vest, nor had we carried out the vesting. We have done it now, and we have shown that we will use all the statutory powers available to us. That has been welcomed by the voluntary sector. We have acquired that building. Yes, it would have been far better to acquire it earlier, but we are here now, and we will sort this one out. Already, this episode has provided a catalyst for sorting out various other buildings that would otherwise have been left.

275. Mr Girvan: I want to come back to that point. If, for argument's sake, an order or notice is made for emergency repairs but they are not carried out, what is the time frame involved?

276. Mr Coulter: It is seven days, legally.

277. Mr Girvan: Nothing happens within the seven days, and here we are further down the line. Vesting comes to the table because no action has been taken by the relevant party, individual or body, and the building has been allowed to deteriorate. In that case, does the calculation for the compensation that they receive through the vesting process reflect how their failure to undertake the necessary work devalued the property in the intervening period?

278. Mr Coulter: Not in current statute.

279. Mr Girvan: That is a big mistake, and it needs to be looked at. Ultimately, by not doing anything, owners are being compensated. That brings out another major area of concern, which is that we are not addressing the issue totally. The compensation must reflect how owners acted. It might be possible to return a building to some sort of reasonable state with £100,000, but if that building is allowed to deteriorate, it might cost £400,000 to bring it up to anywhere near that standard. Yet, the amount of compensation received is the same.

280. Mr Coulter: On the issue of compensation being calculated currently, we sought to secure the moneys that we spent on urgent works on the structure, so that they would come off the compensation payment. That has been agreed as a matter of principle and was supported through a planning appeal, so at least that element will be addressed.

281. On a wider issue, I am aware that, when it comes to compensation, the legislation does not assume that, because there is a listed building on the site, the value will be reduced. In the calculation of compensation, any listing issues are disregarded, which, I think, is another issue.

282. Mr Girvan: I appreciate that.

283. Mr Copeland: I will be uncharacteristically foggy, because I do not want to mention any specific cases. I want to put to you a hypothetical situation that may be rooted in some knowledge of events elsewhere. Let us imagine that a substantial public building of significant interest is removed from public ownership. Having belonged to a government body, it is put into the hands of a company or a private individual for, let us say, £1. It is patently obvious to everyone that the site value without the listed building is substantially more than £1. A confluence of circumstances then dictates a collapse in the property market, so nothing happens to the building, and it starts to decline. Suddenly, it appears in the asset value of the company to which it was transferred at a value vastly in excess of the £1 paid. Perhaps, the owner is now able to borrow more on the strength of that valuation. At the time of transfer for £1 of that substantial building of architectural significance, which is public property, are there any safeguards to ensure that, in the event of lightning, an earthquake, fire or, possibly, spontaneous combustion, the public purse is protected should the value of the site increase following the curious act of god that led to its becoming vacant? In other words, someone buys the site and building for £1, the building disappears, and the site becomes worth £1 million. How much does the public get back? A pound?

284. Land and Property Services gives us notional values. However, I do not know what it would think that the site in that hypothetical situation was worth. It strikes me that a convenient confluence of events could have caused something that cost £1 to become worth £1 million. The public are the ones who really lose out, because they are not protected by contractual arrangements when a sale is agreed. If a site on which there is a listed building is bought from the government and the building disappears for any reason, the deal should be called off and the site should revert to government. That is the only way to stamp out the Klondike attitude of some developers who, on many occasions, believe that the public purse is their bank account.

285. Mr Girvan: That was a good statement, Michael. I agree.

286. The Chairperson: Thanks for your brief supplementary question, by the way.

287. Mr Copeland: Sorry, I pushed the boundaries, but you understand what I am saying.

288. Mr O'Reilly: I understand. You highlighted two key points. In some circumstances, there is an incentive for owners of listed buildings to allow them to deteriorate, in the hope that they will do so to such an extent that they will have to be removed. That is generic. It happens not just here but across Ireland and Britain, and it is not infrequent. That leads back to Mr Girvan's point about the fact that there are laws in place and that we must be prepared to use our statutory powers to seek to intervene when we believe that there is a risk of that sort of situation developing. That is the government's responsibility and that of this Department.

289. On the question of the £1, or whatever price a building is sold for, that would, of course, depend on the terms of the original contract of sale.

290. Mr Copeland: Do you agree that, if there is not something in the contract that says, "If a site goes from being worth £1, which you have paid to the public, to £1 million, money is due back to the public", there should be?

291. Mr O'Reilly: If there is not something in the contract —

292. Mr Copeland: If it is not in the contract, it should be.

293. Mr Byrne: I fully support what Paul Girvan said about the Crumlin Road Courthouse and the stable block in Sion Mills. Sion Mills has been a wonderful Victorian village, and what has happened is very sad.

294. I appeal for some consideration to be given to industrial heritage buildings as well as other listed buildings. If a voluntary or community group wants to take on a major project, that should be encouraged. That way, nobody makes a private profit, but at least the public gets a gain that is tangible and a consequence of the public money that has gone into it.

295. Mr Coulter: I would like to touch on three matters briefly. If the Department has initiated compulsory purchase procedures on a listed building, even if the building were removed, the Department may continue with the compulsory acquisition to re-acquire the land, so there would be no benefit to the interim owner.

296. Mr Copeland: What would the owner's compensation be? Would it be based on the price paid for the property or the price of the vacant site?

297. Mr Coulter: That goes beyond my area of competence. I am just pointing out that, if the compulsory purchase procedures have begun, the Department is able to continue that process until the conclusion of the compulsory acquisition, with or without the listed building.

298. The second issue is about proceeds of crime. If there has been a criminal act, something in which the environmental crime unit may be involved, the Department has proceeds-of-crime procedures that it may bring to bear. I am aware of the increased monitoring of some sites in Northern Ireland because of proceeds-of-crime issues.

299. Gosford Castle was in the ownership of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and transferred to the private sector. There were conditions in that transfer, initially as a licence for the owners to prove their bona fides and carry out appropriate works. There are clawback clauses in that transfer of ownership. It is linked to a transfer of ownership from the private sector to public sector, so I thought that it might be worth adding.

300. Mr Copeland: Do you mean public sector to private sector?

301. Mr Coulter: Yes, sorry. I beg your pardon.

302. Mr Copeland: That is very useful. Thank you.

303. The Chairperson: Members, you will be glad to hear that there are no more questions. Fiona, Michael, Leo and Manus, thank you. We might think of some further questions, and, if so, we will send them to you in writing. This has been a very important session, because our built heritage is very important to us all now and in the future. We will leave it at that. Thank you very much for your time.

Appendix 3

Correspondence

Correspondence of 13 April 2012
to Mr Leo O'Reilly

Public Accounts Committee
Room 371
Parliament Buildings

Tel: +44 (0) 28 90521208
Fax: +44 (0) 28 90520366
Email: pac.committee@niassembly.gov.uk

From: Aoibhinn Treanor
Clerk to the Public Accounts Committee

To: Leo O'Reilly
Accounting Officer, Department for the Environment

Date: 13 April 2012

Subject: Update prior to PAC Hearing

Dear Leo,

The Chairperson wrote to you on 24 February to advise you of the Committee's hearing, scheduled for 23 May 2012, about the NIAO report: 'Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings'.

As this report was published over a year ago, some of the performance data and related information needs to be updated.

To fully inform the Committee, I should be grateful if you would provide the information outlined below, by 30 April.

Many thanks for your assistance.

With kind regards,

Aoibhinn

Update for Listed Buildings PAC hearing on 23 May 2012

Paragraph/Figure reference Information requested
1.2 Total expenditure on Built Heritage functions in 2010-11 and 2011-12, broken down into:
  • survey work;
  • grants
  • archaeology /monuments operating costs
2.6 Appendix 6 Progress of the second survey to date:
  • percentage and number of wards now complete
  • expected completion date
2.17 Outcome of the 2010 consultation exercise
3.7 Changes to the grant scheme 'cap' since December 2010
3.8 Amount paid to date to assist Building Preservation Trusts to rescue buildings at risk, and the total number of buildings involved
3.11 Total costs and final outcome of the planned maintenance pilot scheme
3.12 Numbers of buildings removed from BHARNI in 2010-11 and 2011-12, including numbers in receipt of grant aid and the amounts paid by NIEA
3.22 Current status of the draft policy for care of the historic government estate
4.2 Numbers and outcomes of Planning enforcement cases since March 2011
4.3 Numbers of Urgent Works Notices, Building Preservation Notices and Repair Notices issued since March 2011 and new listings as a result
4.7 Details of the current remit of the Environmental Crime Unit in respect of built heritage cases
4.9 (i) Update on the CJI recommendation in favour of an incident and enforcement database for use by all relevant parts of the Department (ii) Update on the status of the ePIC enforcement facility
Figures 1,4,6,7,8, 10 and 13 Update of data to March 2012 in each case

Correspondence of 30 April 2012
from Mr Leo O'Reilly

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Chairperson's Letter of 28 May 2012
to Mr Leo O'Reilly

Public Accounts Committee
Room 371
Parliament Buildings
Ballymiscaw
Belfast
BT4 3XX

Tel: (028) 9052 1208
Fax: (028) 9052 0366
E: pac.committee@niassembly.gov.uk
Aoibhinn.Treanor@niassembly.gov.uk

28 May 2012

Mr Leo O'Reilly
Accounting Officer
Department of the Environment
Clarence Court
10 – 18 Adelaide Street
Belfast
BT2 8GB
Cc Fiona Hamill TOA

Dear Leo,

PAC Evidence Session on 'Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings'

Thank you for your participation in the Committee's evidence session.

As agreed in the course of your evidence, I would be grateful if you could provide the following information to the Committee.

1. An update on the specific measures taken by the Department in response to the recommendations contained with the C&AG's report.

2. A summary and the locations of the five buildings referred to at the session where urgent works notices have been issued.

3. A detailed note on all listed Government buildings, showing ownership by department including those that are currently on the at risk register.

4. As referred to at the session, a copy of the report that seeks to identify the economic value of listed buildings in Northern Ireland.

5. A summary of the Priority 1 targets currently in place for NIEA, and performance against them to date.

I would appreciate receipt of this information by 11 June 2012.

Yours sincerely,

NIA Image

Paul Maskey
Chairperson
Public Accounts Committee

Correspondence of 11 June 2012
from Mr Leo O'Reilly

8th Floor
Goodwood House
44 - 58 May Street
Town Parks
Belfast
BT1 4NN

Telephone: 028 90 37020
Email: leo.oreilly@doeni.gov.uk

Our reference: PSE 0174.12

11 June 2012

Paul Maskey MLA
Chairperson
Northern Ireland Assembly
Public Accounts Committee
Room 371
Parliament Buildings
Ballymiscaw
Belfast.

Dear Paul,

PAC Evidence Session on "Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings"

Thank you for your letter of 28 May 2012 requesting further information for the Committee. I attach the information requested.

Yours sincerely,

NIA Image

Leo O'Reilly
Permanent Secretary
cc Treasury Officer of Accounts

Annex 1

PAC Evidence Session on "Safeguarding Northern Ireland's Listed Buildings" Request For Further Information

1) An update on the specific measures taken by the Department in response to the recommendations contained with the C&AG's report.

NIAO Recommendations Response
We recommend that improved arrangements built into the current contract for targeting survey work and managing throughput of work within NIEA are reflected in all future contracts for the remainder of the survey process; Scoping meetings with the present Contractor, introduced to review all potential buildings for survey in the current contract, have continued and resulted in an improved targeting of resources. The improved arrangements will be considered positively in regard to the development of future contracts.
We recommend that NIEA builds on its procedures for the current contract by formally prioritising for survey those buildings that are most at risk. We also recommend that decisions on the approach to be taken after the current contract expires in 2013 are based on a through appraisal of a range of relevant, fully costed options, to ensure that future survey work delivers value for money; The areas surveyed as a result of the contract let in 2010 were based upon a risk assessment of the districts most at need of resurveying. This is continuing. The survey processes will be reviewed this year in advance of commissioning a new contract. This will ensure that new arrangements are based upon a thorough appraisal of a range of relevant fully costed options.
We recommend that NIEA prioritises the listed properties on the register and engages more proactively with their owners, to encourage them to improve their properties and, if relevant, to avail of grant aid; NIEA has undertaken a review of the grant-aid scheme; including increasing support for owners of buildings at risk. Work is continuing with the owners of listed buildings at risk to encourage them to avail of grant aid and advice from the Department.
We recommend that NIEA puts in place a formal weighting and scoring mechanism for assessing grant applications and gives priority to those with a higher score. As a result, buildings with a low score would become ineligible for grant; NIEA has been reviewing the operation of its grant scheme over the last year. The introduction of a weighting and scoring mechanism is one of the options under consideration, particularly if the finance available for the scheme became more constrained in the future. .
We recommend that the OFMDFM and NIEA work together to put formal processes in place to ensure that public bodies understand, and comply with, their management and reporting responsibilities in this area; Since publication of the NIAO report the DOE has reviewed the existing Protocol for the Care of the Government Historic Estate which was introduced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) in 2003 and bench marked it with developments elsewhere in the UK. A new Northern Ireland specific document has been prepared and this was approved by the Executive on 23 February 2012. This is to be published on 19 June. The document will clarify management and reporting responsibilities in this area. Each Department and Agency will have to report to NIEA every two years on each heritage feature within its control, with the first returns due in June 2013. NIEA will then report on the position to the Environment Committee by September 2013.
We recommend that the draft Built Heritage enforcement procedures drawn up by NIEA in 2009 for use by both Agencies should be formalised and put into practice without further delay. We also recommend that the Department establishes the enforcement database recommended by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate in its 2007 report; and The Department has adopted the formal procedures outlined in the NIAO report. A single incident and enforcement database covering built heritage cases has now been developed by DOE Planning and is shared with NIEA.
We recommend, therefore, that NIEA undertakes a review to clearly establish the full range of management and costing information that it requires on an ongoing basis, and quickly puts in place the systems needed to generate it. A review of management and costing information required in respect of the listed buildings database has been carried out over the last year. The report of this review was received in April 2012 and the resources required to implement the solutions recommended are now being sought.

2) A summary of the locations of the five buildings referred to at the session where urgent works notices have been issued.

Since September 2011 the Department has issued 5 Urgent Works Notices. These are summarised below:

Location Summary
Tyrone Courier Building, Dungannon. Warning letters issued outlining the Departments powers, but no actions taken by owner. UWN served 28/09/11. Works completed. Department currently seeking payment from owners of works undertaken.
20 Crawford Square, Londonderry. Warning letters issued outlining the Departments powers, but no actions taken by owner. UWN Notice served 19/01/2012. Ownership of property transferred to the Bank of Ireland 21/01/12 who undertook urgent works at their expense. Works completed.
119 Main Street, Dundrum. Warning letters issued outlining the Departments powers, but no actions taken by owner. Urgent Works Notice served 14/02/2012. Works were undertaken in March 2012 by NIEA appointed contractor. Works completed. Department currently seeking payment from owners of works undertaken.
Corrstown House, Portrush. Warning letters issued outlining the Departments powers, but no actions taken by owner. Urgent Works Notice served 13/03/2012. The owner contacted NIEA HBU to state that the Urgent Works had been undertaken at their expense. Works completed.
Ballyloran House, Larne. Warning letters issued outlining the Departments powers in 2009. Action taken to secure building. Building became unsecure again, and owner encouraged to address this. No action taken; Urgent Works Notice served 22/05/2012. The owner's representative contacted NIEA HBU to state that the owner would undertake the urgent works themselves 25/05/12. Progress being monitored.

3) A detailed note on all listed Government buildings, showing ownership by department including those that are currently on the at risk register.

Annex 1 details the location; the type of structure; and the owner of the building, in the ownership of central and local government organisations.

It should be noted that because there is no statutory obligation for owners to inform the Department of any change in ownership, this list represents the best information available to NIEA and within the awareness of its staff.

Annex 2 provides details of those government buildings that are on the Built Heritage at Risk Northern Ireland register.

4) As referred to at the session, a copy of the report that seeks to identify the economic value of listed buildings in Northern Ireland.

Annex 3 contains a summary document of the 'Study of the Economic Value of Northern Ireland's Historic Environment'.

Annex 4 contains the full Technical Report.

Please note that these documents are not yet in the public domain. They will be published on the 21 June, 2012.

5) A summary of the Priority 1 targets currently in place for NIEA, and performance against them to date.

The following documents are included: these outline the current targets for NIEA:

Annex 5 summarises NIEA key targets 2012-13 with the May 2012 performance position for built heritage targets shown;

Annex 6 contains the NIEA Balance Scorecard for 2012 – 13, showing all the NIEA targets for the current year.

Department of the Environment
11 June 2012

Annex 2

Listed Buildings owned by Public Bodies on the Built Heritage at Risk Register

(29 May 2012)

  Address Grade Risk category (please refer to bottom of table) Owner Total
Owned by Central Government (inc PSNI) Craigowen Lodge, 208 Bangor Road, Holywood B1 E DRD  
  Water Tower
Hunt's Park
(off Killaughey Road)
Donaghadee
Co. Down
B2 * DRD  
  Ormiston House, Hawthornden Road, Belfast B * NI Assembly  
  East gate lodge at Ormiston House, 48 Hawthornden Road, Belfast B2 * NI Assembly  
  Stable block (Ormiston Mews) Ormiston House 50 Hawthornden Road, Belfast B2 * NI Assembly  
  Accommodation Bridge over Newry Canal, Poyntzpass, Co Armagh B2/IA * DRD  
  Walled Garden The Castle Castlewellan, Co Down B+ A DARD  
  Riddel's Building, 87-91 Ann Street, Belfast B1 C PSNI Total 8

 

  Address Grade Risk category (please refer to bottom of table)   Total
Owned by Local Government Killea Mortuary Chapel, Killea, Co Londonderry B1 A Derry City Council  
  Stables at Boomhall, Culmore Road, Londonderry B2 A Derry City Council  
  Market Yard 2 Station Road Larne, Co Antrim B2 D Larne Borough Council  
  Necarne Castle, Irvinestown B+ A Fermanagh District Council  
  Armagh Gaol, Gaol Square, Armagh B+ * Armagh City & District Council  
  fountain, Dunville Park, Falls Road, Belfast B * Belfast City Council  
  Floral Hall, Zoological Gardens
Antrim Road
Belfast
Co Antrim
B1 * Belfast City Council  
  Old Quaker Meeting House, 27C Maghaberry Road, Moira, Craigavon, Co Down B2 * Lisburn District Council  
  Iron footbridge, over the Six Mile Water, south-east of Muckamore Bridge, adjacent to Seven Mile Straight Muckamore Antrim, Co Antrim B2 * Antrim Borough Council  
  Vogue Cinema 52 Newry Street Kilkeel Newry Co Down BT34 4DN B2 E Newry & Mourne District Council  
  Templemore Baths, Templemore Avenue, Belfast B1 C Belfast City Council  
  Wilmont House, Lady Dixon Park, Belfast   * Belfast City Council  
          Total 12

 

  Address Grade Risk category (please refer to bottom of table)   Total
Owned by NIHE John Martin Monument, Clay Road, Shrigley
Tullyveery (Td.), Killyleagh
Co. Down
B1 C NIHE Total 1
Owned by Education Boards 7 Corry's Square, Newry, Co Down B2 C South Eastern Education Board  
  8 Corry's Square, Newry, Co Down B2 C South Eastern Education Board  
  Gatehouse, New County Gaol, Downpatrick B+ C South Eastern Education Board  
  Hilden National School, Bridge Street, Hilden B2 * South Eastern Education Board  
  22 Pond Park Road Lisburn B2 C South Eastern Education Board  
  School of Music, Donegall Pass, Belfast B1 * Belfast Education Board Total 6

 

  Address Grade Risk category (please refer to bottom of table)   Total
Owned by Health Boards Belvoir Park Hospital, Hospital Road, Belfast B2 * Belfast Health and Social Care Trust  
  Downe Hospital (main block) 9a Pound Lane Downpatrick, Co Down B2 A South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust  
  Downe Hospital (administration block), 9a Pound Lane, Downpatrick Co Down B2 A South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust Total 3

For buildings at risk, the following priority categories are used as an indication of trend and as a means of prioritising action:

= Risk Category yet to be determined (3/4 of the BHARNI register have been reviewed since January and allocated a category. This work is ongoing)

A Immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; no solution agreed

B Immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; solution agreed but not yet implemented

C Slow decay; no solution agreed

D Slow decay; solution agreed but not yet implemented

E Under repair or in fair to good repair, but no user identified; or under threat of vacancy with no obvious new user (applicable only to buildings capable of beneficial use)

F Repair scheme in progress and (where applicable) end use or user identified; functionally redundant buildings with new use agreed but not yet implemented

Annex 3

Study of the Economic Value of Northern Ireland's Historic Environment Summary Report submitted to: Department of the Environment

14 May 2012

NIA Image

eftec
73-75 Mortimer Street
London W1W 7SQ

tel: 44(0)2075805383
fax: 44(0)2075805385
eftec@eftec.co.uk www.eftec.co.uk

Authors

The report has been prepared by:

Lead authors:

Declan Mackin and Alan Davidson (RSM McClure Watters) - Economic Impact Assessment and Case Studies

Craig Bullock (eftec) - Conceptual Review, Social Values and Case Studies

Researchers:

Sarah McCarthy (RSM McClure Watters)

Lawrie Harper Simmonds (eftec), Zara Phang (eftec)

Editor: Ece Ozdemiroglu (eftec)

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the members of the Economics Sub-group of the Historic Environmental Ministerial Strategic Forum, namely: Dr Brian Williams (DOE), Michael Coulter (DOE), Bernard Moane (DOE), Pamela Wilson (NITB), Patrick Neeson (DCAL), Paul Mullan (HLF), Stephen Aston (NIEA), Stephen Duffy (DSD), Professor Gabriel Cooney (UCD) and Diane Ruddock (NT) for their guidance and comments; to many organisations who have participated in the impact assessment survey and to many organisations and individuals who have provided valuable views and information for the case studies.

