UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


‘Heritage responds – Taking positive action on climate change’ report released

19 October 2021

UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage’s pioneering science and policy research into climate change impacts on the historic environment has been highlighted as a case study in the Historic Environment Forum’s new report.

Photo showing the erosion of a coastal path

In the run up to COP 26, the Historic Environment Forum has published ‘Heritage responds – Taking positive action on climate change’ to highlight the positive contribution of heritage organisations to the debate and actions needed to address climate change and adaptation.

Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the historic environment and heritage sector. The report marks a united response from the sector, using case studies to highlight heritage organisations’ research and initiatives such as switching to solar energy and heat pumps in historic buildings, citizen-science-based eco-arachnological projects mapping coastal change, and the implementation of nature-based solutions to build climate resilience at historic sites.

UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage’s (UCL ISH) science and policy research into climate change and the historic environment is one of the featured case studies. Since its inception 20 years ago, the Institute has worked collaboratively with government, industry and academic partners to inform climate change and heritage policy, completing the first of its kind scoping study on climate change and the historic environment with English Heritage in 2002. 

Another case study highlights the use of smart sensors in Kenwood House – a cutting-edge technology pilot to monitor, manage and increase efficiency of the building services from English Heritage and Ecclesiastical Insurance. Data and insights from the pilot are to be shared with UCL ISH’s Data Science for Cultural Heritage Master’s programme for use in teaching and student projects. 

Professor May Cassar CBE, Director of UCL ISH said:

We congratulate the Historic Environment Forum on this timely and highly relevant report.  It clearly reveals the understanding, knowledge and commitment of the heritage sector to solutions-based approaches to the multi-facetted threat to life, community and property that is caused by climate change."

Read the report on the Historic Environment Forum's website