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Communities to get involved in Forth Bridge nomination as a World Heritage Site

18 December 2012

The communities of Queensferry and North Queensferry are to be given the opportunity to get involved in the nomination of the Forth Bridge as a World Heritage Site and find out how the global recognition could benefit them.

The iconic railway bridge will be put forward to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee to be considered for the global recognition in 2015.

World Heritage expert James Rebanks has been commissioned to begin speaking with local communities and stakeholders to better understand what opportunities inscription by UNESCO could create.

The focus of James’ work will be to look at ways in which the nomination can deliver benefits for the surrounding areas and the results of his work will be developed to shape further consultation and events.

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

“I think that for most Scots the Forth Bridge is an obvious and strong candidate for World Heritage Site status. It is an incredible feat of engineering that is still hugely important to our rail infrastructure network. It is instantly recognisable to a worldwide audience but in preparing the nomination we want to involve communities with links to the bridge.

“James has an excellent track record in working with World Heritage Sites and his research into how different sites have made the most of the designation is being used around the world. I am delighted that he will be joining the team developing the nomination and that his expertise will ensure this work has a lasting legacy for Scotland’s communities.”

James’ previous work World Heritage Status – Is there opportunity for economic gain? received widespread acclaim and was described by UNESCO as “the seminal report on the subject”.

James said:

“All of our previous research has shown that being a World Heritage site can deliver benefits for host communities. But this doesn’t happen by accident, you have to go out and make it happen.

“Our work on the Forth Bridge is to shape what kind of benefits the local communities want, and to help them make it a reality.”  

Initial engagement with selected representatives from local communities and local organisations will be carried out between now and the end of January with the aim of letting them know about the World Heritage nomination and discussing ways in which it could benefit them and the area.

This first stage of local community engagement will then inform continued engagement and consultation with the wider public in spring 2013 culminating in a draft Nomination document and Management Plan in the summer.

The nomination of the Bridge, first proposed by Fife Council, is being developed by the Forth Bridge World Heritage Nomination Steering Group which is made up of Transport Scotland, Network Rail, City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council, VisitScotland, Historic Scotland and local community representatives.

It will be considered by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in 2015 and if successful would join Scotland’s five existing inscribed sites - The Heart of Neolithic Orkney; The Antonine Wall; The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, New Lanark and the island archipelago St Kilda.

James Rebanks Biography

James is a passionate advocate of innovative ways to better connect cultural and natural heritage to economics. He is an experienced analyst of environmental and cultural issues with recent work on the economic benefits of World Heritage status praised by UNESCO as being ‘very excellent’ and ‘the seminal report on the subject’. This work was translated into several languages and has influenced ongoing research work around the world.

James has been awarded two prestigious international scholarships on
economics and writes for a number of publications. Most recently he was published in UNESCO’s World Heritage Review (Spring 2011) and is currently developing UNESCO’s sustainable tourism toolkit for 1000 WH sites.

He regularly lectures and writes on the uses of cultural and natural heritage in economic development around the world with more than a decade’s experience of working with UNESCO, New Lanark World Heritage Site (WHS), Edinburgh WHS, Natural England, English Heritage, Cumbria Tourism, Nurture Lakeland, Lake District National Park Authority, Lake District World Heritage Project, The Arran Trust, Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd (WHS), Jurassic Coast WHS, Cumbria County Council, Nurture Lakeland, Renaissance North West, and a large number of other organisations.

Notes for editors

1.The Forth Bridge World Heritage Nomination Steering Group, part of the Forth Bridges Forum, is made up of Transport Scotland, Network Rail, City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council, VisitScotland and Historic Scotland.

2.The nomination of the Forth Bridge to be considered as a World Heritage Site is due to be submitted in early 2014 with a decision expected from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in the summer of 2015.

3.Rebanks Consulting work with clients from the cultural, creative, heritage and environmental sectors. More details on their work can be found at

4.Scotland currently has five inscribed World Heritage Sites. They are The Heart of Neolithic Orkney; The Antonine Wall; The Old and New Town’s of Edinburgh, New Lanark and the island archipelago St Kilda.

5.Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. For more information visit Follow us on Twitter @welovehistory and Facebook

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7.The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

8.The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

Network Rail Scotland
Contact:Craig Bowman, Communications Manager
Mobile:07917 775 805

Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

Jennifer Johnston-Watt
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8070 or 07827 956 866