Contents

1 Background to the Study

2 Our Approach

2 The Key Findings of the Quantitative Analysis

4 Wider Benefits - Survey Findings and Case Studies

5 Recommendations

6 Conclusion

This summary is supported by the technical report which contains further details on the methodology and case studies.

1 Background to the Study

Northern Ireland's historic environment is a precious asset that has the potential to tell the story of all of its ancestors throughout the 10,000 years of human life in this region. Heritage sites are to be found everywhere, in towns and cities and wherever people have lived, in every parish and townland in Northern Ireland.

Most notable are the sites and monuments in state care and the buildings listed for their special architectural or historic interest. Industrial sites that represent the working lives of previous generations range from the great achievements, most notably in ship building and the linen industry, to more modest ventures. Sites and structures such as canals, railways, mills and factories, historic parks, gardens and demesnes also tell a compelling story. The many maritime heritage sites represent people's interaction with the sea, which connect the island with the rest of the world throughout history, through trade, exchange of ideas and defence. Historic ports and harbours, as well as castles, provide familiar iconic landmarks on our coastline. Key statistics are:

  • 190 monuments in state care
  • 1,800 scheduled monuments
  • 3,000 shipwrecks
  • 8,500 listed historic buildings
  • 17,000 less well-known archaeological sites and monuments
  • 17,000 surviving industrial sites
  • Some 125,000 pre-1919 historic buildings many of which are still in active use

Source: Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Collectively, these sites and their landscape setting provide an historic environment that creates the unique place that is Northern Ireland. It is this historic environment that makes not only a wonderful landscape in which to live, but creates a very distinctive sense of place that is attractive to those living elsewhere and who may wish to visit, invest, or come to live here.

Much of this asset is owned by public bodies like the Northern Ireland Environment Agency or the National Trust, but the great majority of the sites are in the care of private landowners, farmers and owners of historic buildings. These people are the keepers of Northern Ireland's heritage.

The historic environment is an important asset which contributes to our social and economic well-being. The critical question is how can we quantify this benefit and realise its future potential while retaining its authenticity.

The Purpose of the Study

In 2011, the Department of Environment Northern Ireland (DOE NI) commissioned eftec (Economics for the Environment Consultancy) and RSM McClure Watters to carry out a "Study of the Economic Value of Northern Ireland's Historic Heritage".

The Terms of Reference for this study define 'historic environment' as:

"the state care monuments, scheduled monuments, historic parks, gardens, demesnes, buildings and structures of historic value, and archaeological sites of significance that exist in Northern Ireland'. This includes the coastal waters surrounding Northern Ireland in addition to the terrestrial features".

This definition is a relatively narrow one, which concentrates on the built heritage (excluding landscapes and biodiversity). It is this definition that determined the scope of the study.

The aim of the study is to demonstrate the full economic and social importance of the historic environment to local communities and to Northern Ireland as a whole, through quantitative economic research and a range of qualitative examples. The four objectives of the study are to:

1. Determine the current value of economic activity generated by Northern Ireland's historic environment and its distribution;

2. Gauge the level of historic environment-related employment in Northern Ireland, including indirect employment, the distribution of this employment, and its relative importance compared with other sectors;

3. Conduct a credible analysis of the wider community benefits that Northern Ireland's historical environment provides to the economy using a series of case studies, and

4. Make an assessment of the potential for the use of Northern Ireland's historic environment to aid sustainable growth of the economy and make recommendations as to how this could be realised.

Policy Background

The historic thread of our environment is vital to our understanding of place and the past. It enhances our sense of well-being and provides a setting for a great variety of local activities. It represents significant past investment of physical, natural and intellectual resources and offers the potential to realise significant economic, social and environmental benefits. Specifically, from an economic perspective, the maintenance of the historic environment supports the construction sector, providing specialised jobs and investment. It also forms the basis of much of the region's tourism infrastructure and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has identified a number of key projects that offer the best potential for tourism growth. These include the Causeway Coast and Glens (partly historic), St. Patrick and Christian Heritage, the Mourne Mountains, the Titanic and Maritime Belfast and the Walled City of Derry.

Current Government policy highlights the importance of tourism to the local economy, for example:

  • The NI Executive's Programme for Government (PfG) 2011-2015 identifies the strategic priorities against which public spending is allocated in NI. These priorities include "Growing a Sustainable Economy and Investing in the Future". Under this priority, the Executive has made a commitment to: "Increase visitor numbers to 3.6 million and tourist revenue to £625 million by 2013";
  • The NI Executive's Economic Strategy (November 2011) recognises that the NI economy is over-dependent on the public sector and that the economy needs to be rebalanced by growing the private sector. The Strategy identifies a number of 'rebalancing' measures, including: increasing visitor numbers (as identified above); and supporting projects that improve competitiveness, encourage diversification of the rural economy, improve quality of life in rural areas and protect and enhance the environment;
  • The Tourism Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2020 (February 2010) identifies the following as 'key areas of focus': earning more from visitors; investing in development - both capital projects and business skills; targeted marketing; policy support from government and its agencies; and industry leadership. It also identifies that in the immediate future, the NITB's priority market segments will include 'culture/experience seekers'.

2 Our Approach

Northern Ireland's historic environment has a rich diversity that, in its own right, continues to attract domestic and international tourism with all the associated expenditure and employment gains this sector provides. Many of its historic buildings require conservation and maintenance, or are available for modified or new uses that require buildings works, which in turn contributes to construction and other sectors.

The historic environment also generates 'social and cultural' such as a sense of place, community cohesion and environmental benefits. In principle, many of the social and cultural values are also economic values, as anything that adds to people's well-being has a positive economic value (or benefit) irrespective of whether there is a financial transaction.

Our approach to the study has focused on quantifying the tangible (market) economic benefits that involve financial transactions and assessing the wider economic benefits qualitatively through case studies. We have conducted:

  • A stakeholder survey: An online survey of key organisations and stakeholders operating in historic environment sector took place in September – October 2011 and repeated with additional organisations in January – February 2012. The survey contained questions on the organisations' core activities, staffing, expenditures, income associated with historic environment related activities, visitor numbers and respondents' views on the wider economic benefits.

19 responses (including incomplete ones) were received out of 88 organisations contacted, equating to a response rate of 21.6%, which is typical for a survey of this nature. Where NI-specific information was missing, or not sufficiently detailed or representative, we used proxies from Scotland and Wales for which similar studies were conducted in recent years (Ecotec, 2008 and 2010). However, the results of the survey did produce some useful information regarding overall trends in activity and qualitative aspects of performance (as summarised in Section 5 of this summary report). A closely-related study published in the Republic of Ireland (Ecorys 2012) is a timely addition to knowledge in this subject area.

  • Quantitative analysis for tangible market economic impacts: in addition to the survey results, we also reviewed relevant information to estimate the impacts generated by historic environment within wider economy, namely, out-of-state tourism, domestic leisure days and the proportion of construction sector's activity that can be associated with historic environment. The indicators used are net output (expenditure), employment, Gross Value Added and indirect effects through sector multipliers. Based on this information, we also estimated the ratio between public and private (out of state tourism and construction) sector spending.
  • Qualitative analysis for wider economic benefits: We undertook seven detailed case studies illustrating the impact of historic environment across a range of wider benefits.

The approach applied to this study is consistent with the methodology for similar recent studies in Scotland (2008), Wales (2010) and the Republic of Ireland (2012).

3 The Key Findings of the Quantitative Analysis

Our quantitative analysis identifies that:
  • The historic environment is a major contributor to the Northern Ireland economy, creating and sustaining circa 5,400 Full Time Equivalent jobs – this figure reflects both direct and indirect jobs and 'out of state' visitor expenditure only;
  • The historic environment generates circa £287 million of output per annum and £135 million of GVA (Gross Value Added) each year – these figures reflect both direct and indirect expenditure and 'out of state' visitor expenditure only;
  • The construction sector generates a broadly similar impact to that produced by 'out of state' visitors in relation to the historic environment in NI. This is consistent with the findings of recent research undertaken in Scotland. However, a similar study completed in Wales indicated that the construction sector was of greater importance in terms of impact;
  • When the impact of domestic tourism is included, the NI historic environment generates circa £532 million of output per annum, creates/sustains a total of circa 10,000 Full Time Equivalent jobs and generates circa £250 million of GVA each year;
  • The GVA produced by the NI historic environment (including domestic tourism) is equivalent to 11% of the Northern Ireland construction sector and 33% of the Information and Communication sector;
  • Each £1 invested by the public sector generates some £3-4 spend by the private sector1; and
  • Although its contribution to the local economy is significant, the historic environment in Northern Ireland produces a significantly lower level of output, employment and GVA than that of its neighbouring jurisdictions, when assessed on a per capita basis. This suggests that there is significant potential to further develop the historic environment sector in NI.
[1]

4 Wider Benefits - Survey Findings and Case Studies

Survey Findings

A wide range of economic and social benefits associated with the historic environment was highlighted by the stakeholders who responded to our survey.

They believed that the historic environment generates a range of benefits for visitors and non-visitors alike that can be expressed qualitatively.

The principal benefits stated by respondents were:

  • A sense of identity and history (84% of respondents);
  • Preservation of heritage for future generations (79% of respondents);
  • Provision of a better living environment (79% of respondents);
  • Economic regeneration (e.g. increased tourism income and employment) through heritage conservation and renovation (79% of respondents); and
  • Provision of access to historic environment sites for those who are from socially and economically disadvantaged communities (68% of respondents).

Case Studies

Seven case studies were selected for study: St Patrick's Heritage, Causeway Coastal Route, Derry City Walls and Ebrington Barracks, Navan Centre and Armagh, Lough Erne and Fermanagh, Belfast Cathedral Quarter and Belmont Tower. The case studies were carefully selected to cover a range of characteristics and themes and therefore highlighted a wide range of benefits and lessons learned.

Common issues and recommendations for wider application, i.e. in terms of realising the economic potential of NI's historic environment, include:

  • Ensuring that benefits that are derived from the historic environment flow to all parts of local communities (e.g. hotel and commercial space developments alongside public access attractions);
  • Engaging the local population through community workshops and open days and evenings during the re-development phase;
  • Encouraging first time and return visits through authentic re-creation of the historic atmosphere such as re-enactment events, regular educational and entertainment activities, targeted communication with the public and provision of covered areas that could both accommodate large events and avoid weather issues;
  • Embracing modern technology such as providing audio-trails both on site and online (such as podcasts and smart phone applications) that provide more and attractive information about the sites;
  • Strengthening links between individual assets, building on the value and appeal of groups of assets to sustain and lengthen visitor stay and engagement. For example:
  • The Belmont Tower Case Study demonstrates the benefits of establishing links between the building and its association with the literary heritage (for example CS Lewis) of the surrounding area of Belfast;
  • The Causeway Coast and Glens Case Study illustrates the potential benefits of forming connections between a range of heritage sites across this relatively large geographical area, and
  • The Lough Erne Case Study identifies the Lough's link to the larger Shannon-Erne Waterway. Reopening the Upper Ulster Canal linking Upper Lough Erne with Lough Neagh would increase its accessibility and potential for further recreational activities;
  • Strengthening links with historic environment assets in other countries, especially in the Republic of Ireland, the USA and Canada, and applying for internationally recognised status such as World Heritage Site designation would attract out of state tourism;
  • All of the themes (tourism, regeneration, learning, environment and community cohesion / social inclusion) that are relevant to a site should be considered together when designing and marketing a site;
  • Raising the core organisations' and site managers' awareness of what constitutes economic benefit, in particular, that economic benefit is not limited to tourism revenue.

Benefits reported from the case study analysis included:

Economic

  • Attracting visitors and creating jobs
  • Increased footfall in areas in need of regeneration
  • Enhancement of night-time economy

Social

  • Community cohesion
  • Sense of identity and place
  • Civic pride and wellbeing
  • Creating safer and shared spaces
  • Focal point for wider regeneration
  • Skills development and volunteering opportunities

5 Recommendations

The recommendations emanating from this study are as follows.

Recommendation 1 Develop a coherent strategy and implementation plan for realising the potential of the historic environment.
Key steps should involve:
  • Creation of an implementation group with a framework for action.
  • Embed the strategy in the Programme for Government and involve other government departments and NGOs in its implementation.
  • Development of a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the progress and impact of strategy implementation.
Recommendation 2 Public sector funding should be increased to realise further economic and social benefit and to encourage private sector involvement
Comparison of the economic impacts of the historic environment with those of other sectors, highlights that it is a significant sector within the NI economy. However, it produces a significantly lower level of output, employment and GVA than its neighbouring jurisdictions, when assessed on a per capita basis. This suggests that there is significant potential to further develop the historic environment sector in NI.
Recommendation 3 Presentation of historic environment sites should be reviewed to enhance their visitors experience and to maximise their impact
The history and cultural heritage of sites should be easy to access;
  • Clear signage should be used on the way to and in the site;
  • Connections between the site and other sites / assets should be developed / enhanced;
  • Sites should provide a variety of activities ranging from educational, entertainment and linking the historic asset and the natural environment
Recommendation 4 To sustain and increase the present level of impact generated by the historic environment in NI, current levels of marketing and promotion should be at the very least maintained
All principal means of marketing and promoting historic environment attractions should continue, including:
  • The organisations' own websites and other websites;
  • Printed brochures and literature;
  • Stands at festivals and tourism fairs;
  • Social media sites; and
  • Television and radio.
Recommendation 5 Organisations involved in the historic environment should consider ways of expanding their existing linkages with suitable partners (including those with a focus on the natural environment) to coordinate marketing and promotion efforts
Collaboration between a range of partners in delivering activities relevant to the historic environment creates benefits in the form of:
  • Increased profile and higher visitor numbers for attractions;
  • Access to additional funding sources;
  • Networking potential;
  • Provision of specialist technical advice from other organisations;
  • Joint promotional activities; and
  • Sharing of information and ideas for visitor development.
Recommendation 6 An economic impact toolkit should be developed for use within the historic environment sector
Future monitoring activity could be supported by the development of an economic impact toolkit, to ensure that a consistent approach to data capture is applied across the sector. The toolkit could also show how to make the best use of information for the management and promotion of the historic environment.

6 Conclusion

This report has quantified the economic value of the historic environment in Northern Ireland in terms of income and jobs. The resulting figures highlight the fact that the historic environment makes a significant contribution to the local economy, but that it produces a lower level of output, employment and GVA than its neighbouring jurisdictions when assessed on a per capita basis.

To date, the economic impact of Northern Ireland's historic environment has been produced in the absence of a co-ordinated strategy.

This study recommends that: Government and NGO stakeholders develop an overarching and coherent strategy for future investment in the historic environment; the strategy should be embedded within the Programme for Government; and it should be supported by a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that will assess its impact and value for money.

It is considered that the adoption of a strategic approach to future investment will assist the sector in delivering higher levels of economic and social benefit, which in turn, will contribute to the achievement of economic and tourism development objectives set by the NI Executive.

Annex 4

Study of the Economic Value of Northern Ireland's Historic Environment Technical Report submitted to: Department of the Environment

14 May 2012

NIA Image

eftec
73-75 Mortimer Street
London W1W 7SQ

tel: 44(0)2075805383
fax: 44(0)2075805385
eftec@eftec.co.uk www.eftec.co.uk

Authors

The report has been prepared by:

Lead authors:

Declan Mackin and Alan Davidson (RSM McClure Watters) Economic impacts and case studies

Craig Bullock (eftec) Conceptual review, social values and case studies

Researchers:

Sarah McCarthy (RSM McClure Watters),

Lawrie Harper Simmonds (eftec) and Zara Phang (eftec)

Editor:

Ece Ozdemiroglu (eftec)

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the members of the Economics Sub-group of the Historic Environmental Ministerial Strategic Forum, namely: Dr Brian Williams (DOE), Michael Coulter (DOE), Bernard Moane (DOE), Pamela Wilson (NITB), Patrick Neeson (DCAL), Paul Mullan (HLF), Stephen Aston (NIEA), Stephen Duffy (DSD), Professor Gabriel Cooney (UCD) and Diane Ruddock (NT) for their guidance and comments; to many organisations who have participated in the impact assessment survey and to many organisations and individuals who have provided valuable views and information for the case studies.

Overheard at the Belfast Welcome Centre

Interviewer: "Please select from the list on this card the main reason how you decide to choose which foreign country to visit"

A young Canadian couple in unison: "History"

21st September 2011

Table of Contents

1. Introduction and Background

1.1 Project Overview

1.2 Overview of NIs Historic Environment and the Wider Strategic Context

1.3 Our Approach and Report Structure

2. An Overview of the Value Concept used in this Study

2.1 Total Economic Value

2.2 Understanding the Economic Value of the Historic Environment

3. Economic Impacts of Northern Ireland's Historic Environment

3.1 Our Approach

3.2 Stakeholder Survey – design and implementation

3.3 Stakeholder Survey – summary results

3.4 Direct Economic Impacts – Quantitative Analysis

3.5 Gross and Net Direct Impacts - outputs

3.6 Net Direct Impacts - employment

3.7 Net Direct Impacts – Gross Value Added

3.8 Total Impacts – Gross Value Added

3.9 Public / private sector spending

3.10 Impact of Domestic Tourism

4. Case Studies

5. Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 The economic impacts and employment opportunities

5.2 Wider Economic (Social) Benefits

5.3 Recommendations

Annex 1: Principles of the economic value of the historic environment

Annex 2: Stakeholder Survey

Annex 3: Case Study Summaries

Introduction and Background

1.1 Project Overview

In 2011, the Department of Environment Northern Ireland (DOE NI) commissioned eftec (Economics for the Environment Consultancy) and RSM McClure Watters to carry out a "Study of the Economic Value of Northern Ireland's Historic Heritage".

