Guidance notes

Assessment of Impact on Sites of Cultural Heritage in Environmental Impact Assessment Studies


  1. If a project design can totally and completely avoid a site of cultural heritage, or, if the site of cultural heritage can be fully and wholly integrated into the project design without impairing or compromising its heritage value (e.g. by using a historical building as an information centre or a club house without compromising its historical and architectural integrity, etc.) with its amenities value and surroundings enhanced, this will be regarded as a beneficial impact.

  2. Partial preservation of a site of cultural heritage is not a preferred option. Full justifications must be available together with alternative proposals and designs of the project to unequivocally show that total preservation is impossible. Mere project economy will not be taken as a reason. Impact assessment should fully address the quality and value of the sites of cultural heritage identified. The assessment should critically evaluate and explain with sound justifications how, if absolutely unavoidable, the loss to a site of cultural heritage as a result of the proposed project is consistent with the general presumption in favour of protection and conservation.

  3. It is most unlikely that proposals for total destruction of a site of cultural heritage will be accepted. The onus and burden for the strongest justifications are entirely on the project proponent. For such proposals to be considered, it must be clearly and unequivocally demonstrated and proved that, inter alia, all possibilities have been exhausted; efforts to identify sustainable existing or viable new uses have failed; and/or substantial benefits for the community will decisively outweigh the loss of a historical building, etc.