Robert Jenrick – 2021 Statement on Legal Protections for England’s Heritage

The statement made by Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on 15 January 2021.

For hundreds of years, public statues and monuments have been erected across the country to celebrate individuals and great moments in British history.

They reflected the people’s preferences at the time, not a single, official narrative or doctrine. They are hugely varied, some loved, some reviled, but all part of the weft and weave of our uniquely rich history and built environment.

We cannot – and should not – now try to edit or censor our past. That’s why I am changing the law to protect historic monuments and ensure we don’t repeat the errors of previous generations, losing our inheritance of the past without proper care.

What has stood for generations should be considered thoughtfully, not removed on a whim, any removal should require planning permission and local people should have the chance to be properly consulted. Our policy in law will be clear, that we believe in explaining and retaining heritage, not tearing it down.