Important legal notice
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Cultural heritage
Cultural heritage - Conserving our common legato
“To gauge clearly the impact of air pollution on Europe’s cultural heritage, and to provide valuable information to combat the associated damage.”

The problem

Air pollutants – from both industry and transport – cause a great deal of damage to historical buildings and monuments that have an important place in Europe’s rich cultural heritage. Very little coherent work has taken place across the continent to assess and monitor the impact of air pollution on these treasures. This means that policy-makers and other parties – such as site owners and managers – cannot devise effective management strategies to deal with potential problems.

CULTSTRAT  Assessing the impact of air pollution on cultural heritage


The CULTSTRAT project aims to change this situation and its results will feed into wider European air pollution policies. The project will:

  • Establish threshold levels of pollution for different materials used in historical structures
  • Show how current and projected air pollutant levels can cause damage
  • Develop strategies to better maintain and conserve the EU’s cultural heritage
  • Find a way of estimating how much of Europe’s cultural legacy is actually at risk from pollution

Contribution to policy development:

  • CULTSTRAT will provide, for the first time, an easy-to-apply way of assessing likely damage from current and projected levels of pollution
  • It will eventually devise a simple ‘tool kit’ for assessing the potential damage to certain historical monuments and sites
  • It will create a reference manual for conservators, planners and managers

Project deliverables

  • Assessment model to rank the corrosive and soiling effects of pollutants – March 2006
  • Recommended ways of reducing pollutants in areas containing heritage sites – December 2006
  • Inventory of historical buildings and objects at risk in different areas – December 2006
  • Strategies for air quality policies and for the prevention of damage to important objects – July 2005 to February 2007


  • Creating a website that will be regularly updated – October 2004
  • Brochure describing the project and its participants – March 2005
  • Two workshops on such issues as regional and local modelling, and conservation strategies – December 2005/January 2007
  • Key results – May 2007
  • Presentations to conferences and in scientific journals – Throughout project

Technical information

Project acronym: CULTSRAT
Project’s official full title: Assessment of Air Pollution Effects on Cultural Heritage – Management Strategies
Research priority: 3.6. The protection of cultural heritage and associated conservation strategies
Specific webpage: Not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 501609
Start date: 1/04/2004
Kick off meeting: April 2004
Completion date: 1/04/2007
European Commission scientific officer: Johanna Leissner (

Name: Swedish Corrosion Institute
Abbreviated name: SCI
Address: Kräftriket 23 A
Country: Sweden
Tel: +46 8 674 1700
Fax: +46 8 674 1780


Name: Norwegian Institute for Air Research
Abbreviated name: NILU
Country: Norway

Name: Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Environment
Abbreviated name: ENEA
Country: Italy

Name: Middlesex University
Abbreviated name: MU
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Umweltbundesamt
Abbreviated name: UBA
Country: Germany

Name: Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques
Abbreviated name: LISA
Country: France

Name: Institute for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
Abbreviated name:ITAM
Country: Czech Republic

Name: Building Research Establishment
Abbreviated name: BRE
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Abbreviated name: CSIC
Country: Spain