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Heritage and climate change

  • by JW

Sidmouth has the largest number of listed buildings in East Devon


Around the world, there are concerns about the impact of climate change on cultural heritage.

A webinar taking place today looks at the issues:


G20: webinar cycle on the protection of cultural heritage kicks off – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Also today, “conservation experts and lobby group launch a Green Paper to put Europe’s heritage at the heart of the EU’s greening policy”:

Only connect: Icomos and Europa Nostra join up to influence European Union’s one trillion euro Green Deal | The Art Newspaper

With the COP26 Summit happening in Glasgow later this year, an initiative aiming to unite Scotland’s cultural and green sectors was launched earlier today:

Project partnering Scotland’s cultural and environmental sectors launches ahead of COP26 – Museums + Heritage Advisor

And in today’s media, reports from disparate parts of the world show the dramatic impact of climate change on cultural heritage:

These People Are Losing Their Gods to Climate Change

Fiji’s piece of history not spared from climate change impact – FBC News


Sidmouth is home to Devon’s largest number of listed buildings outside the county town:

Futures Forum: Sidmouth has the largest number of listed buildings in East Devon

Visit Sidmouth | Experience | Sidmouth’s Architecture

And many of these are at risk of damage from flooding – with most of the town centre lying at or below sea level:

The whole of the Sidmouth Esplanade frontage and a large part of the town centre behind lies within the
Conservation Area, which is protected by a substantial seawall. However, concerns about coastal erosion and
flooding, particularly in the context of sea level rise and climate change, have resulted in the development of new
proposals to protect property and assets located in the town and on the adjacent cliffs.

6. South-West Heritage Sites – Case Studies | 6.1. Identification of heritage sites currently or potentially at risk

The 2017 Beach Management Plan report does reference heritage – but only really in passing:

Sidmouth & East Beach Management Plan | 2.7.8 Archaeology and cultural heritage

Indeed, there are fears for the town centre’s heritage, as considered in the VGS report submitted to the BMP steering group in February:

The Preferred Option, including a raised Splash Wall, does not guarantee protection of Sidmouth’s heritage; it will not protect the Esplanade and town centre from flooding – areas of Sidmouth which contain its largest number of heritage assets: “Historic environment as an asset, and giving it new life, has been one of the cornerstones of the economic and social revival of our towns and cities.” (Deloitte 2017) Heritage and the Economy | Historic England and

Analysis of the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan’s Aims & Objectives


Historic England offers a whole host of webinars on the issues:

Climate Friday: Climate Change and Cultural Heritage Webinar Series | Historic England

With a huge back catalogue of excellent talks:

Previous Webinar Recordings | Historic England

For example:

Climate change and the historic environment – a call to action!_4

Mainstreaming Culture and Heritage into Climate Planning_7