Heritage bill to protect monuments in Wales

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Media captionExcavation works at Offa's Dyke were investigated by police in 2013

A new law to protect historical monuments and buildings in Wales aims to make it more difficult for those who damage them to escape prosecution.

It comes after 119 cases of damage to sites between 2006 and 2012 resulted in only one successful prosecution.

The Historic Environment (Wales) Bill will give ministers powers to make owners who damage monuments undertake repairs.

Councils can also take action to stop decay by recovering urgent work costs.

In 2013, a stretch of the 1,200-year-old Offa's Dyke, on privately owned land between Chirk and Llangollen, was found flattened.

But last year police said there was insufficient evidence to bring charges over damage to the ancient earthwork, which was built in the 8th Century as a boundary between King Offa's domain and Wales.

One of the aims of the bill, which is expected to come into force in 2016, is to make it more difficult for people to claim ignorance of a monument's status or location.

It will also make it easier for owners to manage their listed buildings by introducing management plans that will eliminate the need for repeated planning applications for similar works.

Councils must also maintain historic environment records to inform nearby planning decisions and must set up a register of nationally important parks and gardens.

Image copyright Mark Williams
Image caption Excavation works at Offa's Dyke were investigated by police in 2013

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