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Home Breaking Seven sites confirmed in the running for UNESCO World Heritage Status

Seven sites confirmed in the running for UNESCO World Heritage Status

The Government has revealed the seven places it is backing to win UNESCO World Heritage Status

  • York city centre, Birkenhead Park and an iron age settlement in Shetland could join prestigious list
  • The sites are added to the Government’s ‘Tentative List’ with the aim of joining global landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and the Galápagos Islands

Cultural and natural heritage sites including York’s historic city centre are a step closer to becoming UNESCO World Heritage Sites after gaining Government backing for their bids.

Five new sites from across the UK and Overseas Territories have been added to the Tentative List meaning they are now part of a seven site list to be put forward by the Government for inscription on the illustrious list.

The Tentative List is published around every ten years by the UK Government. It sets out the sites it feels have the best chance of succeeding and will now work with local authorities and devolved administrations to develop their bids.

Cultural sites on the list include York which has fantastic civic and religious buildings including its Minster as well as a rich history left behind by its Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman inhabitants.

Birkenhead Park, which opened in 1847, was a pioneering project to bring greenery to urban environments and provided a blueprint for municipal planning that has influenced town and city parks across the world, including New York’s Central Park.

UNESCO also awards World Heritage Site status to the most extraordinary natural places on the planet.

The East Atlantic Flyway, a migratory bird route over western parts of Europe including Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent, joins the UK’s list in recognition of its vital importance to bird populations and wildlife. The area sees huge transient bird populations pass through every year as the seasons change.

The Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas, situated in the UK Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands, have been put forward for their exceptional importance to marine biodiversity and their incredible natural beauty.

Also on the list today is the Zenith of Iron Age Shetland, a collection of three ancient settlements dating back thousands of years.

Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

Today we are confirming our support for some of the most enchanting heritage sites and breathtaking landscapes in the UK and its Overseas Territories as they bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

All the locations being put forward would be worthy recipients of this accolade – and we will give them our full backing so they can benefit from the international recognition it can bring.

Laura Davies, HM Ambassador to UNESCO, said:

It is great that the UK is contributing to making World Heritage more representative.

These five sites brilliantly reflect the diversity and beauty of the UK and its Overseas Territories’ natural and cultural heritage, and I look forward to working with them towards World Heritage listing.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site system offers a fantastic opportunity for cultural and natural heritage sites to gain international recognition and promote themselves on a global stage.

If successful, the seven sites would join the 33 other World Heritage Sites already based in the UK including Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.

Two sites which submitted their full nominations to UNESCO earlier this year also remain on the Government’s Tentative List. One is The Flow Country, a large area of peatland across Caithness and Sutherland in the north of Scotland which plays a crucial role in supporting biodiversity.

The Gracehill Moravian Church Settlement in Northern Ireland is part of a joint bid alongside other Moravian religious sites in Denmark, the United States and Germany. The bid aims to recognise the church’s work in setting up an international religious community.

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