English Heritage has said that the recession has slowed down the work of saving historic buildings and has added that greater effort into preserving the nation's history would help promote tourism and aid economic recovery.

In its annual "Heritage at Risk Register" English Heritage found that there has been a "significant slowdown" in the number of Grade I and II listed buildings that are being saved from a state of severe disrepair.

English Heritage warned that if action is not taken then, "England might lose the very thing which makes it most special in the eyes of the world and could help to underpin economic recovery".

From 1999 to 2007 the number of Grade I and II listed buildings on the Heritage at Risk Register dropped by 17 per cent. However since 2007 there has been zero percentage change in the number coming off the register after being rescued.

The latest Risk Register found that one in 32 Grade I and II listed buildings are currently at risk from disrepair, as are one in six scheduled monuments, one in 16 registered parks and gardens and one in six shipwrecks.

According to English Heritage one in six buildings on the register was fully economic to repair in 1999, the figure has now fallen to one in eight.

In addition the "conservation deficit" which shows the difference between the cost of repair and the end value of the 1,218 buildings on the register, has risen by 10 per cent since 2009 to £465 million.

Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said, "The fact that historic buildings at risk are getting harder to save is very worrying. Removing domestic buildings from the Register has been the real success story of the last 10 years but with decreased house prices, the difficultly of getting mortgages and the uncertainly of the jobs market, private buyers and small developers are less likely to invest in a building at risk. We might also see more buildings coming onto the Register as people spend less and less on maintenance and repair. Government figures show that in private housing as a whole this spend fell 12% from 2008 to 2009 and continues to fall.

"Larger developers and construction companies are also facing difficulties. Fewer are embarking on big regeneration projects and some are having to halt work or even abandon a site altogether. And where public bodies and development agencies could previously support such schemes, they too are unable to invest."

Dr Thurley continued, "Neglect is a slow, insidious process whose costly damage takes time to become clearly visible. Cuts in both private and public spending are currently inevitable but armed with our Heritage at Risk Register, English Heritage is well-equipped to guard against the loss of the nation's greatest treasures and to suggest effective and economical strategies to protect our national heritage."