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Rural heritage in crisis, warns EH

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According to a new report by English Heritage nearly one in 10 listed working farm buildings are in a severe state of disrepair.

The heritage authority's report, 'Heritage Counts 2005', published this morning, has found that some 2,420 of the 30,000 rural structures under consideration are in crisis.

Today's 'audit' of the historic environment focuses on rural issues and is the most comprehensive report ever on the state of England's rural historical environment.

In addition, the research has revealed that £163 million is currently required to meet the repair needs of rural Church of England parish churches.

Minster for rural affairs, landscape and biodiversity Jim Knight said: 'Our historic built heritage is as much a part of the countryside we treasure as the natural landscape. These features are a key component for tourism and sustainable rural communities.

'The government is committed to supporting rural heritage for the benefit of people today and for future generations,' he added.

by Rob Sharp

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