English Heritage is appealing for volunteers to help survey 345,000 Grade II buildings at risk from neglect or decay.
In a bid to identify buildings in need, heritage fans are being called upon to investigate both rural and urban areas all over the country.
Volunteers would receive training from English Heritage, and then visit Grade II buildings to access their condition. Professionals would check the results.
It is hoped the findings will identify areas of decline, and so help English Heritage to decide how best to deploy its resources.
Pilot surveys conducted over the past year saw volunteers investigate an average of 13 buildings per day after receiving one-and-a-half days’ training.
Carried out in areas including Whitehaven, South Tyneside, Bristol and Dorset, the 19 pilot projects surveyed around 5,000 Grade II buildings.
Some 4.2 per cent of buildings surveyed were found to be at risk, and 10.1 per cent were vulnerable.
Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: “Today we are announcing a win-win proposition. For English Heritage it means we will eventually get, for the first time, a complete picture of the condition of all England’s listed heritage.
“We can use this information to decide how best to deploy our national expertise to help owners and all those tackling heritage at risk on the ground.
“And we’ll have a grass-roots network to spread understanding and appreciation of local heritage so that less of it becomes at risk in the first place.
“Surveys could reveal areas of decline before they become apparent, be used to evaluate planning applications or spur enforcement notices. And it will help to educate a whole new generation of heritage professionals.
“For people who want to volunteer, we hope to recruit next autumn, so if you want to register your interest, contact English Heritage Customer Services.”
To find out more about the Heritage at Risk programme, click here.