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Overview

You need consent to carry out works, above or below ground, that might affect a scheduled monument in Northern Ireland.

A scheduled monument is any nationally important archaeological site or historic building that is protected against damage or disturbance.

Visit the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) website for a list of scheduled monuments in Northern Ireland.

Works requiring consent include:

  • repairs
  • erection of signage or structures
  • infrastructural work
  • digging
  • insertion of posts
  • dumping
  • churning up the ground for development or ploughing

How to apply

Download an application form from the NIEA website, or call NIEA.

NIEA
0845 302 0008
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Applications should be accompanied by:

  • your details
  • a plan identifying the monument
  • maps, plans, photographs and/or drawings that describe the works

You need to certify that you own the monument or have given notice of your application to the owners at least 21 days before making your application. If you can’t locate the owners, you must show that you took all reasonable steps to do so.

NIEA will send you an acknowledgement letter and all owners who are detailed in your application form will be given an opportunity to comment on your proposals.

NIEA will consider the impact of the proposed works to the scheduled area (both above and below ground) as well as any changes to the appearance of the site before making its decision.

You may be contacted for further information or to arrange a site visit.

NIEA will make its decision within 3 months of receiving sufficient information on which to base a decision.

Consent for large, staged projects may be granted incrementally.

Conditions

Conditions may be attached to the consent, eg the building material that must be used or the way in which the work must be done. You must inform any agents or contractors working on the project of these conditions.

If you don’t carry out any works within 5 years of consent being granted, or other specified period, the consent will cease to have effect.

Consent is not normally granted for excavation of a scheduled site unless there are specific research reasons for the excavation. You must obtain consent before applying for an archaeological excavation licence and ensure that you enclose this with your application.

Exemptions

Certain work, eg essential canal maintenance or machinery repairs, is permitted without the need to apply for consent.

Fines and penalties

If you carry out any works on a scheduled monument without permission or fail to comply with any conditions attached to the consent, you may be fined. You may also be fined or imprisoned for up to 2 years for deliberately or recklessly damaging a scheduled monument.

It is an offence to:

  • use a metal detector on a protected site without a licence
  • remove an object found with a metal detector