The Terms of Reference (ToR) for this study define 'historic environment' as:

"the state care monuments, scheduled monuments, historic parks, gardens, demesnes, buildings and structures of historic value, and archaeological sites of significance that exist in Northern Ireland'. This includes the coastal waters surrounding Northern Ireland in addition to the terrestrial features".

This definition is a narrow one concentrating on the built heritage (excluding landscapes and biodiversity) and determines the scope of the study.

The aim of the study is, through quantitative economic research and a range of qualitative examples, to demonstrate the full economic and social importance of the historic environment to local communities and to Northern Ireland as a whole. The four objectives of the study are to:

1. Determine the current value of economic activity generated by Northern Ireland's historic environment and its distribution;

2. Gauge the level of historic environment-related employment in Northern Ireland, including indirect employment, the distribution of this employment, and its relative importance compared with other sectors;

3. Conduct a credible analysis of the wider community benefits that Northern Ireland's historical environment provides to the economy using a series of case studies, and

4. Make an assessment of the potential for the use of Northern Ireland's historic environment to aid sustainable growth of the economy and make recommendations as to how this could be realised.

The purpose is to help make the case for investment in the Northern Ireland historic environment. In order to achieve this purpose, the study gathered evidence on the economic value in its broadest definition. This includes the kind of value captured by / expressed in actual markets (e.g. through visitor spending) and the kind of value that is not (wider social benefits or non-market economic values). Both of these values are important and need to be identified for the decision making process even if not completely quantified.

The study also estimated the jobs supported by and income and expenditure directly and indirectly related to the historic environment.

1.2 Overview of NIs Historic Environment and the Wider Strategic Context

As well as being indispensable to the study of history and archaeology, the historic thread of our environment is vital to our understanding of place. It enhances our sense of well-being and provides a setting for a great variety of local activities. It represents significant past investment of physical, natural and intellectual resources and offers the potential to realise significant economic, social and environmental benefits.

NI's historic environment forms the basis of much of the region's tourism infrastructure and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has identified a number of 'signature projects' that offer the best potential for tourism growth. These include the Causeway Coast and Glens (partly historic), St. Patrick and Christian Heritage; the Titanic and Maritime Belfast and the Walled City of Derry.

Current Government policy highlights the importance of tourism to the local economy, for example:

  • The NI Executive's Draft Programme for Government (PfG) 2011-2015 identifies the strategic priorities against which public spending is allocated in NI. These priorities include "Growing a Sustainable Economy and Investing in the Future". Under this priority, the Executive has made a commitment to: "Increase visitor numbers to 3.6 million and tourist revenue to £625 million by 2013";
  • The NI Executive's Draft Economic Strategy (November 2011) recognises that the NI economy is over dependent on the public sector and that the economy needs to be rebalanced by growing the private sector. The Draft Strategy identifies a number of 'rebalancing' measures, including: increasing visitor numbers (as identified above); and supporting projects that improve competitiveness, encourage diversification of the rural economy, improve quality of life in rural areas and that protect and enhance the environment;
  • The Draft Tourism Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2020 (February 2010) identifies a number of 'key areas of focus', namely:
  • Earning more from visitors;
  • Investing in development - both capital projects and business skills;
  • Targeted marketing;
  • Policy support from government and its agencies; and
  • Industry leadership.

It also identifies that in the immediate future, the NITB's priority market segments will include 'culture/experience seekers'.

Key priorities identified within the Draft Tourism Strategy include, but are not limited to:

  • "Complete the development of the 5 Signature Projects and develop them into Signature Destinations"
  • "Demonstrate commitment to taking care of the environment";
  • "Upgrade interpretation at visitor sites and give priority to the development of projects that explain our history and culture"
  • "Achieve cross government commitment to supporting economic growth through tourism"

Key actions identified by the Draft Strategy include:

  • "Invest in visitor information to encourage visitors to treat the environment as a precious resource";
  • "Conserve and enhance the natural and historic environment"; and
  • "Give priority for financial support to projects that add to a visitors understanding".

Given its contribution to NI's tourism infrastructure, it is likely that achievement of the objectives associated with the above strategies will require further development and sustainable management of assets associated with the region's historic environment.

1.3 Our Approach and Report Structure

Our approach to the study has incorporated the following:

  • A stakeholder survey: Online survey of key organisations and stakeholders operating in historic environment sector that took place between in September – October 2011 and again with additional organisations in January – February 2012. The survey contained questions on the organisations' core activities, staffing, expenditures, income associated with historic environment related activities, visitor numbers and respondents' views on the wider benefits.

19 responses were received out of 88 organisations contacted: a response rate of 21.6% including incomplete returns. This is a low response rate for surveys like this. However, the returns also included incomplete responses (e.g. organisations reporting that they don't record visitor numbers). Therefore, where Northern Ireland specific information was missing or not sufficiently detailed/ representative, we used proxies from Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland for which similar studies were conducted in recent years (Ecotec, 2008 and 2010 and Ecorys, 2012). However, the results of the survey did produce some useful information regarding overall trends in activity and qualitative aspects of performance.

  • Quantitative analysis: in addition to the survey results, we also reviewed the relevant literature to estimate the impacts generated by historic environment within wider economy (e.g. out-of-state tourism and construction sectors) to estimate net output (expenditure), employment, Gross Value Added, multiplier effects and the leverage effect of public spending in encouraging private spending. The impact of leisure day visits by Northern Ireland residents is also estimated; and
  • Qualitative analysis: We undertook seven detailed case studies illustrating the impact of historic environment across a range of wider benefits. Responses for the stakeholder survey are also used in the qualitative analysis of the social benefits.

The approach applied to this study is consistent with methodology for similar recent studies in Scotland (2008), Wales (2010) and Republic of Ireland (2012).

The report consists of five sections. Following this introduction:

  • Section 2 provides an overview of the economic value concept used in this study;
  • Section 3 presents the economic (market) impact model used in this study and the associated results;
  • Section 4 presents a selection of case studies. A summary of the case studies is presented in Annex 3, while individual reports are available in separate files; and
  • Section 5 concludes with the study's recommendations.

In addition, the document has three Annexes:

  • Annex 1 presents further detail on the principles of economic analysis underlying our approach which can be referred to by interested readers but is not essential reading;
  • Annex 2 presents the questionnaire used in the stakeholder survey; and
  • Annex 3 presents summaries of case studies developed as part of the study.

There is also a stand-alone summary report that covers the same ground but focuses on key messages.

An Overview of the Value Concept used in this Study

Much of Northern Ireland's historic environment consists of landmark heritage that, in its own right, will attract domestic and international tourism with all the associated expenditure and employment gains this sector provides. Many of its historic buildings require conservation and maintenance or are available for modified or new uses that require buildings works with the stimulus this provides to the construction sector. These economic impacts of the historic environment itself and its effect on other sectors are explored in Section 3 of this report.

Social and cultural benefits often tend to be viewed as an add-on or placed under the heading of "wider benefits". In principle, many of the social and cultural values are also economic values, as anything that adds to people's well-being is positive irrespective of whether a financial transaction takes place. In fact, even without a market, some of these wider benefits can be quantified through specially developed methodologies.

In this Section, we provide an overview of the broad definition of economic value and illustrate how it applies to the historic environment in Northern Ireland. Annex 1 provides further economic theory behind the analysis here, which is presented for the benefit of the interested reader but is not essential reading in this context.

2.1 Total Economic Value

The value concept used in this study is what is called "the total economic value" in the economic literature. This is a typology of why individuals hold values for any given good, service or resource, including the historic environment.

Individuals hold values for historic environment because they make direct use of it by visiting the sites for tourism; access and learning; and volunteering at the sites. This value component is referred to as direct use value in the economic literature and can be quantified by looking at how much money and time people spend to visit the historic environment and hence create tangible economic impact. This economic impact is what we measured through the stakeholder survey and quantitative analysis (Section 3).

Individuals hold values for historic environment not only because they visit specific sites, but because the existence of the sites contributes to other economic activities and social values. This value component is referred to as indirect use value in the economic literature. The impacts of the historic environment on other economic sectors can be quantified based on data from actual markets. In this study, it has been valued by reviewing data from other sectors as part of the quantitative analysis (see Section 3). Other indirect use values such as skills attainment, sense of place, community cohesion, vitality and social interaction, and environmental quality are very difficult to quantify. In this study, we provide qualitative assessments of these through case studies.

Individuals also hold values for the historic environment that can be translated into a 'willingness to conserve' in order to use the historic environment in the future. This value component is referred to as option value in the economic literature. This value is undoubtedly reflected in investments made in the conservation of the historic environment but extremely difficult (some may argue not necessary) to disaggregate.

Finally, individuals hold values for the historic environment irrespective of what uses they make of it now or in the future. These are called non-use values in the economic literature and could arise because individuals may value others' use of the historic environment (altruistic value), may wish future generations to benefit (bequest value) or believe that historic environment should be conserved for its own sake (existence values). It is not possible to quantify this type of value without primary research using specially designed methods. Therefore, in this study, they are covered in qualitative terms.

Figure 2.1 summarises the components of the Total Economic Value terminology and show how the approach of this study covers these.

Figure 2.1: Total Economic Value and Coverage by our Approach

Use values Non-use values
Direct use Indirect use Option value Altruistic values Bequest values Existence values
Visits Tourism Access and learning Volunteers Regeneration Catalyst for investment Skills attainment Sense of place / identity / pride Community cohesion Vitality and social interaction Environmental quality Re-use or adaptation of buildings Future signature projects Future tourism potential Benefits to others in the community Bequeath of heritage For the sake of the historic environment existing
Stakeholder survey
Quantitative analysis (economic impacts) Qualitative analysis by way of case studies

NIA Image

Figure 2.2: The relationship between wider economic, social and cultural benefits, investment and tourism

2.2 Understanding the Economic Value of the Historic Environment

In this Section, we provide further details on key value components as they relate to the historic environment in general and in the specific context of Northern Ireland. The examples provided in the boxes are for illustration only and are not meant to be comprehensive. Further details are provided in the quantitative analysis and case studies.

Visits / Tourism. Landmark historic sites and buildings are an obvious draw for both domestic and international tourists to Northern Ireland. Compared with other economic sectors, tourism is relatively labour intensive and provides a market for numerous inputs and services such as local food produce, crafts, entertainment or transport. Tourism can provide an argument for urban renewal, and for public and private investment. It is also effective in raising the profile of Northern Ireland abroad.

Surveys have demonstrated that, when asked about where they would most prefer to spend a day out, people regularly list towns and cities known for their heritage and that a strong correlation exists between people's ratings and the number of listed buildings.[2] People, it seems, like visiting towns with a distinct heritage character, particularly where this can also accommodate retail and leisure activity.[3]

Top historic attractions include the Botanic Gardens in Belfast (689,000 visitors), Derry City Walls (248,000), the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (238,000) and Mount Stewart House (150,000)(NITB, 2010). Often there is a correspondence with the natural environment through the landscape setting and the influence that human beings have had on this landscape, for example through farming or settlement.

Access and learning. People are encouraged to learn more about their history and community, especially where restoration provides an opportunity for access, amenity and interaction. There are opportunities for interpretive facilities and for relationships to be developed with schools and colleges. Moreover, there are opportunities to link with historical associations and trusts and to provide for life-long and extra-curricula learning.

The interest and value of sites of archaeological interest can be difficult to communicate, but at the Navan Centre in County Armagh visitors have the opportunity to be taken on guided tours of the earthworks and to experience an interpretive exhibition that takes them on a tour of Ireland's Celtic history and myths. An early Christian hut has been re-created and guides, who take on the clothing and persona of characters who may once have lived at the site, introduce visitors to the daily life of the time. The tours and displays are appealing to families and programmes are linked to the national curriculum. In the nearby City of Armagh, the Observatory is keen to promote its cultural and educational value to a wider public while, at the historic Armagh Public Library, visitors, including children, are permitted to pick up and open many of the rare and antique books in the collection. Some other good examples of heritage's contribution to education can be found in the Annalong Corn Mill and Enniskillen Castle. Each September, throughout Northern Ireland, public and privately owned historic buildings open their doors to the public on the European Heritage Open Day.

Volunteering. The process of volunteering provides rewards to the individuals involved, both personally and in the sense of contributing to their community. Volunteer work on historic properties can also provide useful practical skills.

Huge numbers of people volunteer to be involved in the running or maintenance of historic features. The National Trust in Northern Ireland has a database of 4,500 conservation volunteers who they believe contribute 80,000 hours of their own time each year. This is a very real investment by those involved as time is valuable. While much volunteering may be performed by retired people or by others at weekends, all time has an opportunity costs in that it can be spent doing other things. If this time contribution is valued at just the minimum wage it would be worth £486,000 per year. This is just a modest reflection of the personal value that most volunteers themselves place on heritage.

Regeneration. Regeneration is often centred on iconic buildings of heritage value. The integration of these buildings into urban design or their adaptation for new uses can provide a focus for improving the environment in which people choose to live and work. The enhanced image of an area encourages the privately funded renewal of private and commercial buildings with benefits to the local economy. There are also income and employment benefits for the construction sector.

For many of these reasons, towns and cities with heritage assets have a competitive advantage. The European Commission report 'Imagination and Regeneration' (Landry, 2003) observes that urban competitiveness has been an objective behind much of the infrastructural investment and marketing that cities have used to promote themselves in recent decades. The report argues that in this competitive environment distinctiveness is a unique asset and that culture is a means to publicise a city's identity. It adds that urban regeneration fuelled by a creative culture presents a progressive and "can-do" image. With heritage assets' integration into the public realm, and with public investment demonstrating government commitment, an impression is created of a community that is going places.

The Cathedral Quarter in Belfast and the Regeneration Plan for Derry–Londonderry demonstrate how the historic environment can become a resource for urban regeneration. In Derry-Londonderry, over £14 million has been invested in restoration within the "Walled City" including the historic Guildhall. The City Centre is linked by a new Peace Bridge to Ebrington Barracks, a star-shaped former military base with an imposing setting beside Lough Foyle. Development plans for Ebrington aim to transform it into an arts and culture centre and a home for creative and other start-up companies, cafes, bars and restaurants at a cost of £23 million. These projects, bolstered the city's successful bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2013, will draw on the City's heritage to strengthen its international reputation and to provide a springboard for economic and social development.

Catalyst for investment. The historic environment can stimulate investment through the re-use of buildings for new purposes, for example for tourism as landmark hotels, residential development, office space and enterprise centres, or as gateways or identifiers for particular neighbourhoods. Naturally, in each case depending on the character and original use of the building, a balance must be struck between the opportunity provided to protect external heritage features and allowing a varying degree of public access. Where supported by a public commitment to an area, the positive image presented to visitors and outsiders portrays a forward looking and confident community and an attractive environment for investment. There are potentially very significant benefits for the construction and tourism sectors and to the local and wider economies.

The Merchant Hotel in Belfast is an elaborate blend of Victorian architecture and Art Deco design. The presence of such a famous structure amongst other examples of superb historic architecture in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter, provides a rationale and stimulus for public and private investment in the district. Nearby, McHugh's Bar and Restaurant is housed in the oldest building in Belfast. Private investment has permitted the building to resume its Georgian splendour as a Grade A listed building. St. George's Market was restored with Heritage Lottery Funds following a vigorous campaign by traders and local people. It continues to provide a popular public space and fashionable home for traders and craftspeople. Other examples of re-use of historic buildings can be found in the Cultúrlann centre in West Belfast, the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry-Londonderry, and in plans to convert part of Armagh Gaol to a boutique hotel.

Skills attainment. The restoration and protection of built heritage often calls for specialist skills in trades such as construction, carpentry or plastering. This provides opportunities to equip both young people and adults with valuable vocational skills, particularly when associated with the regeneration of communities. There is a synergy between the need for specialist construction skills required by restoration and the various government sponsored employment and training programmes.

The Mourne Homesteads Building Project set out to restore many of the fine examples of traditional dwellings to be found in the Mournes area. The project has been in receipt of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a variety of trusts and state agencies. Its work has been recognised in national and international awards and commendations. The project is also an example of the historic environment complementing the natural environment, in this case the Mourne Mountains Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). However, the project has also allowed over 270 local people and builders to learn and practice traditional building skills. A travelling exhibition and handbook have also raised awareness of traditional skills and encouraged people throughout Northern Ireland to apply these to the restoration and maintenance of historic vernacular buildings.

Sense of place, identity and pride. The often unique character of historic buildings causes them to be associated with particular locations. The uses to which buildings were once put are often strongly associated with local neighbourhoods, for example where formerly used for industrial, leisure or religious purposes or where associated with cultural traditions. They are examples of cultural capital that provide symbolic markers in people's lives and a sense of identity and belonging. Where protected, they add civic pride and confidence to the relationship that all residents share with their city.

Towns and cities in Northern Ireland have been fortunate in retaining much of their historic fabric that provides them with a distinct identity. For example, the Harland and Wolff cranes of the Belfast shipyards are very much synonymous of the city's heritage, just as is the case for the Derry Walls, Armagh's cathedrals and the Carrickfergus Castle.

Community capacity and cohesion. Built heritage can be used as a focus for people to become involved in the future of their neighbourhood particularly where restoration projects attract widespread community support and active participation. This encourages people to take responsibility and ownership of the future direction of their communities adding to collective confidence and social cohesion.

Good examples of instances where voluntary trusts have come forth to preserve local heritage are Lissan House in County Tyrone and in the Moravian village of Gracehill, both of which featured in the BBC Restoration series. Demonstrating the capacity of the historic environment to bridge communities, the Cultúrlann Gaelic culture and arts centre in Belfast was created within the structure of the former Presbyterian Church and Orange Lodge. The First Derry Presbyterian Church which overlooks the Catholic Bogside was reopened at an interdenominational ceremony in 2011 with cross-community support.

Environmental quality. The protection, restoration and maintenance of built heritage directly enhance the environmental quality of local neighbourhoods. Restoration projects, particularly where they involve the participation of the community, stimulate similar initiatives in the surrounding area. Restoration can itself save on resources through the re-use of existing buildings and the energy embodied in construction and materials. Demolition and construction waste accounts for 35% of the total waste produced in the UK (Defra, 2011). In addition, many historic buildings have a strong association with the natural or semi-natural setting in which they are located, including the local countryside or coastline, or parks and gardens. This is a setting that can attract amenity, recreation and tourism, contributing directly to health and quality of life.

Our case studies (Section 4) of the Causeway Coast and Lough Erne amply demonstrate the relationship between the historic and natural environment. The Giant's Causeway is the 'poster boy' for the former, but the coast would fail to be the attraction that it is without such sites as Dunluce Castle, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Old Bushmills Distillery. In Fermanagh, the tranquil beauty of Lough Erne is complemented by its wartime flying boat heritage and the many ancient remains, early Christian sites and castles scattered around its shores. The National Trust gardens at Rowallane, County Down and the lakeside surroundings at Crom draw as many visitors as Trust's built heritage, while the demesnes at Mount Stewart, Florence Court and Castle Coole themselves contain features of historical interest and are as much heritage features as the plantation properties with which they are associated.

