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Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2023

Section 117 — Offence of carrying out unauthorised works or breaching condition of consent

442.Section 117(1) makes it an offence for a person to carry out, or cause to be carried out, works in relation to a listed building in breach of section 88. This includes any works that would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

443.If listed building consent has been granted, subsection (2)(b) provides that it is an offence for a person to fail to comply with a condition of a consent in carrying out works, or in causing works to be carried out.

444.For the purposes of this section, a “person” may be anyone who undertakes works to a listed building, be that an owner or occupier of a building, a contractor or subcontractor or other third party.

445.If works are undertaken to a listed building without authorisation or in breach of a condition subject to which listed building consent has been granted, a person commits an offence if they:


carry out those works personally, or


instruct or employ someone to undertake them.

446.Consequently, both an owner and a builder instructed by the owner to undertake unauthorised works could be guilty of an offence.

447.Subsection (4) provides a person with a defence for an offence under this section if works were undertaken to address urgent health and safety needs or for the preservation of the building. However, the defence is only available where the works were limited to the minimum measures immediately necessary to secure health and safety or the preservation of the building, and notice was given to the planning authority in whose area the building was situated, with detailed justification for the works, as soon as reasonably practicable.

448.Subsection (5) provides a person with a defence for an offence under this section relating to a building under interim protection where the person proves that they did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the building was subject to interim protection. Where the defence is raised by a person on whom a notice of interim protection should have been served, it is for the prosecution to prove that the notice was served on the person.

449.Information on buildings under interim protection should be readily available. Section 78 requires the Welsh Ministers to serve notice if they propose to add a building to the list. The notice, which must be served on every owner and occupier of the building amongst other persons, has to specify the date upon which interim protection begins and explain its effect. A list of buildings under interim protection is published on the Cadw website in accordance with section 79(4)(a) (see paragraph 281 above) and Cof Cymru also displays buildings under interim protection.

450.Subsections (6) and (7) detail the levels of penalties a person guilty of an offence under this section is liable to, whether on summary conviction or conviction by indictment. Since unauthorised works to a listed building may be prompted by the prospect of financial gain, the courts are to have regard to any financial benefit the person convicted may have gained or appears likely to gain as a result of the offence, when determining the amount of any fine to be imposed (subsection (7)).

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