Secretary of state for culture, media and sport Tessa Jowell has called on developers intent on demolishing listed buildings to make a computerised record.
The minister this week suggested that the use of such digital cinematography could form a precondition for listed-building consent.
Writing in Department for Culture, Media and Sport report Better Places to Live, Jowell said: 'When the choice is between obliterating a historic building so that nothing is left but the architect's drawings, and having a perfect digital record of every square inch, available for students and historians for all time, I know which I would rather have.'
She continued: 'It is inevitable that some of the buildings from the past will be lost, and lost forever. This is a high price to pay, but it does not imply that we lose all of their heritage. I think technology may suggest a way with dealing with this.
'Digital photography and cinematography now make it relatively easy - and increasingly affordable - to create a perfect 'virtual' moving image of a building, inside and out,' Jowell added.