Table 2.1 presents some examples of historic environment sites in Northern Ireland and the types of economic benefits they generate. The list is not comprehensive and some of the examples are analysed in further detail as case studies in Section 4.

Table 2.1: Examples of heritage assets providing wider economic benefits

Giving people a sense of identity
Dunluce Castle Co. Antrim Very much an image of Northern Ireland along with the Giant's Causeway with ties to folklore
St. Columb's Cathedral Derry-Londonderry Most historic building in Derry-Londonderry . Includes displays and artefacts from the siege of the city
Derry Walls Symbolic of the city's history. Urban realm investments underway for UK City of Culture
First Derry Presbyterian Church Recently renovated with the Blue Coats School. Tells history of Presbyterianism in the city
Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall Museum and exhibition of siege and relief of the city
Guildhall City's premier civic centre. Will be focal point of events during 2013 UK City of Culture.
Community capacity/cohesion
First Derry Presbyterian Church Derry-Londonderry Now often used for cross cultural events, e.g. "Talk across the Walls" initiative
Crescent Arts Centre Belfast Installed in Ladies' Collegiate School founded in 1873. Recipient of RICS Community Benefit award.
The Playhouse Theatre Derry-Londonderry Renovated and opened in 1992. Community arts/resource centre on neutral site in city
Diamond War Memorial The Memorial demonstrates how there is an almost 50/50 balance of Protestant and Catholic names on the plinth. Opened up gates of memorial to all.
Aras Colmcille Oldest surviving purpose built school.
Regeneration
Cathedral Quarter Belfast Public and private investment in urban regeneration.
Ebrington Barracks Derry-Londonderry Mixed use and cultural development meeting community cohesion objectives too through the link to city provided by the Peace Bridge
Environmental quality
Causeway Coast Co Londonderry Co Antrim Combining built and natural heritage
Guildhall Square & Waterloo Place Derry-Londonderry Public realm development
Castle Coole Co Fermanagh Gardens designated as site of scientific interest
Access and learning
Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall Derry-Londonderry Educational tours for Leaving Cert students
The Playhouse Theatre Education and Outreach Dept. Open College Network accredited status
Enniskillen Castle Co. Fermanagh Education and outreach
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium Co. Armagh Education and outreach
Armagh Public Library Education and research

Economic Impacts of Northern Ireland's Historic Environment

3.1 Our Approach

This section presents the approach we developed for a robust, evidence-based analysis of the historic environment's economic impact in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA), employment and output. Our work followed best practice in economic impact assessments and sought to maximise the degree of comparability between the analysis for NI and other recent studies conducted in Scotland and Wales.

Our quantitative assessment of the economic impact of NI's historic environment encompassed:

  • Direct impacts, including:
  • Relevant expenditure by core organisations with a role in managing and promoting the historic environment;
  • Estimated expenditure by the construction industry on repairs and maintenance of the historic environment; and
  • Estimated expenditure by tourists visiting NI primarily because of its historic environment; and
  • Indirect and induced impacts, such as:
  • Expenditure by firms supplying the organisations and industries which are delivering direct impacts as noted above; and
  • Increased expenditure by the people working in organisations and industries delivering both direct and indirect impacts.

Based on the information available to us, we have selected 2010 as a suitable base year for our analysis.

To underpin our analysis, we gathered a wide range of quantitative information to which economic values can be assigned (e.g. number and type of visitors) and economic information itself (e.g. average spending by visitors). Some of this information was gathered through a purpose built questionnaire and others through making individual contacts with the relevant organisations.

3.2 Stakeholder Survey – Design and Implementation

An electronic questionnaire was sent to 88 stakeholder organisations across sectors including local and central government, voluntary and community organisations and churches.

To maximise the number and quality of responses received, we issued the questionnaire and subsequent reminders under DOE's name, and held a consultation period open from early September 2011 to the end of October 2011, a period of seven weeks, with a further consultation period open from the end of January 2012 to the beginning of February 2012, a period of two weeks.

The areas addressed by the questionnaire are summarised below, and the questionnaire is attached in full at Annex 2:

  • Nature of organisation's core activities within the historic environment:
  • Listed/historic buildings;
  • Archaeology sites;
  • Conservation areas;
  • Gardens/designed landscapes;
  • Historic landscapes;
  • Marine historic environment;
  • Natural environment;
  • Staffing:
  • Number of permanent Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees involved in relevant activities;
  • Number of seasonal FTE employees involved in relevant activities;
  • Analysis of employment between areas of historic environment activity;
  • Proportion of employees resident in NI;
  • Gross annual expenditure on wages and salaries;
  • Percentage of payroll expenditure attributable to employees resident in NI;
  • Extent of volunteer input to delivery of organisation's functions;
  • Annual non-payroll operating expenditure related to historic environment;
  • Annual capital expenditure related to historic environment;
  • Annual income associated with historic environment activities (grant income and other sources);
  • Visitor numbers (where relevant to organisation);
  • Annual number of visitors and tourists;
  • Proportions of visitors staying overnight and on day trips;
  • Geographical origin of visitors (NI, GB, ROI, elsewhere);
  • Proportion of visitors principally attracted to NI by historic environment.
  • Questions about the respondents' perception of wider social values – qualitative assessments, types of benefits provided (e.g. learning, environmental protection, regeneration), size and composition of the wider social beneficiary population and other more focused questions depending on the outcome of other aspects of our work and the type of heritage asset managed by the individual respondents contacted.

We targeted a survey response rate of 20% in line with our prior experience of similar projects. In total, we received 19 responses from the 88 stakeholders, representing a response rate of 21.6%. However, this figure included a number of nil returns and other responses where stakeholders were not able to provide detail in all the areas requested. Consequently, this means that the survey responses cannot be regarded as being fully representative of the sector.

On a sector-by-sector basis, the highest response rate came from local government, with nine Councils submitting responses to the survey. The remaining respondents included local museums, churches and voluntary sector organisations.

The level and nature of stakeholder responses presented us with a number of practical challenges in conducting analysis on the survey results, particularly in relation to completeness and consistency of quantitative data gathered across different stakeholders. For instance, respondents generally indicated that they did not record details of visitor numbers and were therefore unable to provide these details as part of the survey. This reflects a lack of relevant quantitative information available within the sector. Therefore, survey responses are supported by our review of the literature and consultations with the core organizations and construction sector. Where Northern Ireland specific information was not available or not detailed enough, we have used proxy information from elsewhere.

3.3 Stakeholder Survey – Summary Results

Despite lacking sufficient quantitative information, the survey revealed some useful insights and qualitative assessments by the respondents. These are summarized here and relate to trends in visitor numbers, marketing and promotion, collaboration and benefits arising from this and social benefits as summarized below.

Trends in Visitor Numbers

70% of survey respondents reported an increase in numbers visiting their historic environment sites over the past five years. Reasons put forward for this trend included:

  • Improved facilities;
  • Better marketing and promotion;
  • Enhanced provision of information;
  • Greater community awareness through a range of initiatives;
  • Extended opening times;
  • An increased understanding of the importance of Northern Ireland's historic environment sites;
  • Economic climate encouraging increased public usage of free attractions; and
  • Improved programme of regular events targeted at both children and adults.

However, responses also suggested a reduction in the number of school groups visiting historic environment sites, due to funding constraints at individual school level.

Marketing and Promotion

Survey responses indicated that the principal means of marketing and promoting historic environment attractions were as follows:

  • The organisations' own websites;
  • Printed brochures and literature; and
  • Stands at festivals and tourism fairs.

Stakeholders also stated that other promotional channels commonly employed included:

  • Websites of other organisations;
  • Social media sites; and
  • Television and radio.

Collaboration and Benefits Arising

Survey respondents indicated that they collaborated with a range of partners in delivering activities relevant to the historic environment. The main partnerships highlighted were with:

  • Central government (58% of respondents);
  • Local government (83% of respondents);
  • Community groups (83% of respondents);
  • Tourism organisations (58% of respondents); and
  • Partners in the rest of the UK (50% of respondents).

However, our survey suggested that a smaller proportion (41%) of respondents collaborated with partners in the Republic of Ireland.

Those respondents most actively involved in collaborations with other organisations observed a range of benefits arising, including:

  • Increased profile and higher visitor numbers for attractions;
  • Access to additional funding sources (e.g. INTERREG IVA) to further improve the tourism potential of sites;
  • Networking potential;
  • Provision of specialist technical advice from other organisations relating to preservation and management of historic environment sites;
  • Joint promotional activities; and
  • Sharing of information and ideas for visitor development.

Wider Economic (Social) Benefits

Aside from quantitative measures, respondents to the survey believed that the historic environment generates a range of benefits for visitors and non-visitors alike that can be expressed qualitatively. The principal benefits stated by respondents were:

  • A sense of identity and history (84% of respondents);
  • Preservation of heritage for future generations (79% of respondents);
  • Provision of a better living environment (79% of respondents);
  • Economic regeneration (e.g. increased tourism income and employment) through heritage conservation and renovation (79% of respondents); and
  • Provision of access to historic environment sites for those who are less advantaged in society (68% of respondents).

In recognition of the factors above, survey participants highlighted a number of steps they have taken to enhance the wider benefits experienced by people who do not visit historic environment sites. These included:

  • Community participation schemes (e.g. production of photographic publications);
  • Specific lobbying and campaign work with central and local government to ensure that the benefits of heritage-led regeneration are understood;
  • Working with community groups under the PEACE III initiative on various historical themes, displays and publications; and
  • Carbon offsetting through tree planting and management of conservation areas.

3.4 Direct Economic Impacts – Quantitative Analysis

We have analysed and presented the estimated direct economic impacts generated through the stakeholder survey and also individual contact with core organisations and the construction sector.

3.4.1 Core Organisations

We have considered in detail relevant expenditure undertaken by organisations at the core of the historic environment sector, including large employers and grant-awarding bodies (i.e. NIEA, NITB, HLF, Department for Social Development and National Trust). Information from other organisations that play an active role in the historic environment (e.g. local Councils and relevant Non-Government Organisations) has been sought/obtained via our stakeholder survey but was not in sufficient quantitative detail as mentioned in Section 3.2.

Table 3.1 summarises this information with further details provided below. Due to the UK-wide nature of the National Trust's activities, we were unable to identify relevant information in relation to the level of its expenditure within Northern Ireland.

Table 3.1: Summary of expenditure by core organisations in the historic environment sector

Core organisation Expenditure estimate Notes
Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) £11 million (+/- 20% sensitivity: £10.9 - £11.3 million) NEIA financial accounts. Includes expenditure for the Built Heritage Directorate and proportion of corporate services budget Excludes Natural Heritage Directorate
Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) £23.4 million (+/- 20% sensitivity: £18.8 - £28 million) NITB financial accounts. Includes promotion and marketing spending and financial assistance to specific projects Excludes staff and running costs
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) £5.2 million Information from HLF Includes grants and staff costs. Not necessarily net but relevant
Department for Social Development (DSD) £10.1 million Information from DSD Includes grant expenditure Excludes staff costs
National Trust (NT) £5.5 million Information from NT

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)

NIEA's Built Heritage Directorate carries primary responsibility for the Agency's activities in relation to the historic environment. The Agency's financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2010 identify the expenditure incurred by the Built Heritage Directorate presented in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2: NIEA financial statement (year ending 31.03.2010)

Built Heritage Directorate costs £m
Grants to other organisations 3.5
Other programme expenditure 2.6
Staff and other administration costs 3.8
Net operating cost 9.9

Detailed information was not readily available regarding the split of grant expenditure between capital and revenue funding.

In addition, NIEA incurs other corporate services costs in supporting the activities of its three operational Directorates (Built Heritage, Natural Heritage and Environmental Protection). In 2009-10, the Agency's corporate services costs amounted to £4.9m. In seeking to establish the economic impact of these central support activities relating to the historic environment, we have apportioned corporate services costs between the three operational Directorates on the basis of each Directorate's net operating cost.

For 2009-10, the three operational Directorates above had a combined net operating cost of £40.9m, of which the Built Heritage Directorate's net operating cost of £9.9m represented 24%. Applying this proportion to the Agency's corporate services costs of £4.9m would yield a figure of £1.2m in central support costs attributable to the historic environment. Applying a general sensitivity of 20% around this base case estimate would produce a range of £1.0m to £1.4m.

Taking costs for the Built Heritage Directorate together with an appropriate proportion of central support costs, we therefore estimate that the annual direct economic impact associated with NIEA's activities is £11.1m, within a range of £10.9m to £11.3m.

Figures are not readily available for any costs arising within NIEA's Natural Heritage Directorate which may pertain to the historic environment, and as a result these have been excluded from our analysis. The above estimate therefore represents a prudent assessment of the impacts associated with NIEA's activities.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB)

Aside from attracting visitors to NI, the activities of NITB generate a range of impacts in relation to the historic environment sector through areas such as grants made to historic environment projects, promotion and marketing of the historic environment and expenditure on support services for these 'frontline' activities.

Information supplied by NITB indicates that, for 2010, expenditure in relation to the promotion and marketing of the historic environment totalled £0.6m and included:

  • £0.5m on TV and radio advertising for built heritage sites; and
  • £0.1m on promoting NI's garden tourism offering and group visits to relevant sites.

NITB also provides financial assistance to a range of tourism projects across NI, covering a number of key themes within the region's tourist offering, such as:

  • Giant's Causeway/Antrim and Causeway Coast area;
  • Titanic (Maritime)/Belfast;
  • Mournes;
  • Walled City of Derry; and
  • Christian Heritage/St Patrick.

Over the period 2008-11, information provided by NITB indicates financial assistance of some £68.3m was extended to projects with a degree of linkage to the historic environment. We have therefore used the average annual expenditure on financial assistance over the three-year period in our analysis. This amounts to an annual figure of some £22.8m. Applying a general sensitivity of +/-20% to this estimate would produce a lower boundary of £18.2m and an upper boundary of £27.4m.

Combining the above, we therefore estimate the annual economic impact associated with NIEA's activities (distinct from tourist visitors attracted to NI) is some £23.4m, within a range of £18.8m to £28.0m.

NITB also incurs staff and other running costs in providing support services for the activities above, across functional areas including:

  • Business Development;
  • Product Development;
  • Organisational Development;
  • Corporate Development; and
  • Marketing and Events.

Figures are not readily available for the estimated proportions of NITB's staff and other running costs which relate to its work on the historic environment and we have therefore excluded these from our analysis. The above therefore represents a prudent assessment of the economic impact generated by NITB's activities.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

HLF undertakes a range of activities relevant to the historic environment via funding provided to the Land & Biodiversity and Historic Buildings & Monuments sectors.

Information provided by HLF indicates that, for the 2009-10 financial year, grant expenditure relating to the historic environment sector was some £4.9m, representing 87.4% of the HLF's total grant funding. Detailed information regarding the split of grant funding between capital and revenue assistance was not available.

In addition to the above, information sourced from HLF states that the organisation's staff cost relating to historic environment activities for 2009-10 was £0.3m.

Combining both these figures, we estimate that the direct economic impact arising from HLF's activities in relation to the historic environment is £5.2m per annum.

Figures are not readily available for the estimated proportion of HLF's other running costs which relates to the Fund's work on the historic environment and we have therefore excluded these from our analysis. The above therefore represents a prudent assessment of the economic impact which HLF's activities generate.

This is not necessarily a net increase in the economic value since HLF may have spent the same amount on another sector in Northern Ireland. However, the existing spending will have a real impact and this is what's reported above.

Department for Social Development

The remit of the Department for Social Development (DSD) includes urban regeneration, including investment relating to the historic environment in terms of urban development, neighbourhood renewal, community regeneration and improvement of the public realm.

Figures supplied by DSD's Urban Policy Review Branch for the 2009-10 financial year indicate that the Department's grant expenditure in relation to the historic environment was as follows:

  • Capital grants: £9.9m; and
  • Revenue grants: £0.2m.

Based on the above, we estimate that DSD's activities in respect of the historic environment generate an annual economic impact of some £10.1m.

Figures in relation to other staff costs incurred by DSD in relation to its historic environment work were not readily available and have not been included in our analysis. The figures estimated above therefore represent a prudent assessment of the economic impact generated by DSD's activities.

National Trust

Information supplied by the National Trust indicates that, of the Trust's annual spend of around £6.5m, approximately 16% is funded by Government. The remaining £5.5m represents an additional economic impact generated through the Trust's activities.

3.4.2 Construction Industry

Based on evidence from comparable jurisdictions, it is likely that a significant proportion of activity within the NI construction sector is related to repairs and maintenance to the infrastructure of the historic environment.

Table 3.3 below summarises the monetary value of all construction activity relating to repairs and maintenance within NI in 2010, through the use of data published by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Table 3.3: Value of construction output on repairs and maintenance by quarter (current prices) (£ million)

Jan-Mar 2010 160
Apr-Jun 2010 151
Jul-Sep 2010 155
Oct-Dec 2010 166
  632

Source: NISRA – Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin (Oct-Dec 2010)

Information available on the proportion of Northern Ireland construction industry activity specifically attributable to the historic environment is limited. NISRA does not publish data in this level of detail and our discussions with the Construction Employers' Federation did not highlight what proportion of overall construction activity relates to the historic environment. We have therefore employed evidence-based assumptions in developing our impact estimates in this area.

We have considered what would be a reasonable assessment of the proportion of overall NI construction activity relating to the historic environment, by reference to recent studies in Scotland and Wales, and through discussions with the Project Steering Group.

A recent study (Ecotec, 2008) estimates that 20% of construction sector repairs and maintenance activity in Scotland is connected to the historic environment. Applying this proportion to corresponding activity in NI would yield a figure of some £126.8m at 2010 prices as a base-case estimate of the impact in this area. This figure equates to 5% of total construction output for NI, based on 2010 figures. A recent study in ROI (Ecorys, 2012) estimated that Ireland's historic environment accounted for approximately 4.2% of total national construction output.

In recognition of the degree of uncertainty inherent in any assumption, we have undertaken sensitivity analysis to reflect the impact of variations in the assumptions we have made in this area:

  • Assuming only 15% of construction industry activity in Northern Ireland relates to the historic environment would lead to a lower estimate of overall impact of £94.8m; and
  • Assuming that 25% of Northern Ireland construction activity is attributable to the historic environment would produce a higher estimated impact of £158m.

Based on our analysis, we therefore estimate the direct annual impact of the historic environment on the local construction industry is £126.8m, within a range of £94.8m to £158m, before any adjustment for double counting.

To avoid double counting within our analysis, we have taken account of the capital expenditure reported in our review of core organisations' activity. This is to lessen the risk of such expenditure being recorded as an impact twice (once as expenditure by a grant-making body and again as expenditure within the construction industry).

Major organisations within the historic environment sector such as NIEA, NITB, HLF and DSD offer grant assistance to a range of other entities as detailed above. This support includes both capital and revenue grants. However, information analysing the split of this assistance between capital and revenue components is not always readily available at organisational level.

To ensure our estimates of impacts arising within the construction sector are prudent, we have therefore adjusted our base estimates to exclude the total amount of grants payable by core organisations (which may include both capital and revenue elements if not analysed separately by the organisations in question). Table 3.3 below presents this analysis.

Therefore, after making a prudent adjustment for potential double counting, we estimate the direct annual impact of the historic environment on the local construction industry is £85.3m, within a range of £58.3m to £112.3m.

