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Forth Bridge World Heritage bid opens for consultation

20 May 2013

The public’s views on the World Heritage nomination of the Forth Bridge is being sought through a 12-week consultation launched today (20 May 2013).

The Forth Bridges Forum – which includes a number of local and national organisations – is keen to gather input from individuals and interested parties in support of the iconic railway bridge’s nomination. It also wants to hear people’s views on how the potential social, economic and cultural benefits of World Heritage can be managed in the local and national interest.

The consultation will seek views on the benefits a successful bid could deliver for the local communities, as well as in wider areas such as tourism, education, skills and innovation. The consultation will also help inform the development of the Bridge’s World Heritage Management Plan, which is essential for any World Heritage Site in ensuring effective management, protection and promotion.

The UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced in May 2012 that the 19th-Century landmark mild-steel structure would be the first site from the revised UK Tentative List to be put forward to UNESCO for nomination. Since then a significant amount of work, including local community engagement and focus groups, has been carried out to prepare for this consultation and the subsequent stages of this process.

Information gathered over the coming weeks will contribute to the final document which will be submitted to UNESCO in early 2014, with consideration for World Heritage Site inscription taking place in 2015.

All the consultation documents, instructions and guidance are available on the nomination’s website:  There will also be a number of community consultation events organised by Fife Council and City of Edinburgh Council on either side of the bridge during the 12-week period.

Launching the consultation, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “The Forth Bridge is an iconic and enduring symbol of Scotland’s Victorian engineering ingenuity at its very best. It truly is deserving of World Heritage Site status and as a new industrial heritage site would join our five existing Scottish World Heritage sites in achieving this international recognition.

“Securing this status would be an enormous honour and source of pride, not only for the communities of North and South Queensferry, but for Scotland as a whole. The designation will deliver numerous benefits, and a key aspect of the consultation will be to consider how these would benefit the Bridges local communities to ensure that the World Heritage Site would be sustainable. We want to submit the strongest possible bid to UNESCO, and I would urge the communities on either side of the Forth Bridge and all interested parties to participate to make sure we achieve this ambition in 2015.”

The Forth Bridge is owned and operated by Network Rail. David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director, commented: “We’re pleased to give this nomination our full backing. The Forth Bridge is a unique, world class structure and it deserves to be recognised as a high point of human ambition and achievement. We consider ourselves as proud custodians of the Bridge and look forward to hearing the feedback from the consultation.”

The Forth Bridge World Heritage Consultation will close on Sunday 11th August 2013

Notes for editors:

  • The nomination is being overseen by the Forth Bridge World Heritage Steering Group of the Forth Bridges Forum, which includes Network Rail as owner of the Bridge, Transport Scotland, Historic Scotland, Fife Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Queensferry & District Community Council, Queensferry Ambition, North Queensferry Community Council, North Queensferry Heritage Trust, FETA and VisitScotland.

  • There are currently five World Heritage Sites in Scotland: St Kilda inscribed in 1986; Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995); Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999); New Lanark (2001) and the Antonine Wall (part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire) (2008).

For further information

John MacNeil
Media Relations Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8714 or 07854 366 827