Harm in the Historic Environment


The National Planning Policy Framework, which incorporates England’s national heritage policy, requires that when considering the impact of a proposed development on the significance of a designated heritage asset, great weight should be given to the asset’s conservation.  By implication, it identifies four levels of harm that may be caused to the significance of heritage assets: total loss (this is often overlooked but is written in to the NPPF’s Paragraph 193), substantial harm, less than substantial harm, and no harm.  The course would explore the meaning and implications of this and of recent case law.

Presentations outlining the background and main issues will be followed by an open discussion session with the course directors and other participants. In the afternoon, those attending in person will take part in a group exercise assessing a case study on harm.

The course will be delivered in a hybrid format. The morning session is being offered for both in person and online participants. The afternoon session is offered for in person participants only.

Programme details

09.15    Registration for in-person participants

09.45   Course opens, Welcome

10.00   Introduction – including why harm matters

10.30   Legislation, policy, definitions and case law 

11.30   Consideration of key issues

  • Direct and indirect harm, and the contribution to significance made by setting
  • Substantial and less than substantial harm, the sliding scale of harm, and the boundary between the two
  • Who makes the decision on harm?
  • Heritage impact assessments
  • Implications and justifications for harm to heritage assets, including public benefits

12.30    Discussion and conclusions

13.00    Online course ends

For in-person attendees only:

13.00    Lunch

13.45     Afternoon case study: setting out case study

14.30    Group work on case study

15.15     Discussion of case study followed by concluding remarks

16.00    Course closes


Description Costs
In-person tuition: 09:45 - 16:00 £280.00
Online tuition: 09:45 - 13:00 only £135.00
Baguette Lunch (in-person attendance only) £6.50
Hot Lunch: 3 courses (in-person attendance only) £17.60


All courses are VAT exempt.

Register immediately online 

Click the “book now” button on this webpage. Payment by credit or debit card is required.


Dr Stephen Bond

Course Director

Stephen Bond, Director of Heritage Places and joint author of Managing Built Heritage

Mr Henry Russell

Course Director

Lecturer in Conservation of the Historic Environment, Reading University

Dr Michael Dawson


Director RPS Consulting UK & Ireland

IT requirements

If you wish to join the course online for the hybrid sessions only you will be offered the option to select this when you book. The hybrid sessions will be live streamed using Microsoft Teams and you will be sent a link to join the course. The course will be accessible online 15 minutes before the start time and we encourage all participants to join in good time.