Table 3.3: Adjusted construction industry impacts – avoiding double counting

    Range
Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
  £m £m £m
Construction industry impacts before adjustment
126.8
94.8
158.8
Grants made by core organisations
NIEA
(3.5)
(3.5)
(3.5)
NITB
(22.8)
(18.2)
(27.4)
HLF
(4.9)
(4.9)
(4.9)
DSD (capital only)
(9.9)
(9.9)
(9.9)
Subtotal
(41.1)
(36.5)
(45.7)
Construction industry impacts after adjustment
85.3
58.3
112.3

3.4.3 Tourism

Expenditure by tourists attracted by the historic environment is another key driver of the economic impact of heritage. Our work in relation to tourism included:

  • Reviewing data published by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) on the overall value of out-of-state tourism to NI for the agreed base year (2010);
  • Benchmarking the above tourism metrics against performance reported for Scotland and Wales, to assess the characteristics of the tourism industry in each jurisdiction;
  • Considering the most suitable percentage of NI tourist income attributable to the historic environment, taking into account the results of previous studies in Scotland and Wales, and bearing in mind any differences in the patterns of tourist visitors to NI and the other jurisdictions considered; and
  • Complementing the analysis undertaken at regional level with consideration of DETI's NI Visitor Attraction Survey, setting out visitor numbers and expenditure for heritage attractions (as categories and for individual sites).

To avoid double counting, we excluded any tourist income already identified through our work on core organisations within the historic environment sector.

In line with the Department of Finance and Personnel's NI Guide to Expenditure Appraisal and Evaluation (2009, Revised May 2011), the report principally considers tourism impacts by reference to out-of-state visitor numbers, encompassing:

  • Visitors from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) staying at least one night in NI; and
  • Visitors from Great Britain (GB) or overseas staying at least one night in NI and exiting by air or sea ports in NI or ROI.

Later in the report, by way of illustration, Section 3.10 presents information on domestic visitors to heritage attractions in Northern Ireland.

Tables 3.5 and 3.6 present details of total estimated out-of-state visitor numbers and their expenditure in Northern Ireland for 2010.

Table 3.5: NITB Northern Ireland Visitor Performance 2010 Estimates (published June 2011)

  No. £m
ROI residents staying at least one night in NI 356,000 44.0
GB/overseas visitors staying at least one night in NI
and exiting by air or sea port in NI or ROI 1,418,000 292.0
Total out-of-state visitor numbers/expenditure 1,774,000 336.0

Table 3.6: Comparison of per-capital out-of-state tourism visitor impacts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

  NI Scotland Wales
Base year
2010
2007
2009
Impact (£m)
336
1,461
610
Population (m)
1.799
5.144
2.999
Impact per capita at current prices
£187
£284
£203
Impact per capita at 2010 prices
£187
£305
£209

Source: estimates have been calculated based on various figures from National Statistics and websites of the three devolved administrations.

The analysis above indicates the economic impact per head of population of out-of-state tourist visitors to NI is marginally lower than in Wales and more markedly less than in Scotland. This suggests there is general potential to develop further the economic impact generated the tourism sector in NI.

Information available on the proportion of out-of-state visitors attracted to NI by its historic environment is limited and NITB does not publish data in this level of detail. While publications such as the NI Visitor Attraction Survey consider the proportions of in-state and out-of-state visitors for a range of sites related to the historic environment, there were a number of constraints attached to using this information for the purposes of our study:

  • The Survey is based on responses from voluntary participants and cannot therefore be considered as representative of the sector; and
  • Although the Survey records the geographical origin of visitors to attractions, it does not give consideration to whether out-of-state visitors have been primarily attracted to NI by its historic environment or by other factors.

In the absence of robust, appropriate data applicable to the NI context, we have therefore used evidence-based assumptions in developing our impact estimates in relation to tourism.

Recent reports produced for other comparable jurisdictions suggest that 20% of tourist visitors to Wales (Ecotec, 2010) and 33% of visitors to Scotland (Ecotec, 2008) are attracted by the historic environment sector. We were unable to identify comparative figures for the proportion of tourist visitors attracted to the Republic of Ireland by its historic environment.

Applying the proportion of visitors attracted by the historic environment identified in Wales (20%) to the overall value of out-of-state tourism for NI would produce an estimated impact of some £67.2m per annum.

Assuming 33% of tourist visitors are attracted by the historic environment (as in Scotland) yields an estimated annual impact within NI of £110.9m.

Using an intermediate estimate of 25% for the proportion of tourist visitors attracted to NI by its historic environment would lead to an annual impact of £84.0m.

We therefore estimate that the direct economic impact associated with historic environment tourism is £84.0m, within a range of £67.2m to £110.9m.

3.5 Gross and Net Direct Impacts - Outputs

The sum of all the above components represents our estimate of the direct economic impacts associated with NI's historic environment, in terms of output (Table 3.7).

3.5.1 Leakage

In assessing the degree to which the historic environment generates economic impacts within NI, we have also considered the issue of leakage (the degree to which benefits arising from economic activity leak outside the area where the activity takes place).

Leakage is likely to be low in respect of expenditure by core organisations, since their costs will include a significant element of remuneration paid to locally-based employees. It should be noted that detailed information is not available regarding the geographical patterns of subsequent expenditure at employee level.

Table 3.7: Gross Direct Impacts

  Range
  Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
  £m £m £m
Core organisations
NIEA 11.1 10.9 11.3
NITB 23.4 18.8 28.0
HLF 5.2 5.2 5.2
DSD 10.1 10.1 10.1
National Trust 5.5 5.5 5.5
Subtotal 55.3 50.5 60.1
Construction 85.3 58.3 112.3
Tourism (out of state) 84.0 67.2 110.9
Gross direct impacts – output 224.6 176.0 288.3

For construction and tourism, leakage is likely to be slightly higher (e.g. if construction contracts are awarded to suppliers outside NI, or if out-of-state visitors stay at hotels owned by operators not based locally).

Guidance issued by English Partnerships (2008) estimates that, for projects within the environment and housing sectors, leakage outside the region in which activity occurs is in the region of 6% of associated outputs. In the absence of specific data for the NI context, or for comparable regions of Great Britain, we have applied this estimate as our assessment of leakage for NI, for the purposes of this study.

3.5.2 Displacement

The NI Guide to Expenditure Appraisal and Evaluation (NIGEAE)[4] defines displacement as the degree to which an activity promoted by government policy is offset by reductions in activity elsewhere. Thus it is generally important to identify the potential for displacement and assess its impact. The assessment should focus on displacement within NI, but if there are likely to be important displacement effects elsewhere in the UK, these should also be identified and considered.

Within our analysis of the economic impacts associated with the historic environment of NI, we consider factors which might lead to the sector's impact reducing activity in other areas of the economy such as:

  • Whether expenditure by visitors to historic environment sites has a significant negative impact on expenditure at other tourist attractions;
  • Whether construction industry expenditure on repairing and maintaining the historic environment leads to a significant reduction in construction spend in other areas of the economy; and
  • Whether the creation of employment in the historic environment sector leads to labour shortages in other parts of the economy.

English Partnerships' Additionality Guidance (2008) identifies a typical displacement figure of 15% for projects within the environment and housing sectors. In the absence of suitable NI-specific data, we have applied this estimate of displacement in our analysis for NI.

3.5.3 Adjustment for Leakage and Displacement

Table 3.8 overleaf presents details of estimated gross and net local impacts, after adjusting for leakage and displacement.

Table 3.8: Gross and net local economic impacts

    Range
  Base Lower Limit Upper Limit
  £m £m £m
Gross direct impacts – output 224.6 176.0 283.3
less Leakage (6%) (13.5) (10.6) (17.0)
Gross local direct impacts – output 211.1 165.4 266.3
less Displacement (15%) (31.7) (24.8) (39.9)
Net local direct impacts – output 179.4 140.6 226.3

3.6 Net Direct Impacts - Employment

The activity described above will have impacts in creating and sustaining employment within Northern Ireland. We have modelled this employment impact by estimating the amount of expenditure needed to create one full time equivalent (FTE) job in each area of our analysis, based on evidence from other recent, relevant studies:

  • A recent study conducted in England by the North East Chamber of Commerce[5] (covering a region with many similarities to NI) estimated that every £1m of public expenditure on construction generated 20 FTE construction jobs; and
  • A study of the NI tourism industry conducted by CogentSI (2007) also estimated that for every £1m of tourism spend, around 20 FTE jobs were created.

It is possible that the multiplier relating to historic environment tourism could be higher than 20:1 due to the labour-intensive nature of the sector However, based on the evidence available to us, and in the absence of data specific to the historic environment sector in NI, we have therefore applied a ratio of 20:1 between employment and output (£m) in estimating economic impact in terms of job creation. This would produce job creation figures in Table 3.9.

Table 3.9: Net employment

    Range
Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
 
Net local direct impacts – output £179.4m £140.6m £226.3m
Net local direct impacts – employment 3,589 2,812 4,527

3.7 Net Direct Impacts – Gross Value Added

We have also examined the impacts generated by the historic environment in relation to Gross Value Added (GVA), which may be defined as the value of the amount of goods and services that have been produced, less the cost of all inputs and raw materials that are directly attributable to that production.

DETI GVA data for NI do not provide specific information relating to the historic environment sector. In the absence of robust local data, we have made use of recent evidence from jurisdictions comparable to NI. Based on evidence from previous studies conducted in Scotland and Wales (Ecotec, 2008 and 2010), we have estimated that GVA relating to the historic environment is some 50% of the value of total output. This would yield GVA figures in Table 3.10.

Table 3.10: Gross Value Added

  Base Lower Upper
£m £m £m  
Net local direct impacts – output 179.4 140.6 226.3
Total direct impacts – GVA 89.7 70.3 113.2

3.8 Total Impacts – Gross Value Added

After developing our estimates of the direct economic impacts attributable to NI's historic environment as detailed above, we considered the quantum of 'second round' effects, both indirect and induced.

In line with other recent studies in comparable jurisdictions, and in the absence of specific multiplier data for the historic environment sector in NI, we estimated these impacts by applying appropriate multipliers to the figures we derived for direct economic impacts in the following areas:

  • Output multiplier: This multiplier was recently reported as 1.6 for Scotland and 1.7 for Wales (Ecotec, 2008 and 2010). On the basis of prudence, we have assumed that the corresponding multiplier for NI would be 1.6;
  • Employment multiplier: This has been identified as 1.5 for Scotland and 1.6 for Wales. Again, we have prudently estimated the related figure for NI to be 1.5; and
  • GVA multiplier: The multiplier in this area has previously been stated as 1.5 for Scotland and 1.7 for Wales. We have once more taken a prudent view in the multiplier used in the NI analysis, using the lower figure of 1.5.

Table 3.11 below presents the results of our analysis of output, employment and GVA before and after the application of multipliers.

Table 3.11: Total (direct + indirect) economic impacts (£ million, 2010)

    Range
Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
£m £m £m
Total direct impacts – expenditure (core organisations, construction sector out-of-state tourists) 179.4 140.6 226.3
Multiplier 1.6 1.6 1.6
Total impacts – output 287.1 225.0 362.2
  FTE FTE FTE
Total direct impacts – employment 3,589 2,812 4,527
Multiplier 1.5 1.5 1.5
Total impacts – employment 5,383 4,218 6,790
  £m £m £m
Total direct impacts – GVA 89.7 70.3 113.2
Multiplier 1.5 1.5 1.5
Total impacts – GVA 134.6 105.5 169.8

FTE: Full time equivalent jobs; GVA: Gross Value Added

3.9 Public / Private Sector Spending

In the historic environment sector, like in many others, public sector is likely to encourage spending by private sector and individuals.

Table 3.12 compares the information collected for the analysis above and shows that for each £1 spent by NI core organisations for the historic environment, private sector (construction and out-of-state tourists) spends £3-4.

However, there are a number of significant caveats to this ratio and hence it should be treated as purely illustrative. In particular, the comparison does not imply causality as there are many other reasons unrelated to public expenditure why private sector invests in / spends for the historic environment. In other words, the 'additionality' around the estimated impacts generated by public investment is unclear (i.e. whether the economic activity estimated for the historic environment would have occurred even in the absence of public investment). It should also be noted that spending in any given year is likely to be influenced by spending over several previous years. Nevertheless, the ratio is an interesting figure for further policy development.

N.B. Analysis carried out by NIEA identifies that the grant aiding of the maintenance and repair of listed buildings has a proven leverage ratio of on average 1:7.65 for every pound invested.

Table 3.12: Public – private expenditure ratio (2010)

    Range
Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
£m £m £m  
Public investment by core organisations
(NIEA, NITB, HLF, DSD, NT)
55.3 50.5 60.1
Construction 85.3 58.3 112.3
Tourism (out of state) 84.0 67.2 110.9
Private-sector activity 169.3 125.5 223.2
Cost-effectiveness ratio 3.1:1 2.5:1 3.7:1

3.10 Impact of Domestic Tourism

As noted in preceding sections, and in line with DFP economic appraisal guidance (NIGEAE), our analysis above does not take into account the impact of domestic tourism (i.e. visits to historic environment sites by citizens resident in NI).

In this section, we estimate the economic impact associated with domestic leisure day visits to historic environment attractions within NI. In the absence of specific data from the NI Visitor Attraction Survey, and in view of the relatively short travel distances involved for domestic tourists in visiting attractions within NI, we have adopted a prudent assumption that all domestic visits to historic environment sites will involve day trips rather than overnight stays.

Spend per Visitor

The CogentSI report (2007) estimated that expenditure by in-state same-day visitors within Northern Ireland amounted to £712.2m (at 2003 prices). This is equivalent to £849.2m at 2010 prices after applying the UK Treasury GDP deflator.

In arriving at this figure, CogentSI also estimated that each resident of NI undertook some 16 leisure day trips per annum. Applying this ratio to NI's 2010 population of 1.799 million indicates that domestic visitors undertake some 28.8 million in-state day trips a year.

Combining the above findings suggests that NI domestic visitors spend an average of £29.49 per in-state same-day leisure visit.

Domestic Visitors to Historic Environment Sites

As with out-of-state tourism, constraints exist in relation to the availability of specific information on NI residents visiting historic environment attractions. DETI's Northern Ireland Visitor Attraction Survey collates information on visitor numbers from a range of voluntary participants, most of which fall within the definition of the historic environment adopted for this study. While the attractions covered cannot be considered as a representative sample of the sector, the latest available survey indicates that, of 9.7m visits during 2010, 6.5m (66%) were undertaken by NI residents. At an average spend per visit of £29.49, this would yield an estimated total output of £191.7m per annum arising from domestic tourism. The estimated impacts of including domestic tourism in our analysis (with a general sensitivity of +/-20% applied) are presented in Tables 3.13 - 3.16.

Table 3.13: Gross and net local economic impacts – domestic leisure day visits

    Range
Base Lower Limit Upper Limit
£m £m £m  
Gross direct impacts – expenditure Domestic leisure day visits 191.7 153.4 230.0
less Leakage (6%) (11.5) (9.2) (13.8)
Gross local direct impacts 180.2 144.2 216.2
less Displacement (15%) (27.0) (21.6) (32.4)
Net local direct impacts 153.2 122.6 183.8

Table 3.14: Net employment – domestic leisure day visits

    Range
Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
 
Net local direct impacts – expenditure £153.2m £122.6m £183.8m
Net local direct impacts – employment (20 jobs per £1m) 3,064 2,452 3,676

Table 3.15: Gross Value Added – domestic tourism

  Base Lower Upper
£m £m £m  
Total local direct impacts – GVA (50% of output) 76.6 61.3 91.9

Table 3.16: Total (direct + indirect) impacts – domestic leisure days

    Range
Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
£m £m £m  
Net direct impacts – expenditure Domestic leisure days 153.2 122.6 183.8
Multiplier 1.6 1.6 1.6
Total impacts – output 245.1 196.2 294.1
  FTE FTE FTE
Total direct impacts – employment 3,064 2,452 3,676
Multiplier 1.5 1.5 1.5
Total impacts – employment 4,596 3,678 5,514
  £m £m £m
Total direct impacts – GVA 76.6 61.3 91.9
Multiplier 1.5 1.5 1.5
Total impacts – GVA 114.9 92.0 137.9

FTE: Full time equivalent jobs; GVA: Gross Value Added

The results of our analysis indicate that the construction sector generates a broadly similar impact to the tourist sector in relation to the historic environment in NI. This is consistent with the findings of recent work undertaken in Scotland. However, a similar study completed in Wales indicated that the construction sector was of greater importance in terms of impact.

4. Case Studies

The following case studies are prepared for this project:

  • St Patrick's Heritage;
  • Causeway Coastal Route;
  • Derry City Walls and Ebrington Barracks;
  • Navan Centre and Armagh;
  • Lough Erne and Fermanagh;
  • Belfast Cathedral Quarter; and
  • Belmont Tower.

There are also short overviews of historic waterways and canals and of the marine historic environment.

The criteria used to select this small number of case studies amongst the vast heritage assets in Northern Ireland included the following:

  • Geographical coverage across Northern Ireland;
  • Benefit type (environment, heritage, regeneration) – linked to themes below
  • Asset type (need to decide what these are first);
  • Ex-ante vs ex-post analysis (some case studies have planned extensions for example);
  • Coverage of 'signature projects' (e.g. Titanic, Mourne, Giant's Causeway, Derry City Walls etc.);
  • Themes (as listed in the terms of reference to this project: tourism, regeneration, learning, environment and community cohesion / social inclusion) and
  • The potential usefulness of the case study for future management decisions.

Table 4.1 overleaf summarises the key characteristics of the case studies and further detailed summaries are provided within Annex 3 of this report. The full case studies are presented in separate documents.

Table 4.1: Overview of Case Studies

Theme/asset(s) Type Location Description
All Encompassing Theme
St Patrick's Heritage Historic and cultural Across Northern Ireland with links to ROI A Signature Project with extensive links to other types of assets.
TOURISM
Causeway Coastal Route (including Dunluce and Carrickfergus Castles) Historical ALSO "Environment" Antrim Dunluce Castle: Dramatically sited castle ruins on Causeway Coast. Good numbers of overseas visitors. Carrickfergus Castle: Well preserved Norman castle. Providing exhibition facilities. Available for hire for functions/events.
Community
Derry Walls Historical / Cultural ALSO Regeneration Derry-Londonderry Historical attraction epitomising history of Derry-Londonderry and NI. Relevant to the regeneration of Derry-Londonderry, but not the only catalyst for this. Fourth most visited attraction. Signature Project.
Ebrington Barracks Historical / Cultural ALSO Regeneration Derry-Londonderry A military barracks, which was used as a navy training base and subsequently returned to the Army. Now subject of major re-development to provide mixed use and shared public space, forming a key part of a City wide regeneration plan.
Learning
City of Armagh, including Navan Centre Visitor centre. Archaeological Reconstructed Iron Age buildings Armagh Visitor centre with strong emphasis on children/education, but also prehistoric site.
Environment
Lough Erne Environment / Archaeological / Tourism Fermanagh Cultural tie-in through historic regatta. Sites of early settlement and monastic sites mostly on island in Lower Lough. These include ruins of Devenish Abbey, the Janus and Lusty Man stones of Boa Island and fortified/castles of Monea and Tully.
Regeneration
Cathedral Quarter Historical / Cultural Belfast Historic commercial district centred on St. Anne's COI Cathedral and Merchant Hotel but with many older buildings, galleries, proposed arts projects and connections with historical literary figures. Annual arts festival attracting high profile acts.
Belmont Tower Historical / Cultural Belfast Restoration of B+ listed building, which has links to the author CS Lewis.

