There are presently approximately eight thousand, "listed buildings," in Northern Ireland. The vast majority of these, (almost seven thousand five hundred) are designated B1 or B2. The figures given on the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) website for the two higher grades of listing (A and B+), are one hundred and ninety three and three hundred and eighty eight respectively.
It was the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1972 which provided the statutory impetus for the first "listing," survey in Northern Ireland. That survey took some twenty years to complete and was rather lacking in detail. The present relevant legislation is the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1994 and in particular Article 42.
A second survey is presently under way and this is hoped to be completed by 2016. The field work has been contracted out to a firm of Belfast architects and they are presently surveying properties along the north coast. The new entries on the Buildings Database of the NIEA are of much more interest to local historians and those with an interest in our build heritage. A typical new entry will now have at least one coloured photograph of the exterior of the building or structure; give a written description of architectural features and where possible some historical information. The NIEA's booklet entitled, " Criteria for Listing," issued in 2010 sets out an example of the new style of listing .