National planning guidance (NPPF) defines a heritage asset as a building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having an amount of significance that merits consideration in planning decisions. Heritage assets are classified as being either designated heritage assets or non-designated heritage assets.
Designated heritage assets are designated nationally under the relevant legislation (listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered historic parks and gardens and registered battlefields), but also include World Heritage sites, which are designated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), and Conservation Areas, which are designated by Local Authorities. Designated heritage assets, with the exception of Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites, are listed in the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) - the official database of all nationally protected historic buildings and sites in England.
Designated heritage assets receive a greater degree of protection within the planning system than non-designated heritage assets. Due to this, some heritage assets, such as listed buildings and scheduled monuments, are subject to additional legislation which control any changes that have the potential to adversely affect their character or significance.
Non-designated heritage assets, like those on the Lancashire Local List, are locally-identified buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes that are recognised as having an amount of heritage significance that warrants consideration in planning decisions, but do not meet the criteria for statutory designation.