Key Findings

The case studies highlight a number of common issues in terms of realising the economic potential of NI's historic environment, including:

  • Ensuring that benefits that are derived from the historic environment flow to all parts of local communities (e.g. hotel and commercial space developments alongside public access attractions);
  • Engaging the local population through community workshops and open days and evenings during the re-development phase;
  • Encouraging first time and return visits through authentic re-creation of the historic atmosphere such as re-enactment events, regular educational and entertainment activities, targeted communication with the public and provision of covered areas that could both accommodate large events and avoid weather issues;
  • Embracing modern technology such as providing audio-trails both on site and on line (such as podcasts and applications) that provide more and attractive information about the sites;
  • Strengthening links between individual assets, building on the value and appeal of groups of assets to sustain and lengthen visitor stay and engagement For example:
  • The Belmont Tower Case Study demonstrates the benefits of establishing links between the building and its association with the literary heritage (for example CS Lewis) of the surrounding area of Belfast;
  • The Causeway Coast and Glens Case Study illustrates the potential benefits of forming connections between a range of heritage sites across this relatively large geographical area;
  • The Lough Erne Case Study identifies the Lough's link to the larger Shannon-Erne Waterway. Reopening the Upper Ulster Canal linking Upper Lough Erne with Lough Neagh would increase its accessibility and potential for further recreational activities;
  • Strengthening links with historic environment assets in other countries, especially in the Republic of Ireland, the USA and Canada applying for internationally recognised status such as World Heritage Site designation would attract out of state tourism;
  • Themes (tourism, regeneration, learning, environment and community cohesion / social inclusion) that are relevant to a site should be considered together when designing and marketing a site;
  • Raising the core organisations' and site managers' awareness of what constitutes economic benefit, in particular, that economic benefit is not limited to tourism spending.

Key areas of benefit highlighted by the case studies include:

Economic

  • Attracting visitors and creating jobs
  • Increased footfall in areas in need of regeneration
  • Enhancement of night-time economy

Social

  • Community cohesion
  • Sense of identity and place
  • Civic pride and wellbeing
  • Creating safer and shared spaces
  • Focal point for wider regeneration
  • Skills development and volunteering opportunities

Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Economic Impacts and Employment Opportunities

Our quantitative assessment of economic value has been informed by an analysis of:

  • Expenditure by core organisations (NIEA, NITB, HLF, DSD and NT) on the historic environment;
  • The portion of construction industry output that can be associated with the historic environment; and
  • Spending by out-of-state and domestic tourists as a result of the historic environment. For domestic tourists, only leisure day visits are included.

The multiplier effects of this spending and the employment effects are also considered.

In summary, our analysis indicates that before the impact of domestic tourists is included, NI's historic environment:

  • Generates some £287.1m of output per annum, within a range of £225.0m to £362.2m;
  • Creates or sustains 5,383 jobs, within a range of 4,218 to 6,790; and
  • Supports some £134.6m of GVA each year, within a range of £105.5m to £169.8m.

The benefits from leisure day visits to historic environment sites by Northern Ireland residents are estimated as:

  • Output - £245.1m;
  • Employment - £4,596 FTE jobs; and
  • GVA - £114.9m.

Therefore, including domestic tourism yields a total estimated GVA of some £249.5m per annum in relation to NI's historic environment.

Tables 5.1 and 5.2 provide a breakdown.

Table 5.1: Total (direct + indirect) economic impacts (£ million, 2010)

    Range
Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
£m £m £m  
Direct Impacts
Total direct impacts – output (core organisations, construction sector out-of-state tourists) 179.4 140.6 226.3
Total direct impacts – domestic leisure days 153.2 122.6 183.8
Total Impacts (Direct + Indirect, I.E. Multiplier)
Multiplier 1.6 1.6 1.6
Total impacts – output* (core organisations, construction sector out-of-state tourists) 287.1 225.0 362.2
Total impacts - output (domestic leisure days) 245.1 196.2 294.1
Direct Impacts Gross Value Added*
Total direct impacts – GVA** (core organisations, construction sector out-of-state tourists) 89.7 70.3 113.2
Total direct impacts – GVA (domestic leisure days) 76.6 61.3 91.9
Total Impacts (Direct + Indirect) Gross Value Added*
GVA multiplier 1.5 1.5 1.5
Total impacts – GVA (core organisations, construction sector out-of-state tourists) 134.6 105.5 169.8
Total impacts – GVA (domestic leisure days) 114.9 92.0 137.9
TOTAL IMPACTS - GVA 249.5 197.5 307.7

*GVA: Gross Value Added calculated as 50% of total direct impacts

The GVA generated by the sector (excluding domestic tourists) compares as follows to neighbouring jurisdictions:

  • Republic of Ireland: €1.46 bn (c £1.2 bn)
  • Scotland: £2.375 bn; and
  • Wales: £840m.

Table 5.2: Employment impacts (2010)

    Range
Base Lower
Limit
Upper
Limit
FTE FTE FTE  
Direct Impacts
Direct impacts – employment (core organisations, construction sector out-of-state tourists) 3,589 2,812 4,527
Direct impacts – employment (domestic leisure days) 3,064 2,452 3,676
Total Impacts (Direct + Indirect, I.E. Multiplier)
Multiplier 1.5 1.5 1.5
Total impacts – employment (core organisations, construction sector out-of-state tourists) 5,383 4,218 6,790
Total impacts – employment (domestic leisure days) 4,596 3,678 5,514
Total Impacts - Employment 9,979 7,896 12,304

FTE: Full time equivalent jobs.

The employment level generated by the sector (excluding domestic tourists) compares as follows to neighbouring jurisdictions:

  • Republic of Ireland: 36,947;
  • Scotland: 60,473; and
  • Wales: 30,000.

In order to put the above estimates into context, when compared to other sectors within the NI economy, an annual GVA of £249.5 million is equivalent to:

  • Circa 11% of the GVA produced by NI Construction sector in 2010 (total GVA £2,261 million); and
  • Circa 33% of the 2010 GVA produced by the NI Information and Communication sector (total GVA £740 million).

The source for the GVA estimates for other sectors is DETI (2011).

The table below summarises per-capita impacts in terms of output, employment and GVA across Northern Ireland and neighbouring jurisdictions (excluding domestic tourism):

 
NI
ROI
Scotland
Wales
Base year
2010
2009
2007
2009
Population (m)
1.799
4.588
5.144
2.999
Output
Total impact (current prices)
£287.1m
£2,190m
£4,515.5m
£1,837.1m
Impact per capita (current prices)
£160
£477
£878
£613
Impact per capita (2010 prices)
£160
£491
£943
£631
Employment
Total impact
5,383
36,947
60,473
30,000
Impact per thousand of population
3.0
8.1
11.8
10.0
GVA
Total impact (current prices)
£134.6m
£1,200m
£2,375m
£840m
Impact per capita (current prices)
£75
£262
£462
£280
Impact per capita (2010 prices)
£75
£270
£496
£288

The analysis above highlights that the historic environment in NI produces a lower level of output, employment and GVA than its neighbouring jurisdictions, when assessed on a per capita basis, thereby suggesting that there is significant potential to further develop the historic environment sector in NI.

5.2 Wider Economic (Social) Benefits

A list of wider economic (social) benefits of the historic environment has been highlighted by the stakeholders who responded to our survey. They believed that the historic environment generates a range of benefits for visitors and non-visitors alike that can be expressed qualitatively. The principal benefits stated by respondents were:

  • A sense of identity and history (84% of respondents);
  • Preservation of heritage for future generations (79% of respondents);
  • Provision of a better living environment (79% of respondents);
  • Economic regeneration (e.g. increased tourism income and employment) through heritage conservation and renovation (79% of respondents); and
  • Provision of access to historic environment sites for those who are from socially and economically disadvantaged communities (68% of respondents).

5.3 Recommendations

Case studies have highlighted a number of common issues including:

  • Financial viability and sustainability of sites;
  • Ensuring that benefits that are derived from the historic environment flow to all parts of the society; and
  • Strengthening links between individual assets and events to increase awareness.

A number of recommendations, which can help address these and other sector development issues, are provided below for further consideration:

1. Future investment in the Historic Environment should be informed by a coherent strategy and implementation plan. An implementation group should be established to develop a strategy/implementation plan that aims to realise the full potential of the historic environment and prioritise future investment activity. The Strategy should be embedded in the Programme for Government, involve other government departments/ NGOs in its implementation and provide a robust framework for future monitoring/evaluation of investment activity. Any future monitoring framework should ensure a consistent approach to data capture across a range of agreed output, impact and value for money measures.

2. Public sector funding should be increased to realise further economic and social benefit and to encourage private sector involvement. Comparison of the economic impacts of the historic environment to other sectors shows that historic environment is a significant sector within the NI economy, however the historic environment in NI produces a significantly lower level of output, employment and GVA than its neighbouring jurisdictions, when assessed on a per capita basis. This suggests that the sector has further development potential.

3. The presentation of historic environment sites should be reviewed to enhance their visitors experience and to maximise their impact. The visitor experience to a given site improves when:

  • The history and cultural heritage of the site is conveyed in an easily accessible way;
  • Clear signage is used on the way to and in the site;
  • Connections between the site and other sites / assets are developed / enhanced; Historical aspects of the site are linked to other aspects such as culture, literature, and the environment; and
  • The brand message is enhanced in terms of ensuring delivery against the significant perception of the uniqueness and authenticity of the experience; identifying opportunities to deliver this through uncovering stories; and developing interpretation to maximise the opportunities for uncovering stories and learning.

In addition to the above, sites can encourage higher spend by visitors (e.g. package / cluster product around eating/retail/culture experiences; provide demonstration and sales opportunities for local craft providers; and develop branded souvenirs and identifying opportunities to sell in the area.

4. To sustain and increase the present level of impact generated by the historic environment in NI, current levels of marketing and promotion should be at the very least maintained.

All principal means of marketing and promoting historic environment attractions should continue, including:

  • The organisations' own websites and other websites;
  • Printed brochures and literature;
  • Stands at festivals and tourism fairs;
  • Social media sites; and
  • Television and radio.

5. Organisations involved in the historic environment should consider ways of expanding their existing linkages with suitable partners (including those with a focus on the natural environment) to coordinate marketing and promotion efforts. Collaboration between a range of partners in delivering activities relevant to the historic environment creates benefits in the form of:

  • Increased profile and higher visitor numbers for attractions;
  • Access to additional funding sources;
  • Networking potential;
  • Provision of specialist technical advice from other organisations;
  • Joint promotional activities; and
  • Sharing of information and ideas for visitor development.

6. An economic impact toolkit should be developed for use within the historic environment sector. As identified above, future investment within the sector should be supported by the development of a robust monitoring/ evaluation framework. Future monitoring activity could be supported by the development of an economic impact toolkit, to ensure that a consistent approach to data capture is applied across the sector. The toolkit could also show how to make the best use of information for the management and promotion of the historic environment.

References

Alberini, A., Riganti, P. and Longo, A. (2003) 'Can People Value the Aesthetic and Use Services of Urban Sites? Evidence from a Survey of Belfast Residents', Journal of Cultural Economics, Volume 27, Number 3-4, 193-213.

Allison, G., Ball, S., Cheshire, P., Evans, A. and Stabler, M, (1996) The Value of Conservation: A Literature Review of the Economic and Social Value of Cultural Built Heritage, The Department of Natural Heritage, English Heritage and the Royal Institution of Chartered Engineers.

Ahlfeldt, G.M., Maennig, W., (2010) Sustainability and Complementarity of Urban Amenities. Real Estate Economics 38, 36.

Atlantic Consultants (2003) Cornish mining world heritage site bid. Economic Impact Assessment. June 2003, Atlantic Consultants for Cornwall Enterprise. http://www.tourisminsights.info/ONLINEPUB/SOUTH_WEST_TOURISM/SWT_PDFS/ATLANTIC_CONSULTANTS_(2003) accessed 01/11/11.

Blackwater Partnership (2006) Ulster Canal: Socio-economic Study. Price Waterhouse Coopers.

British Waterways 2003. The Economic Impact of the restoration of the Kennet and Avon Canal, by Ecotec.

Bridge, G. (2006) Perspectives on Cultural Capital and the Neighbourhood, Urban Studies, 43 (4) pp719-740.

Casey, B., Dunlop, R and Selwood, S. (1996) Culture as Commodity – the economics of the arts and built heritage in the UK, Policy Studies Institute.

CogentSI (2007), 'Tourism in the Northern Ireland Economy', Volume 1.

Defra (2011), Waste Data Overview, June.

DETI (2011), Northern Ireland Annual Business Inquiry 2010, 21 December 2011.

Ecorys and Fitzpatrick Associates (2012), Economic Value of Ireland's Historic Environment, Final Report to the Heritage Council.

Ecotec (2010) Valuing the Welsh Historic Environment Study.

Ecotec (2008) Economic Impact of the Historic Environment in Scotland, report to Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland.

English Heritage, (2004) Heritage Counts – State of the Historic Environment 2002-2004.

English Heritage, (2010) Impact of Historic Environment Regeneration. AMION Consulting Limited.

English Partnership (2008), Additionality Guidance.

Guy G and Willis K (2002), Northumbria: castles, cathedrals and towns in Navrud, S. & Ready, R.C. Valuing Cultural Heritage.

Hambrey Consulting (2007) Social, economic and environmental benefits of World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, and Geoparks. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 248 (ROAME No. F06NC05).

HM Treasury (2003) The Green Book.

Klamer, A. (2002) Accounting for Social and Cultural Values. De Economist, 150 (4)

Landry, C., (2003) Imagination and Regeneration: Cultural Policy and the Future of Cities. DG-IV (EU) Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport.

Matarosso, F., (1997) Use or Ornament? The Social Impact of Participation in the Arts. Comedia, London.

Morrissey, K and Moron, C. (2011) The Market and Non-market value of water based activities in the West of Ireland, National University of Ireland Galway Working Paper.

Morrissey, K., Hynes, S., Cuddy, M. and O'Donoghue, C. (2010) Ireland's Ocean Economy 2007, Socio Economic Marine Research Unit, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Navrud S and Strand J (2002) Social costs and benefits of preserving and restoring the Nidaros Cathedral in Navrud, S. & Ready, R.C. Valuing Cultural Heritage.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board (2010) Northern Ireland's Top 20 Visitor Attractions 2010.

RICS, English Heritage and Investment Property Databank (1995) The investment performance of listed buildings – 1994 update. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Sable, K. and Kling, R.W. (2001) The Double Public Good: A Conceptual Framework for "Shared Experience" Values Associated with Heritage Conservation, Journal of Cultural Economics, 25.

Schaeffer, P.V., Millerick, C.A., (1991) The Impact of Historic District Designation on Property Values: An Empirical Study. Economic Development Quarterly 5, 11.

Sommers, P., Carlson, D., (2000) The New Economics in Metropolitan Seattle. Brookings.

Throsby, D. (2001), Economics and Culture, Cambridge University Press.

Whitehead, J.C. and Finney, S.S. (2003) 'Willingness to Pay for Submerged Maritime Cultural Resources', Journal of Cultural Economic, Volume 27, Number3-4, 231-240.

Willis, K. and Garrod, G. (2001) Valuing Open Access Recreation on Inland Waterways: On-site Recreation Surveys and Selection Effects. Regional Studies, 25 (6), pp511-524.

Annex 1: Principles of the economic value of the historic environment

Built heritage can be a private good, in that it may be owned or used by an individual, a company or a trust (use values). However, the protection of the historic environment cannot be left solely to the market as it is likely to be valued by people other than the owner, including local residents, people from outside an area and, indeed, generations who have yet to be born. As such the historic environment has characteristics of a public good (the entirety of the Total Economic Value typology) (Figure 2.1). It is not possible to exclude some people from consuming public goods and their consumption does not impact on the demand for other goods.

In practice, built heritage falls along a continuum from private good to public good. One particular building of heritage value could be free to visit and much used by the community. Another may house a business to which visits by the general public would not be possible or free. In the former, the public good benefits may be sufficiently large for government to wholly or partially support the building and responsibility for its upkeep. However, even in the latter case, there can be public benefits from the building's very existence, namely its contribution to the identity or attractiveness of a neighbourhood in which all members of the community share. This also justifies public support.

The demand curve

This spectrum of economic values shown in Figure 2.1 is demonstrated within the demand curve that forms a familiar feature of any economic analysis. The ticket receipts from people visiting a heritage site provide one important expression of value. The graphical expression of demand follows a downward sloping curve as in Figure A.1 where higher ticket prices induce less demand and lower prices more demand. For instance, at very high entrance fees, namely PH, few people would be willing to pay to visit. If access were to be free at P0 many people will visit. More strictly, the demand curve is a marginal willingness to pay curve (WTP) which shows the WTP of visitors for, say, one more visit. There is ample evidence to suggest that the demand for heritage assets behaves in the manner described in the figure. By taking an overall demand curve based on all the visitors who would be attracted by different levels of price the area below the demand curve can be calculated, which will give the total benefit (price x quantity) from demand.

NIA Image

Supply follows a similar pattern but in reverse where, for instance, higher prices induces greater supply. Through the market a price (PM) is reached where there is equilibrium between demand and supply. However, high prices (e.g. PH) some people are willing to pay more than the ruling price. In effect they get something for nothing. The area above price but beneath the demand curve is described as the consumer surplus. In Figure A.1 it is represented by the area CS and can be substantial for some goods.

Typically, it is not possible to capture all the consumer surplus value that people place on a marketed good. Not least, because consumers are not all the same. Rather, they consist of a multitude of population types, income levels and preferences so that the consumer surplus for one individual could be much greater, or smaller, than for another consumer. Suppliers often try to differentiate between users by charging different fees so as to capture as much of the revenue from the demand curve as possible. Mobile phone networks or transport operators are classic examples. Nevertheless, even in these markets it is very difficult to capture most of the consumer surplus. It is practically impossible to do for heritage. Not least, in many cases, heritage is a public good that is not excludable or is publically owned with free access. Indeed, because private owners are unable to extract the full consumer surplus from heritage, a market failure exists whereby there is under-provision of heritage in relation to demand. Consequently, government, recognising the public good value, commonly fills the void by taking into ownership features of heritage interest. The question is to what extent should they do so to reflect the value of heritage to society?

Valuation methods

Entrance fees provide a partial estimate of the value that most visitors place on a heritage good, but the wider expenditure of visitors allows us to estimate a larger portion of total value (consumer surplus) that they attach to the good. If we know how important a site is to the decision to visit a city or region, then we can allocate a matching proportion of the visitors' expenditure on accommodation, food or related items to value the historic environment.

An extension of expenditure is the amount that people spend in choosing to travel to a location including, in the case of visitors from outside of Ireland, the amount they spent on ferry or air fares. This particular approach is known as the travel cost method (TCM). With many valuation methods it is important to identify the exact contribution of the good in relation to total expenditure, but this is especially pertinent to the TCM as tourists may visit many locations, including more built heritage features, natural heritage or other destinations, not to mention friends or family. The value of time is often included in TCM, but can vary considerably by individual, the time of their visit and whether any income-earning time was foregone.

Alternatively, the hedonic pricing method (HPM) estimates the contribution of non-market factors to property values. Research by the Nationwide Building Society demonstrates that older, i.e. pre-1960s, properties typically attract higher sale values (English Heritage, 2010). This price appreciation also extends to the wider neighbourhood. For built heritage in Berlin, Ahlfeldt and Maenning (2010) find evidence of a positive price effect due to heritage conservation extending to a radius of 600m. Similar results have been found for established or historic town parks.

