Before any site may be considered as a candidate for World Heritage status, it has to be included on the UK Tentative List. Under UNESCO guidelines, the Tentative Lists of member states must be periodically reviewed to ensure that they represent the most suitable sites for consideration. The Government has now embarked upon a review of the UK Tentative List, which is timely since the submission of Pontcysyllte for nomination means that Wales no longer has any sites on the list.
In order to inform this review, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) set up a Project Team to manage an initial assessment of the costs and benefits of World Heritage site status.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers were appointed as consultants and they provided a report that helped frame a consultation document produced by DCMS which seeks comment and advice from interested parties concerned with the process of drawing up a new Tentative List for the UK.
The consultation aims to establish a clear and stringent process to ensure that the most appropriate sites are put forward and to begin a thorough review of the UK’s policy for World Heritage Sites. As such DCMS has engaged with wider partners and stakeholders throughout the UK via a Steering Group and Advisory Group. Cadw, the Welsh Assembly Government’s historic environment service is a member of the Steering Group.
The review has four main points of reference:
- to explore the extent to which the UK’s current approach to world heritage supports the interest of the UK Government in protecting and promoting its cultural and natural heritage, wider strategic priorities and international goals;
- to examine the costs and benefits, rights and responsibilities of World Heritage Site status, the balance currently achieved between them, and the implications for the future management, promotion and funding of such sites;
- to consider what measures might be taken to clarify and/or strengthen protection for World Heritage Sites; and
- to recommend a policy and methodology for making future nominations for World Heritage Site status.
Alun Ffred Jones, Minister for Heritage, Welsh Assembly Government said:
We welcome this World Heritage Site review and hope as many stakeholders and interested parties as possible respond to the consultation. Wales’s World Heritage Sites deliver an important community benefit and have proven to be of importance in terms of civic pride, economic regeneration and visitor drivers.
I accept that there are also great responsibilities that come with such status. We need to make sure that the process of nomination incorporates a thorough initial assessment of outstanding universal value as well as stringent scrutiny of costs and benefits, to ensure the integrity and uniqueness of World Heritage Sites in Wales and the UK are retained.
5 December 2008