Harm in the Historic Environment


The National Planning Policy, 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. The course will be delivered online via Microsoft Teams from 10.00 am to 12 noon UK time on Thursday 24 June 2021.

The course will be of particular interest to heritage asset managers and advisers, planners, historic environment professionals and architects, surveyors and others who do not specialise in heritage but may need to understand the concept of harm when managing change.

Programme details

9.50 am               Course opens, Welcome

10.00am              Introduction - including why harm matters

10.15am               Legislation, policy, definitions and case law (30 minutes)

10.45am              Consideration of key issues

  • Harm to non-designated heritage assets
  • 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

11.30am               Discussion and conclusions

12 noon               Course ends


Dates, Times and Delivery

Harm in the Historic Environment (Online) course will run over one day, on Thursday 24 June 2021.

Sessions will be 2 hours, delivered online via Microsoft Teams, from 9:50 – 12:00 noon (UK time).

A world clock, and time zone converter can be found here: https://bit.ly/3bSPu6D

No attendance at Oxford is required and you do not need to purchase any software.



Participants who attend the full course will receive a University of Oxford electronic certificate of attendance. 

The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended.

You will be required to attend all of the live sessions on the course in order to be considered for an attendance certificate. 


Description Costs
Standard course fee £65.00


Fees include electronic copies of course materials.

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

Henry Russell, Course Director of the programme in Conservation of the Historic Environment, Reading University

IT requirements

This course is delivered online using MS Teams.

To participate you must be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
It is advised to use headphones with working speakers and microphone.