However, even these expenditure or 'revealed preference' approaches can, at best, only throw light on the full extent of the consumer surplus. Another approach is that of 'stated preference'. The most commonly used method under this approach is the contingent valuation method (CVM). With this method, people are asked in a survey how much they would be willing to pay in total for a particular good or outcome. For example, this approach was used by the Heritage Council (2007) to estimate the value that people place on heritage conservation of in the Republic of Ireland. It is important that contingent valuation studies are undertaken very carefully, informing people of the nature of the good in question and its context, but without leading the person to give certain responses, and that this is done for a representative sample of the population. Nevertheless, contingent valuation surveys vary in their sophistication particularly with regard to the willingness to pay question and its analysis. Typically, the willingness to pay question asks how much the respondent would be prepared to pay for a marginal change in the good, for example, increased protection. This is because it is difficult to get an accurate answer for the good in its entirety, especially where there is already some provision to which people may feel an entitlement.

A related approach is the use of choice experiments (CE). Whereas CVM can be useful for providing an overall value, CE presents survey respondents with a set of trade-off exercises in which a range of attributes are used to characterise the public good. It then asks the respondents to choose between scenarios in which different attributes are provided at different levels. For example, respondents could be asked to trade-off the choice of interpretive signs, guides and brochures, or a visitor exhibition, and to do so along with choices of other heritage attributes. The average willingness to pay for any one level of an attribute can be expressed in monetary terms if one of the attributes is the cost, for example an entrance fee.

Unfortunately, while there have been many applications of stated preference methods to natural heritage, including in Ireland to forests, the agri-environment, parks and peatlands built heritage, there have been few applications to built heritage and none in Ireland of which we are aware. Box 1 provides examples of international studies. Nevertheless, despite this shortcoming, what we find is that revealed or stated preference can only supply a partial answer and that there is, in fact, a whole succession of approaches that can be called into play to estimate the economic value of built heritage. No single approach can achieve the job especially where economic values extend into the social or cultural dimension.

Box 1: Economic Valuation Studies and the Historic Environment

Economic valuation methods emerged during the 1980s and have continued to develop through the 1990s and into the new century. Travel cost and contingent valuation were amongst the earliest valuation methods to be generally applied, with the latter commonly use open-ended or payment card based means of elicitation. The dichotomous choice (willing to pay £x? - yes or no) means of elicitation became more popular in the 1990s, followed by choice experiments even though the former approaches still have their merits for certain situations. Choice based approaches were applied to the field from the late nineties along with mixed choice and hedonic methods.

Despite all this activity, the over-whelming proportion of studies has been applied to the natural environment. Very little has been applied to cultural heritage even though management strategies and policies for protection are equally necessary. One such study was conducted by Navrud and Strand (2002) on the amount that visitors to Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, possibly the most important cultural object in Norway were prepared to pay to a fund to protect the building from air pollution damage. Based on 165,000 visitors per year, the aggregate value was estimated at around 50 million NOK per person per year (1991 values). The sum is far greater than the actual cost of cleaning which was estimated at 9.5 million NOK.

Although the value was aggregated based on visitors, the use value component was identified to be just 14% of the WTP. In other words, respondents valued the Cathedral for its existence value more than for the utility of visits alone. Applying these same non-use values to the general Norwegian population, the value of preservation to the total Norwegian population was estimated at 810 million NOK. However, acknowledging that non-visitors were likely to have relatively lower non-use values, the researchers assume the real values to have been 30% less. The quoted figures included some control for embedding, a common bias that can arise where people express their willingness to pay for all historic environment, not just the one site they are asked about.

Applying contingent valuation to a castle, cathedral and historic town centre in Northumberland, England, Garrod and Willis (2002) are more sanguine. Their study demonstrated that the public may hold substantial values for cultural heritage, but that this cannot necessarily be equated with a willingness to pay higher entrance fees. Rather, they acknowledge that a substantial public good value exists that can be difficult to capture either in studies or in reality, necessitating the use of public funds to maintain cultural heritage.

Annex 2: Stakeholder Survey

Value of Northern Ireland's Historic Environment

Thank you for offering to assist us with this study into the economic value of Northern Ireland's historic environment. This questionnaire aims to collect information that will help analyse this economic value. The results of the analysis will help build a business case for the protection and sustainable use of the historic environment; and assist in long term strategies to increase the current economic value.

All information gathered as part of this survey process is considered confidential and will only be reported on an aggregated basis.

Expected Completion time: 45 Minutes

Section 1 – About You and Your Organisation

Q1 Contact details:

Name:
Job title:
Organisation:
Email:
Tel:

Q2 Which of the following types of site relating to the historic environment relate to your organisation's activities, directly or indirectly? (Select all that apply)

Site Please Tick
Listed/historic buildings  
Archaeology sites  
Conservation areas  
Gardens/designed landscapes  
Historic landscapes  
Marine historic environment  
Natural environment  

Section 2 - Visitors

NB: Please only complete this section if your organisation has a role in managing historic environment sites that allow access for visitors and tourists.

Q3 For historic environment sites under your organisation's ownership or management, please provide overall total number of visits in each of the last three years (use n/a to indicate not available)

Site 2008 2008 2010

Q4 What means do you use to collect data on visitor numbers?

Method Please Tick
Ticket sales  
Counters  
Car park usage  
Other estimate  

Q5 Over the last five years, have you observed:

Observation Please Tick
An increase in visitor numbers  
A decrease in visitor numbers  
No significant change in visitor numbers  

Q6 In your opinion, what are the reasons for the trends in visitor numbers observed in the past five years? (max 100 words)

 

Q7 What is the overall geographical composition of visitors to your organisation's historic environment sites between the following:

  2008 2009 2010
Northern Ireland      
Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales)      
Republic of Ireland      
Rest of Europe      
USA/Canada      
Rest of the world      
Not known      

Q8 For historic environment sites under your organisation's ownership or management, what overall proportions (%) of visitors are represented by:

  2008 2009 2010
Individuals / couples      
Families      
Tours      
Business sector/corporate groups      
Other adult groups      
School visits      
Others (Specify if possible)      
Not known      

Q9 If known, what is the average length of visitors' stay in the vicinity of your organisation's sites? (broken down if possible by different types of visitors listed above)? Please indicate the base year for the data.

 

Q10 If known, what overall proportion (%) of visitors to your organisation's historic environment sites stay overnight in NI and what proportion (%) are day trippers?

 

Q11 Do you have any data on the reasons why visitors come to Northern Ireland / the site(s) your organisation is responsible for? For example:

  • Holiday
  • Visiting family
  • Business
  • Other
 

Q12 If you have this information, what proportion (%) of your visitors state the historic environment as the primary reason they visit Northern Ireland? This could include:

  • Visiting heritage sites
  • Visiting specific attractions within the historic environment
  • Experiencing the natural environment
 

Section 3 – Income and Expenditure

Q13 What was your organisation's gross income for each of the past three years?

Year Income (£)
2008  
2009  
2010  

Q14 How much of the above was comprised of (%)

  2008 2009 2010
Entrance fees      
Grants      
Legacies or similar      
Sales      
Car parking      
Events      
Other (please specify)      

Q15 Apart from the above sources of income, does your organisation have opportunities to generate revenue in the following areas?

Area Please Tick
Donations/legacies  
Car park charges  
Retail  
Café  
Entrance fees  
Corporate functions  
Room hire  
Events  
Voucher schemes  

Q16 What recent initiatives has your organisation undertaken to increase revenue and enhance the visitor experience?

 

Q17 For those activities within your organisation relating to the historic environment, please provide details of your operating and capital expenditure costs in the past three years

  2008 (£) 2009 (£) 2010 (£)
Operating and maintenance costs      
Capital expenditure costs      

Q18 How much of the above was comprised of (%)

  2008 (%) 2009 (%) 2010(%)
Salaries      
Purchases      
Maintenance      
Major improvement works      
Other (please specify if possible)      

Q19 What proportion (%) of expenditure in each of the above categories was paid to suppliers/employees resident in Northern Ireland?

 

Q20 If you have not undertaking any capital expenditure in the last 3 years what is the reason for this?

Reason Please Tick
Not the responsibility of your organisation  
No need was identified  
No funding  
Other (please specify)  

Q21 Are there any plans to make any capital expenditure in the next 2 years?

  • Yes – please provide details if possible (£, purpose)
  • No (with reasons why not)
 

Section 4 – Employment

Q22 How many permanent and seasonal Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees does your organisation have in each key area of historic environment activity in 2010?

  Permanent FTE Seasonal FTE
Listed/historic buildings    
Archaeology    
Conservation areas    
Gardens/designed landscapes    
Historic landscapes    
Marine historic environment    
Natural environment    
Technical expert staff    
Administrative staff    

Q23 What proportion (%) of the FTE employees above are residents of Northern Ireland?

  Proportion (%)
Permanent FTE  
Seasonal FTE  

Q24 What is the extent of volunteer input to the delivery of the organisation's functions? (hours per week/month/year or expressed as a percentage of overall hours worked)

 

Section 5 – Marketing

Q25 What marketing approaches do you use to promote the sites and/or activities you are responsible for? (Select all that apply)

Approach Please tick
Internet – own website  
Internet – other websites  
Internet – social media  
Printed brochures  
Stands at festivals / tourism fairs  
TV/Radio  
Direct mail  
Other  
Do not do any direct marketing  

Q26 Who is/are your target group(s) for marketing ?

Group Please tick
Geographical markets  
Visitor type  

Q27 Do you collaborate with any of the following for promoting visits to historic environment site(s) you are responsible for?

  Please Tick
Central government  
Local government  
Community groups  
Tourism companies  
Partners in the rest of the UK  
Partners in the Republic of Ireland  

Q28 How often does your organisation interact with partners as part of the collaboration above?

 

Q29 What benefits have you observed for your organisation from collaborating with other partners?

 

Section 6 – Wider Social Impacts

Q30 Do you think the site(s) your organisation is responsible for delivers wider benefits than just to those who visit the site(s) (e.g. community groups, school groups, volunteering programmes)?

  • Yes
  • Local residents
  • All of Northern Ireland
  • All of the UK
  • All of Europe
  • Global population
  • No – our site(s) provide(s) benefits to visitors alone

Q31 [If yes to the above question] in your opinion, what kinds of wider benefits do both visitors and non-visitors receive?

Benefit Please tick
A sense of identity and history  
Heritage for future generation  
A nicer environment to live in  
Economic regeneration encouraged by heritage conservation / renovation (such as increased tourism income, employment etc.)  
Reduced crime and vandalism encouraged by heritage conservation / renovation  
Knowledge that those less advantaged in society have access to public heritage sites  

Q32 Do you take any particular actions to increase the wider benefits received by those other than visitors to your organisation's sites?

  • Yes (please specify)
  • No (please specify why not)
 

Annex 3: Case Study Summaries

Causeway Coastal Route (including Dunluce and Carrickfergus Castles)
Project Benefits
Economic The DETI NI Visitor Attraction Survey Jan-Dec 2010 identified that :
  • The Giant's Causeway and Antrim Coast and Glens attracts the highest level of visitation reported against any of the NITB Signature Projects;
  • Visitors were primarily visitors from Great Britain (35%); from North America (23%); European (15%); the Republic of Ireland (9%) and Northern Ireland (5%); and
  • These visitors are general sightseers and culturalists who enjoyed the unique and distinctive landscapes and coast (84%), unique and distinctive attractions (53%), with 82% having visited a castle, house or historic monument; and
  • Attributes identified in relation to the actual experience were: memorable (75%); natural (75%); unique (52%); historical (49%); inspiring (47%); adventurous (41%); and authentic (35%).
According to NITB's "Local Authority (LA) Tourism Estimates", there were 870,100 visitors/trips, 2,944,600 visitor nights and £141.5m spent in the Causeway Coast and Glens region (which is comprised of eight local authority areas), representing 28% of visitors, nights and spend of the total reported for NI in 2009. Visitor numbers and estimated revenue associated with key historic buildings/sites are as follows: NIA Image
Other economic benefits generated by heritage conservation include: employment and provision of training/development opportunities
Social
  • Contribution to a sense of identity and history
  • Improved environment/ contribution to well being
  • Reduced crime and vandalism
  • Ensuring wider access to public heritage sites (e.g. for those from socio economically deprived communities)
Other
  • Protecting heritage for future generation
Key Issues/Challenges
  • Extensive range of sites, representing various stages of development
  • Financial viability /sustainability of key assets
Recommendations
In order to maximise the benefits associated with the historic environment along the Causeway Coastal Route, consideration should be given to:
  • Increasing awareness (e.g. promotion of Causeway Coastal Route and its historic assets through all distribution/information channels; increasing awareness of other key attractions along the route beyond Giant's Causeway; identifying sites/attractions in need of 'upgrade/refreshment');
  • Developing/enhancing 'connections' between assets located along the route (e.g. developing self-drive touring opportunities offered by Causeway Coastal Route by integrating fully with Walled City and Belfast);
  • Further develop environmental aspects of the experience (e.g. development of maritime heritage opportunities; develop distinctive open air entertainment);
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of brand messages i.e. ensuring delivery against the significant perception of the uniqueness and authenticity of the experience; identifying opportunities to deliver this through uncovering stories; and developing interpretation to maximise the opportunities for uncovering stories and learning; and
  • Encourage higher spend by visitors (e.g. package/cluster product around eating/retail/culture experiences; demonstration and sales opportunities for local craft providers; and branded souvenirs and identifying opportunities to sell in the area).
St Patrick's Heritage
Project Benefits
Economic St Patrick Trail represents various sites/assets spread across a number of local Council areas. A number of key sites attract significant visitor numbers (e.g. St Patrick CoI Cathedral, St Patrick Trian Visitor Centre, Down Cathedral & St Patricks Grave, Down County Museum and The Saint Patrick Centre). Key areas of economic benefit include:
  • Visitor expenditure
  • Employment creation
  • Increased footfall in destination areas/generating expenditure in some local businesses
The estimated impact of Down County Museum alone is: c£800,000 per annum (Gross) visitor spend; £150,000 (direct and indirect) expenditure on goods and services; and direct & indirect/induced employment of c19 FTE staff. The estimated quantum of visitor impact at the Saint Patrick Centre is c£800,000.
Social
  • Activities facilitated by specific sites contribute to development of social cohesion (e.g. Reconciliation Education Programme for young people and community tours aimed at reconciliation based at the Saint Patrick Centre)
  • Contribution to sense of identity/place
  • Contribution to civic pride and well-being
Other
  • Conservation of historical buildings/monuments
Key Issues/Challenges
  • Extensive range of sites, representing various stages of development
  • Financial viability /sustainability of key assets
Recommendations
  • Investment in trail development (e.g. physical improvements, interpretative information, signposting, further investment into archaeology excavation is required at various sites)
  • Co-ordinated marketing, promotion and product development
  • Investment in improved/standardised visitor monitoring systems/processes
  • Improved partnership working/partnership development in particular (between key stakeholders in Northern Ireland and with Republic of Ireland stakeholders)
Key Issues/Challenges
  • Extensive range of sites, representing various stages of development
  • Financial viability /sustainability of key assets
Recommendations
In order to maximise the benefits associated with the historic environment along the Causeway Coastal Route, consideration should be given to:
  • Increasing awareness (e.g. promotion of Causeway Coastal Route and its historic assets through all distribution/information channels; increasing awareness of other key attractions along the route beyond Giant's Causeway; identifying sites/attractions in need of 'upgrade/refreshment');
  • Developing/enhancing 'connections' between assets located along the route (e.g. developing self-drive touring opportunities offered by Causeway Coastal Route by integrating fully with Walled City and Belfast);
  • Further develop environmental aspects of the experience (e.g. development of maritime heritage opportunities; develop distinctive open air entertainment);
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of brand messages i.e. ensuring delivery against the significant perception of the uniqueness and authenticity of the experience; identifying opportunities to deliver this through uncovering stories; and developing interpretation to maximise the opportunities for uncovering stories and learning; and
  • Encourage higher spend by visitors (e.g. package/cluster product around eating/retail/culture experiences; demonstration and sales opportunities for local craft providers; and branded souvenirs and identifying opportunities to sell in the area).
Derry City Walls and Ebrington Barracks
Project Benefits
Economic Derry City Walls In 2010, the combined number of visitors to the main historic assets was at least 192,312. Three of the six heritage buildings are still undergoing restoration. The majority do not charge an entry fee, those who do, only charge a nominal amount. The three restored buildings provide employment for approximately 19 FTE staff. NI's Visitor Attraction Survey highlights that Derry's City Walls represent a significant tourism offering, with 248,340 visitors in 2010 (including day trippers), representing a 10% increase of the previous year and a 31% increase from 2005 figures. A Visitor Attraction Survey carried out in Jan-Dec 2010, identified that 31% of visitors to the Walled City were from GB; 26% of visitors were from North America; 17% from Europe; 14% from Rest of World; and the lowest proportion of visitors were from NI/RoI (12%) and that history/heritage, scenery and opportunity to learn were the most appealing aspects of the visit to the area. It is anticipated that the City's Walled Lighting Strategy will enhance the evening economy. Ebrington Barracks Project Creating active use of buildings located on the site. Potential to create employment and training/development opportunities.
Social Creating Safer Spaces - It is anticipated that the Walled City's Lighting Strategy will contribute to a safer environment. Contributing to Social Cohesion - The development of Ebrington will utilise heritage to redevelop an urban site to enhance links with the local community and neighbouring communities in a 'shared space', which will be further enhanced by the Peace Bridge, which connects Ebrington with the City centre. Celebrating Culture & Heritage – the restoration of historic buildings within the City to bring them back into active use as tourism offerings, has the potential to increase the public's understanding and appreciation of the City's history and of a shared heritage. Changing Perceptions and Increasing Civic Pride – promotion of the City Walls, Peace Bridge and Ebrington Barracks as a combined tourism product (i.e. creating links and synergies between the various built heritage sites across the City) offers the potential to change perceptions within and outside the City, thereby increasing the potential for further tourism and business investment in the area.
Other Derry City Walls – Conservation/protection of six historical buildings Ebrington Barracks Project – Conservation/protection of 14 listed buildings
Key Issues/Challenges In 2012, the Built Heritage Programme and restoration of some of the buildings within Ebrington will be completed. This coupled with the newly erected Peace Bridge collectively offers an enhanced tourism product with the potential to generate income, employment and private sector investment from tourism/cultural events associated with the UK City of Culture 2013 and other events such as the Clipper Yacht Race and the All-Ireland Fleadh. A key challenge associated with this activity will be in ensuring that the benefits derived flow to all parts of the city, particularly those with high levels of social and economic deprivation, and that activities/benefits are sustained beyond the life of the events.
Recommendations
  • Introduce trading on the City Walls for local craft businesses, to increase activity around/use of the Walls and further develop the evening economy. This will be enhanced by the City's Walled Lighting Strategy;
  • Develop a co-ordinated approach to marketing built heritage sites within the City Walls and Ebrington to link the heritage sites to enhance visitor numbers, experience and spend;
  • Maintain links with the Irish Walled Town Network and International Walled Towns Friendship Circle, to ensure that local and international best practice is reflected in the development and promotion of the Walled City.
Armagh City (including the Navan Centre)
Project Benefits
Economic The Navan Centre is an interpretative centre located alongside a major prehistoric hilltop earthwork. The centre is owned by Armagh City and District Council and attracts 40,000 visitors per year. The centre also includes a café, audio visual facility and a re-created Iron Age compound with tours that are popular with schools. The centre is supported by the District Council, but its revenue is supported by a modest fee and income from the café. It serves an important educational facility and attractions for domestic and international visitors to the County and City of Armagh. Most notably these include the two cathedrals of the "Ecclesiastical Capital" of Ireland, the Armagh Planetarium and St Patrick's Trian. Direct revenue from entrance fees to the main county attractions is in excess of £500,000 per annum with the total visitor economic contribution estimated at over £35 million.
Social The Navan Centre acts as an important cultural and educational resource in informing people of Ireland's Celtic and mythological past and introducing school children to the ways of life in Iron Age times. In this respect, it complements the social and cultural contribution of St. Patrick's Trian and the two cathedrals which inform and link people to Ireland's Christian heritage. Likewise the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, the only such facility in Ireland, is an educational resource that attracts large numbers of people to the county. Armagh Public Library, No.5 Vicar's Hill and the county's various museums also serve as educational resources. The Palace Demesne and Stables is both a historical and recreational resource that attracts very considerable use from the resident community while the two National Trust properties at the Argory and Andress House are also major destinations of historical and amenity value. Armagh has a rich history, but also a troubled recent past. Its built heritage is a cultural resource for all people in the city. The community's engagement with this heritage, for example through recent consultation process on the re-use of the historic Armagh Gaol is helping in the city's social and cultural recovery.
Key Issues/Challenges Its appearance of the city is run-down in places compounded, in places, by a juxtaposition of inappropriate architecture and business activity. The rich mix of historic features together with the proximity to attractive countryside of high recreational values provides potential to further develop the tourism sector and to attract investment.
Lough Erne and Fermanagh
Project Benefits
Economic Lough Erne is a well established tourist destination in view of its natural and historical heritage, appealing to water related recreation but also coach tours. The principal destination is the Lough itself, although Belleek Pottery attracts around 250,000 visitors each year and Marble Arch Caves around 70,000. Both attractions have a cultural and historical association. The wider area, including Enniskillen contains numerous sites from the pre-historic, early Christian and Plantation periods. All these destinations account for over 620,000 visits, and while the total number of visitors to historic heritage may be lower due to visits to more than one site, the complementary nature of many sites makes for a major tourism and economic resource.
Social The numerous historic sites within the county are a major asset of social and cultural value to the people of Northern Ireland, especially in terms of the early historical significance. That the value of these sites is also realised internationally through the attraction of so many tourists, is also a source of pride for Fermanagh. Enniskillen Castle has worked hard to become an educational centre for all ages. The historic heritage is fully complementary to the draw of the county's natural attractions, a relationship captured very effectively at Castle Archdale which attracts over 180,000 visitors each year.
Key issues and Challenges Fermanagh's attraction as a tourist destination resides in its natural heritage and specific habitual or honey pot destinations. The challenge is to ensure that visitors are not confined to these locations, but appreciate the varied wider historic and natural environment. There is a need too to continue to strengthen the public's own relationship with this heritage.
Belfast Cathedral Quarter
Project Benefits
Economic
  • Creating an economically active use of derelict/unused buildings, thereby contributing to job creation, workforce training/development and facilitating increased level of visitor expenditure within the City
  • Contributing to the City's leisure and tourism infrastructure
Social
  • Increased residential provision within the City Centre
  • Contributing to the development of the arts/culture sector within the city
  • Contributing to sense of identity, shared history and civic pride
  • Contributing to improved community relations
  • Contributing to increased volunteering opportunities
  • Potential to contribute to a reduction in youth crime
Other
  • Provide a focal point for urban regeneration
  • Conservation of historic buildings
Key Issues/Challenges
  • Economic, social and environmental sustainability
Recommendations
Pursue the development of updated Masterplan for the area, so that future development can be planned on an area wide basis, thereby maximising the potential for economic, social and environmental sustainability to be achieved.
Belmont Tower
Project Benefits
Economic
  • In 2010, over £71,000 of income was generated from the use of Belmont Tower (e.g. meetings, events etc.). In 2011, income from these sources had reduced to circa £44,000
  • Created/sustains 1 full time job (office manager) and 3 part-time positions (caretaking staff)
  • Increases footfall in the area (circa 60,000 visitors to the venue per annum), thereby contributing to sustainability of other businesses
Social
  • Supported by c30 volunteers per annum
  • Provides a venue for community/voluntary sector meetings/activities
  • Contributes to civic pride and well being
Other
  • Conserves and make active use of an historic building
  • Promotes local literary heritage
  • Complements public sector strategies aimed at developing literary tourism/ heritage
  • Provides skills development and volunteering opportunities
 
