Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Heritage Organisations Form Action Group to Save Our War Memorials

Seventeen heritage organisations, including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Imperial War Museum, and English Heritage, have been invited to join an "action group".

Since the start of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 10 years ago the rise in incidents of vandalism and desecretion of war graves and monuments in the UK has risen. According to the Imperial War Museum the number described as being in a "poor" condition has risen by 79 per cent in the last two years alone. The attacks have been for various reasons and not just the one everyone thinks. Many civic monuments have had metal stolen from them, a lucrative business to scarp metal yards; until recently of course now that the law has changed. But still many vandals are avoiding justice so more needs to be invested into protecting not only our hisotical monuments but our cemertaries too.

This new action group has been set up by the Heritage Lottery Fund in response to a campaign that calls for more Lottery money to be spent on memorials and a relaxation of funding rules.

The groups will look at the problems of protecting and restoring memorials. In two years it will be the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. There are hundreds of memorials built in commneration of the end of that war that require protection and restoration. So action it seems is required now to understand the situation and to raise the necessary funds to protect our heritage. The government seems to be inept at doing this.

Interestingly, the organisation will review what information is available on the location and condition of monuments, to make this more available and to raise public awareness of all the issues affecting the monuments.

What the government and the law courts seem to be ignoring (as usual!) is that public opnion over this issue is extremely strong and many have been calling for action for several years now. There have been many calls for stronger protection for memorials in the local planning system; the prosecution of anyone caught damaging a war memorial, and stronger sentences for those convicted.

That is not the case at the moment.

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