Wellbeing created by local heritage may be worth billions per year

Research from Historic England says the wellbeing created by day-to-day encounters with local heritage is worth £29 billion annually nationwide, according to a new Historic England report. The findings reveal a statistically significant, positive relationship between the density of local heritage assets and self-reported life satisfaction, after adjusting for various socio-economic, neighbourhood and regional effects.  Its research suggests that on average, a person’s life satisfaction improves to the value of £515 a year, just by living near local heritage sites such as a small civic museum or village church.  The ‘Heritage Capital and Wellbeing’ report suggests that the very presence of nearby historic places benefits residents’ quality of life, even if people do not participate in heritage activities.

Historic England says the report is the first of its kind to quantify the wellbeing value of heritage, and has followed similar approaches within environmental economics, which have evidenced wellbeing gains proximity to urban green spaces.  The research was funded by the Culture Heritage Capital programme and is supported by DCMS and HM Treasury.  Read the full report here.