Key Issues/Challenges
  • Future sustainability – corporate and repeat bookings have declined during the economic recession
  • Future opportunities – creation of linkages with forthcoming tourism events/initiatives
Recommendations
  • Further diversification of activities/events held at Belmont Tower
  • Future development of PR/marketing and partnerships/collaborations via forthcoming events (e.g. those associated with the Titanic Centenary (2012), Belfast Book Festival and other Literary Tourism initiatives).

[1]It should be noted that this comparison does not imply causality, as there are many other reasons unrelated to public expenditure that influence private sector investment in the historic environment. Also, analysis carried out by NIEA identifies that the grant aiding of the maintenance and repair of listed buildings has a proven leverage ratio of on average 1:7.65 for every pound invested.

[2] For example, the North West Regional Development Agency's on-line panel of 35,000 people.

[3] English Heritage (2010). Thanks also to David Geddes of Colliers International for personal communication.

[4]http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/eag

[5] Referenced in House of Commons Early Day Motion 703, 9 September 2010

Annex 5

NIEA Key Targets with updates on progress against Built Heritage Targets

(n.b. updates against other NIEA targets have been deleted for clarity but all are presently on track)

  Responsible Functional Unit Key Target (Target date is 31/03/13 unless otherwise specified) Progress Update APRIL 12 RAG STATUS Progress Update MAY 12 RAG STATUS
1. Natural Heritage (CDP) Declare 15 additional ASSIs        
2. Natural Heritage Complete and publish statutory management scheme for Rathlin Island Marine site.        
3. Natural Heritage Implement revised restoration plan for Modiolus in Strangford Lough        
4. Environmental Protection Achieve a direction for prosecution from PPS for 90% of prosecution files submitted during the 2012/13 year.        
5. Environmental Protection Complete the waste Repatriation Programme for 2012/13.        
6. Built Heritage Complete all actions in the Heritage Crime Summit Action Plan within agreed timeframes Progress is continuing and on target within agreed timeframes.   Progress is continuing and on target within agreed timeframes.  
7. Environmental Protection Implement relevant NIEA objectives from CJI follow up review of Enforcement in DOE by agreed project deadlines.        
8. Strategy Group Agree the NIEA Better Regulation Action Plan for 2012/13 by 31 August 2012 and deliver the plan by 31 March 2013.        
9. Environmental Protection – WMU Complete the first year's actions in the Good Beach Summit Action Plan by 31 March 2013        
10. Environmental Protection Complete NI participation in the UK consultation on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, clearing the response through the Executive for submission to the EU Commission by 30 November 2012        
11. Environmental Protection Develop and make operational 8 additional (Water Framework Directive) Local Management Area Plans by 31 March 2013.        
12. Environmental Protection Implement relevant parts of the Tyres Action Plan by 31 March 2013        
13. Built Heritage Submit to the Minister by 30 June 2012 a report on the actual economic value of the historic environment and its potential for the future. The Economic Report will be presented to the Minister and the Historic Environment Strategic Forum before a scheduled meeting of the Forum on 30 May 2012   The Economic Report was presented to the Minister and Historic Environment Strategic Forum members on 30 May. The Minister will be launching the report on 21 June. .
14. DOE Business Planning Team to provide composite statistics based on Directorate returns Respond to 75% of planning consultations within 15 days. Figures for the 2012-13 year will not be available until the June Board meeting. N/A In total, 79.3% of the 397 consultations received as at the end of April 2012 were responded to within 15 working days. This is 4.3% above the target of 75%. Performance by Directorates relating to consultations received in the 1 April 2012 to 30 April 2012 period was as follows: BH – 90.2% of 193 requests EP – 87.7% of 130 requests NH – 36.5% of 74 requests.  
15. Built Heritage Agree development plan for Dunluce Castle by 31 March 2013. Progressing on target to date.   Progressing on target to date.  

Annex 6

Draft NIEA Corporate Scorecard 2012-13

Vision: Our vision is that we will have a healthy and well-protected environment and heritage.

Mission: Our mission is to lead the way in protecting the environment and built heritage, supporting public health, well-being and the economy.

Results Customers
R1 R2 R3 Deliver effective compliance and implementation of legislation and international obligations. Improve understanding and appreciation of our environment and heritage. Support a sustainable economy. C1 C2 C3 C4 To serve and advise the Minister and support the Assembly in the exercise of their roles and responsibilities. Deliver effective and efficient services, regulation and enforcement. Provide authoritative information and advice. Maintain and develop effective partnership working
Internal Processes Learning and Growth
IP1 IP2 IP3 Manage our resources efficiently, effectively and ensure good governance Deliver effective communications Base decisions on sound evidence LG1 LG2 LG3 Develop and support staff to enable them to carry out their duties effectively and achieve their potential Promote best practice working Provide an inclusive, safe and healthy working environment

Proposed Key Target

DOE/PfG Target - Bold blue print – Ministerial priority highlighted on draft DOE scorecard

RESULTS

BS Ref Objective Measure Target Ref Target Links Lead
Directorate
Owner
R1 Effective compliance and implementation of legislation and international obligations. Work towards halting the loss of biodiversity by 2020. R1.1 Declare15 additional ASSIs by 31 March 2013 PfG/DOE Target NR1.1 VSP 1-10A, 1-3A PfG NH ADs of CS, CDP, BDU & RO
R1.2 Complete and publish statutory management Scheme for Rathlin Island marine N2K site by 31 March 2013. PfG/DOE Target NR1.6 VSP 4-3A PfG NH AD of CS
R1.3 Implement revised restoration plan for Modiolus in Strangford Lough   NH ADs of CS and CDP
R1.4 Develop pilot Wildfire Management Plan in Mourne Mountains VSP 3-10 A NH ADs of BDU, C&C and CDP
    Enforcement of Environmental Law R1.5 Submit at least 10 prosecution files relating to serious environmental crime to PPS NI (including POCA confiscation and money laundering investigations where proportionate and appropriate), during 2012/13.   ECU  
      R1.6 Achieve a direction for prosecution from PPS for 90% of prosecution files submitted during the 2012/13 year. DOE Target DOE EP  
      R1.8 Where the polluter can be identified take enforcement action on 75% of breaches in legislation which lead to significant environmental consequences within 5 months of the incident and 90% within 7 months. EP R2.3.1 EP  
    R1.9 Complete the Waste Repatriation Programme for 2012/13. DOE Target EP R2.3.2 DOE EP Head of LRM
    R1.10 Prepare for publication Compliance and Enforcement report for 2010/12 by December 2012.   SG  
    R1.11 Complete all actions in the Heritage Crime Summit Action Plan within timescales. DOE Target DOE BH MD
    R1.12 Implement relevant NIEA objectives from CJI follow up review of Enforcement in DoE by agreed project deadlines. DN: Confirm if key target   EP  
    Delivery of NIEA Better Regulation Programme R1.13 Agree the NIEA Better Regulation Action Plan for 2012/13 by 31 August 2012 and implement agreed actions by 31 March 2013. SG R1.2 SG  
    Bathing Water Quality Standards R1.14 Complete the first year's actions in the Good Beach Summit Action Plan by 31 March 2013. DOE Target EP R1.2 EP  
    Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Marine Programme implemented. R1.15 Complete the NI participation in the UK consultation on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive to timescales. DOE Target DOE EP  
    Compliance with Water Framework Directive R1.16 Develop and make operational 8 additional (Water Framework Directive) Local Management Area Plans by 31 March 2013. DOE Target EP R2.5 EP Head of Water Mgt Unit
    Waste Management R1.17 Agree operational arrangements for Fly Tipping and take forward pilot exercises with at least four Councils to test the new framework by 31 March 2013. EP R2.4 EP  
    R1.18 Implement relevant parts of the Tyres action plan by 31 March 2013. DOE Target   EP  
    Buildings at Risk saved (and others kept from becoming at risk) R1.19 Work with key partners, and especially the UAHS, to save a further 10 buildings at risk (7 off the pre-April 2006 register), and 3 off the post-2006 register) towards the overall target of saving 200 by 2016. BH R2.7 BH BMcK
R2 Improve understanding and appreciation of our environment and heritage. Information policy developed R2.1 Development of an information policy with respect to standard and application of interpretation, information and signposting at NIEA Sites.   NH/BH  
Events support R2.2
  • Implement 2012/13 events programme
  • Develop and agree 2013/14 programme by March 2013
  All  
R3 Support a sustainable economy Communicate the value that the BH brings to the economy and well-being of NI, and its potential to do more. R3.1 Submit to the Minister by 30 June 2012 a report on the actual economic value of the historic environment and its potential for the future. DOE Target   SG/BH BW
    Greater uptake of Environmental Management Systems R3.2 Increase by 50 the number of businesses audited and provided with templates for a basic EMS under the ARENA scheme with at least 15 companies taking up an accredited standard (ISO1400 or BS8555). SG R3.2 SG  
    NIEA hydro-electric project R3.3 Complete Phase 2 of Roe Valley hydro-electric scheme by 31 March 2013. SG R3.3 SG  
    Planning Consultation deadlines met [DN Confirmation of key target to use (3.4 or 3.5) on interim basis for 2012/13 pending direction from Minister]. R3.4 Respond to 75% of planning consultations within 15 days   BH,NH,EP  
    R3.5 Determine the need for an EIA within 15 working days of a formal request in 90% of cases.   BH,NH,EP  
    R3.6 Respond to 90% of planning consultations which include an EIA, Hydrogeological Risk Assessment or a Habitats Regulations Assessment within 30 working days   BH,NH,EP  
    Monuments in Care (MiC) further developed to help realise their economic (and other) potential. R3.7 Agree development plan for Dunluce Castle by 31 March 2013. DOE Target   BH JOK
    R3.8 Submit action plan for St Patrick/Christian Heritage to Minister by 31 May 2012.   BH JOK

Customers

BS Ref Objective Measure Target Ref Target Links Lead
Directorate
Owner
C1 To serve and advise the Minister and support the Assembly in the exercise of their roles and responsibilities. Machinery of Government response times C1.1 90% of Ministerial PO correspondence requests cleared with PO deadlines DOE All  
C1.2 90% of AQ correspondence requests cleared within PO deadlines DOE All  
Ombudsman's cases response times C1.3 Respond to Ombudsman's reports within set deadlines DOE All  
Environment Committee response times C1.4 Respond to 90% of queries within 10 days of receipt DOE All  
FOI/DPA/EIR response times met C1.5 FOI/EIR & general correspondence within NIEA targets (FOI/EIR, 100% within 20 days. General, 90% of written queries within 15 days) DOE All  
C2 Deliver effective and efficient services, regulation and enforcement. Process of Environmental Applications C2.1 Process 80% of duly made applications for environment licences/permits/consents with statutory deadlines. EP C1 EP All  
Preparation for Transfer of Functions under RPA C2.2 Engagement with Local Government Division, Planning Service, Transition Committees to understand and prepare for possible transfer of functions under RPA   BH MD
C3 Provide authoritative information and advice Data and information management C3.1 Complete a strategic review of information and data management and develop draft strategy and action plan for improvement by March 2013 SG C2.2 SG  
Science and Evidence Strategy (Also IP3.1) C3.2 Prepare Science and Evidence Strategy by December 2012 SG IP3.1 SG  
C4 Maintain and develop effective partnership working Provision of Corporate Functions C4.1 Agree service agreements with HR&OC and FBPD for the provision of Corporate Services including HR, finance and IT support by 31 May 2012.   All John McMillen
Effective Care of the Government Historic Estate C4.2 Publish revised Protocol by 30 June 2012 and implement 2012/13 action plan.   BH MD

Internal Processes

BS Ref Objective Measure Target Ref Target Links Lead
Directorate
Owner
IP1 Manage our resources efficiently, effectively and ensure good governance Staff Recruitment IP1.1
  • Deliver identified ECU vacancies as per current plans by end August 2012
  • Deliver remaining NIEA targets in accordance with service standard agreements.
DOE ECU All  
    Effective Management of Land and Property IP1.3 Agree and implement the recommendations of the Review of Land and Property controlled by NIEA. BH IP 1.6 BH/NH MC/JO'K
    Budget Out-turn IP1.4 Ensure that the Agency's expenditure does not exceed the agreed budget for resource and capital during 2012/13. DOE All  
    IP1.5 Ensure the Agency's year-end under-spend is not greater than 1% for current expenditure. DOE All  
    NIAO Opinion IP1.6 Unqualified NIAO opinion on Agency Resource Accounts for 2011-12 and accounts laid within prescribed deadline   All  
    Procurement spend through Centres of Procurement Excellence (CoPE) IP1.7 To continue to achieve 95% of Agency spend through a recognised CoPE DOE All  
    Prompt payment of invoices IP1.8 95% of all undisputed invoices processed within 30 days and 85% within 10 working days DOE All  
IP2 Deliver Effective communications Crimestoppers waste crime campaign IP 2.1
  • Complete evaluation of campaign by October 2012
  • Discuss campaigns for heritage crime and wildlife crime with relevant Directors by December 2012.
  ECU  
IP3 Base decisions on sound evidence Science and Evidence Strategy (Also C3.2) IP 3.1 Prepare Science and Evidence Strategy by December 2012 SG IP3.1 SG  

LEARNING & GROWTH

BS Ref Objective Measure Target Ref Target Links Lead
Directorate
Owner
LG1 Develop and support staff to enable them to carry out their duties effectively and achieve their potential Corporate Social Responsibility LG1.1 Implement agreed Action Plan developed by CSR Steering Group SG LG1.1 All SG  
    Training Plan in place LG1.2 Training Plans agreed and in place by 1 September 2012   All  
    Performance Review Reports LG 1.3 80% of 2011/12 performance review reports completed and recorded on HR Connect by May 2012, 98% completed by end September 2012. DOE All  
    Attendance Levels LG1.4 To meet agreed Departmental targets on sick absence DOE All  
    Staff satisfaction level LG1.5 Address findings from NICS Survey relevant to NIEA to timescales. DOE All  
LG2 Promote best practice working Investors in People Accreditation achieved LG2.1. Achieve IiP Accreditation as part of DOE by 31 March 2013. DOE All  
Business Planning LG2.2 Agency Balanced Scorecard in place and operational by 30 May 2012.   All  
LG3 Provide an inclusive, safe and healthy working environment Health & Safety Strategy LG3.1 Implement agreed action plan in accordance with published Health and Safety Strategy. SG LG3.1 SG  
DOE Review of Health and Safety completed LG3.2 Maintain achievements from 2011/12 and complete outstanding review recommendations by 31 March 2013 DOE SG  
Improving health and safety within the working environment LG 3.3 Risk Assessments for all activities and properties carrying significant risks are current and being applied EP LG3.1.1 All  

Appendix 4

List of Witnesses who Gave Oral Evidence
to the Committee

1. Mr Leo O'Reilly, Accounting Officer, Department of the Environment;

2. Mr Michael Coulter, Director of Built Heritage, Northern Ireland Environment Agency;

3. Mr Manus Deery, Principal Conversation Architect, Historic Buildings Unit, Northern Ireland Environment Agency;

4. Ms Fiona McCandless, Director, Department of the Environment Local Planning Division'

5. Mr Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General; and

6. Mr John McKibbin, Acting Treasury Officer of Accounts, Department of Finance and Personnel.

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