Freedom of Creation, Architecture and Heritage Act

Published on 27 September 2016 - Updated 23 June 2017

Published on 8 July 2016, the Freedom of Creation, Architecture and Heritage (CAP) Act establishes "remarkable heritage sites". The CAP Act incorporates the fields of competence linked to listing a property as a World Heritage into the Heritage Code.

As the only heritage protection plan for "remarkable heritage sites", which replaces previous schemes (Architectural, Urban and Landscape Heritage Protection Zone ( ZPPAUP ), Area for Enhancing Architecture and Heritage ( AVAP ) and safeguarded sector), it aims to bolster and modernise the heritage protection scheme whilst highlighting the significance of architectural quality for the living environment. 

With regard to listing properties as a World Heritage, Article L.612-1 of the CAP Act incorporates, in particular, the ideas of a buffer zone and a management plan. It recognises the shared responsibility of the State and local authorities in the protection and management of sites and asserts the importance of the State's PAC (Information Document) regarding the provisions linked to the World Heritage status when a PLU (Local Urban Development Plan) or a SCOT (Territorial Coherency Plan) is undertaken by the competent authority. 

Loi du 7 juillet 2016 relative à la liberté de la création, à l’ architecture et au patrimoine  

Décret n° 2017-456 du 29 mars 2017 relatif au patrimoine mondial, aux monuments historiques et aux sites patrimoniaux remarquables  (Decree of 29 March 2017 bearing on World Heritage, Historical Monuments and Remarkable Heritage Sites) defines how the Act is to be implemented by the State and local authorities with the aim of protecting properties recognised as a World Heritage, as well as the procedure for creating a clearly defined perimeter of historical monuments' surrounding areas and the new classification procedure for remarkable heritage sites. 

The regulatory part of the Heritage Code is amended in particular when it comes to Article 3, Chapter II "Provisions relating to properties listed as a World Heritage": 

  • "The State and local authorities or their groups protect these properties and, where necessary, all or part of their buffer zone by implementing the provisions of this Book, of Book III of the Environmental Code and of Book I of the Urban Planning Code"
  • "The perimeter of the buffer zone and the management plan provided for by Article L. 612-1 are defined by decree by the Prefect of the region."

In particular Article 13 of Book I of the Urban Planning Code is amended: 

  • It stipulates that the provisions of the management plan for properties listed as a World Heritage are among the information that the State  brings to the attention of municipalities and their groups.
  • The guideline and objectives document (DOO) regarding the SCOT incorporates the graphical documents enabling the properties listed as a World Heritage and their buffer zone to be identified.
  • The perimeters of properties listed as a World Heritage and their buffer zone are incorporated into the appendix of the PLU .