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Forth Bridge on track for World Heritage status

24 January 2014

The Forth Bridge carrying the railway connecting Edinburgh with Fife has been put forward today by Culture Secretary Maria Miller as the UK’s latest nomination for World Heritage site status.

                     Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs on the Forth Bridge to mark the submission of World Heritage Nomination Documents to UNESCO

If successful the site would join Stonehenge, The Tower of London, and the Jurassic Coast on the existing list of UK World Heritage sites and worldwide would be among a select group that includes the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China. UNESCO will examine the nomination and make a final decision next year.

The Forth Bridge is an iconic British structure, recognised around the world as a feat of engineering, which at over a mile and a half long was the first major British construction to be made of steel, and at its peak employed over four and a half thousand construction workers.

World Heritage sites are huge tourist draws contributing to the estimated £26.4 billion and over 700,000 jobs that heritage-based tourism contributes to the UK economy.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:

“World heritage sites attract tourists from all over the world and Britain has some extraordinary places that have yet to be recognised by UNESCO. If the Forth Bridge bid is successful in achieving such prestigious international recognition, then Britain will have yet another iconic place by which to attract tourists to our shores.

“I want to thank the bid partners, the organisations and the people that have worked hard to develop the nomination, which has my full support.”

The Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael said:

“The Forth Bridge is an iconic structure and I am fully supportive of the bid to give this feat of Scottish engineering World Heritage site status. I congratulate the bid team on the excellent work that they have undertaken to put the nomination together, and it will be important to ensure they continue to receive the support they need in the months ahead.

“The Forth Bridge is an excellent example of the UK’s rich culture and heritage and proudly symbolises Scotland’s place in the world as pioneers of construction. Inscription as a World Heritage site is an important accolade, achieving this recognition will be tremendous news for Scotland and a fitting tribute to all of the people who have contributed to the building, maintenance and restoration of the Bridge in its 124 year history.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said:

"The Forth Bridge is an iconic symbol of technical creativity and engineering excellence. As one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks the bridge not only connects communities in a practical sense, but also connects those who admire its design with Scotland’s proud industrial and cultural heritage.

“The Scottish Government is proud to support the Forth Bridge bid. I am particularly pleased that the partnership approach that has led to this point has allowed the communities in which the bridge is based to have a direct input alongside local and national bodies. This approach is to be applauded and ensures our bid is the strongest it can possibly be.”

Photo Caption: Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs on the Forth Bridge to mark the submission of World Heritage Nomination Documents to UNESCO.

Notes for editors:

  • The UK currently has 28 World Heritage sites, spread across all four nations of the UK, and a number of UK Overseas Territories

  • The concept of World Heritage Sites is at the core of the World Heritage Convention, adopted by UNESCO in 1972, to which over 180 nations belong. Through the Convention, UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of the cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

  • Nominations for inscription on the World Heritage List are made by the appropriate States Parties. They are subject to rigorous evaluation by expert advisers to the World Heritage Committee: The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for cultural sites, and/or the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for natural sites. Decisions on the selection of new World Heritage Sites are taken by the World Heritage Committee at its annual summer meetings.

  • Inclusion in the World Heritage List is essentially honorific but brings enhanced protection through the UK planning framework. A prerequisite for World Heritage Site status is the existence of effective legal protection and the establishment or firm prospect of management plans agreed with site owners to ensure each site’s conservation and preservation.

  • The preparation of the nomination documents was 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, Forth Estuary Transport Authority and VisitScotland.

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