Heritage and the Climate Crisis: February News 2022

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of February.

The news this month has been tragically centred around the Russian invasion of Ukraine so it feels fitting to start this month’s news by saying that the people of Ukraine and any signatories affected by the events are in our thoughts. Architect’s Journal have recently published an article Inside Ukraine: ‘Our architects haven’t left the bomb shelters for days’ (architectsjournal.co.uk) which gives insight into the current situation of a Kyiv-based practice and the city’s battle for survival. For information on how you can help visit the Disaster’s Emergency Committee.

In terms of Heritage and Climate news, we’ve seen some great, informative articles this month as well as new casework campaigning against demolition, something we are now so accustomed to seeing. This month also saw the launch of our Case Studies page on the website and our open call for case studies. We’ve already had some great submissions so far and can’t wait to get those of the website and share them in future newsletters. If you have a case study you’d like to share, please email us here.

RIBA demands mass retrofit of 3.3m interwar homes to tackle fuel poverty

Photo credit: AJ

The RIBA has called on the government to roll out a new fuel poverty-busting national retrofit strategy for millions of interwar homes. The report sets out how a mass ‘fabric-first’ retrofit drive could be achieved with an emphasis on financial aid, changes to policy and increased skills and training. Read more about the campaign here.

Extreme Flooding at Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Storm Franklin saw extreme weather conditions across the country and one area which sustained extensive damage was UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. The River Skell overflowed through the Studley Royal estate, and whilst the water did not reach the ruins, it did cause damage to the 18th century water gardens and surrounding parkland. This is just one example of extreme weather causing catastrophe in recent years, all as a result of climate change. Events like these incentivise us to keep pushing for change to prevent more hertitage assets being lost or damaged. Read more about the flooding here.

Carbon Emissions Bill 

Duncan Baker MP for North Norfolk recently submitted a 10 minute rule bill to tackle Embodied Carbon in our buildings. The Bill will require the whole-life carbon emissions of buildings to be reported; to set limits on embodied carbon emissions in the construction of buildings; and for connected purposes. The Bill is currently undergoing its second reading in the House of Commons. To read more about the bill, click here.

Heritage Declares Case Study highlight: Greenlands, sustainability upgrades

Greenlands, Henley Business School

Heritage Declares signatory and volunteer, Emma Healey, led the Barton Willmore Heritage Team in assisting the University of Reading with their sustainability upgrade projects in some of the listed university buildings, including Grade II* listed, Greenlands. The current system was outdated with only two control centres leading the over- and under-heating of the buildings.

The aim of the project was to create a more sustainable heating system which could more easily be controlled but also reduce the costs of heating the building and reduce its carbon footprint. The team worked alongside the University and engineering team to develop a system that could be sympathetically installed within the listed buildings which would be more sustainable and financially viable for the University. Read more about the project on our new Case Studies page.

Planning’s second century needs to learn from the errors of its first

David Williams MRTPI (freelance planning and regeneration specialist) argues that much of 20th century planning and development has proven unsustainable, and the new mantra for planning moving forward should be ‘maintain, adapt, reuse’. Read more about David’s thoughts on sustainability and planning here.

Restoration begins at Saltdean Lido

After much campaigning to save the building and secure funding, restoration has started on Saltdean Lido and will continue across the next 18 months. The Lido are updating people of their progress through Twitter.

Demolition plans for Rotherham Bingo Hall recalled

Redevelopment plans that involve demolishing the historic former Rotherham cinema and replacing it with flats have been withdrawn following the building being granted listed status. Opened in 1934, the cinema was built by Thomas Wade & Son Ltd of Wath upon Dearne. It was designed by Blackmore & Sykes of Hull. It is now Grade II listed, adding an added level of protection against demolition. Read more here.

The demolition of Cowbridge’s historic Former Girls’ School is set to be debated at the Welsh Assembly

Plans to bulldoze Cowbridge’s historic Former Girls’ School are now set to be debated at the Welsh Assembly. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has written to Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden of the Welsh Government of Culture and Sport to request she intervenes to stop the needless loss of the school and shared an alternative scheme for the site. Unfortunately, CADW have refused to list the site. Read more about the campaign here.

Building without Concrete? Looking forward to the built environment without concrete

Robyn Pender from Historic England has written an interesting article on whether the huge environmental burden of concrete is necessary. She questions whether buildings truly require concrete and argues that concrete has become a lazy person’s solution to every problem in the built environment. Read more here.

New measures introduced to manage the impact of climate change on Scotland’s national heritage sites

Photo credit HES

Historic Environment Scotland is implementing a new approach to the inspection of historic properties in response to climate change. A programme of tactile condition surveys on over 200 properties will assess the extent of deterioration of high-level masonry and ensure public safety against the risk of potentially unstable building fabric. As well as assessing general deterioration, the survey will assess the impacts of climate change. Read more about the survey work here.

Tactical Preservation in Detroit

Offering an international perspective, this report takes a look at how to approach empty buildings in the city of Detroit. Furthermore, it considers the ways they can be preserved and avenues for funding. Read more here.

Looking forward

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 10th February at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here.

If you have any case studies you’d like to send us, please email us here.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the February News on Heritage and the Climate Crisis? Or suggestions for the March post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl

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