The main pieces of legislation in this area are the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 the Welsh Ministers, through CADW (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service), decide which ancient monuments should be listed on a Schedule of Ancient Monuments because of their importance. The general effect of a monument being listed on this Schedule is that if works or other acts are done to it without consent, an offence will be committed.
Under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, the Welsh Ministers decide which buildings of special architectural or historic interest should be listed. The general effect of a building being listed is that works which would affect the character of a building are prohibited unless listed building consent has been obtained.
Conservation Areas are designated by local authorities under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. There are restrictions on certain works to buildings and trees within Conservation Areas.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales was established by Royal Warrant. It has the role of surveying and recording ancient and historical monuments and constructions.
The Welsh Government introduced the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill into the National Assembly for Wales in May 2015. It proposes to provide more effective protection to listed buildings and scheduled monuments, enhances existing mechanisms for the sustainable management of the historic environment, and introduces greater transparency and accountability into decisions taken on the historic environment.