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Author Solivagant
#1 | Posted: 2 Dec 2008 08:19 | Edited by: Solivagant 
We have had several discussions in this forum about the approaches of different countries towards proposing sites past and future. In particular whether gaining inscription is really "worth the candle" in those "western democracies" which have reasonably strong conservation laws and approaches anyway - particularly for the "better quality" unlisted sites which get a good living from tourism without inscription.

It might be of interest to WHS afficionados to know that the UK has just initiated a consultation exercise about the UK's future approach to the scheme. This has been accompanied by a Price Waterhouse report on "The Costs and Benefits of World Heritage Site Status in the UK"
This sets out a methodology for looking at the issue and then considers each of the UK's WHS against it in turn.

The launch of the exercise is at ltation-on-future-of-UKs-World-Heritage-Sites

and a range of documentation (including the above report) is at

I am too cynical about Government (even a "democratic" one!!) to believe that the Civil Servants don't already know the answer they will arrive at!! I wonder what it is!
And do we know of other countries which have carried out similar exercises and/or produced a similar cost/benefit review?

Author elsslots
#2 | Posted: 2 Dec 2008 12:49 | Edited by: elsslots 
In the Netherlands, the 'Raad voor Cultuur' (advisory body to the Ministry of Education and Culture) has put together an advice on how to handle future World Heritage nominations ( dating from 2007).

The report they produced (in Dutch) can be found here:

It's a document with lots of government jargon, emphasizing the need that everybody (every possible organisation plus the general public) should be consulted to see if they think it's a good idea that a site will be placed on the Tentative List. A bottom-up approach is preferred, so that groups will propose possible nominations themselves.

Some further highlights:
- Future nominations are: Waddensea (2009), 17th century canal area of Amsterdam (2010), Van Nelle Factory (2011), Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie (extension of Defense Line of Amsterdam, to be discussed)
- The thematic approach will be continued, although Modern Movement might be extended to Modern sites in general and a new theme 'Netherlands International' will be added (for transboundary sites and sites in the Caribbean Dutch Antilles)
- In the Dutch Antilles, nominations for the plantation system on western Curaηao and traditional housing on Saba are being prepared
- The Netherlands will limit itself to a maximum of 1 proposal a year, to give extra opportunities to nominations from non-western countries.
- NL pays 450.000 EUR a year to Unesco for various uses connected to world heritage sites and education on the subject
- NL has no natural sites of outstanding universal value, so will help other countries with their natural nomination process
- A new Dutch Tentative List is foreseen in 2009

Author Solivagant
#3 | Posted: 2 Dec 2008 13:04 | Edited by: Solivagant 
In case people don't want to wade through all the documentation these are the options being proposed by UK
Question 1: Given the factors we have set out in this document, which of the following options should we adopt in relation to the future nomination of sites for World Heritage Status?
• Continue to nominate annually from our existing Tentative List;
• Suspend new nominations for a period;
• Draw up a shorter and more focused Tentative List, spacing out our nominations so that we are not necessarily proposing a new site each year and introducing a two-stage application process to filter out early those sites unlikely to be successful (our preferred option); and/or
• Consider alternative designations such as a National Heritage List or the European Heritage label.

So the possibility for UK is not restricting itself (unlike the NL intention) to 1 nomination pa (it already does that) but even opting out altogether for a few years. ah well that would give more space to France, Italy and Spain!

There is a lot of "meat" in these reports.
One point of interest - their survey only identified 1 person visitng the Dorset coast because it was a WHS - was it Els??

Author elsslots
#4 | Posted: 2 Dec 2008 13:49 
was it Els??

No, it wasn't! I was there already in 1979!!!!

I read through the main UK report (the Consultation Paper) and the Dutch report, and noticed a significantly different tone of voice between these 2.
The UK one is much more business like, has all the jargon of a consultancy firm and opts for a rational choice on how to go on.
The Dutch one is very highbrow, only slightly touches the subject of money in the accompanying letter (effects of WH status on tourism), has a lot of well meaning and PC words on non-western countries and obviously doesn't want to spoil the fun by bringing up money or the question if it's all worth it.

Where the UK looks to support other countries that share the same heritage or are part of the Commonwealth, the Dutch romantically opt for natural sites in non-western countries (preferrably on migratory routes that are flown by Dutch birds)!

Author Solivagant
#5 | Posted: 2 Dec 2008 14:11 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Interesting comments Els -I would have expected NL to be pretty business-like as well. Who is in this "advisory body" reporting to the NL government - you once hinted that Royalty had a fair say?

But the UK isn't without its "PC" aspects - I particularly liked this section :-
"In relation to specific duties under equalities legislation, we would welcome comments on the extent to which the way in which we identify, protect, manage and promote World Heritage Sites might contribute to equality of opportunity in the areas of:
• Disability
• Race
• Gender"
The slave route which we have talked about before clearly hits the race button but I am still racking my brains to identify any sites with a gender or disability dimension - and what about "sexual orientation" - Perhaps Greece should be encouraged to nominate Lesbos.

Some further meatier points
a. The failed nomination of "Darwin at Downe" has been rebadged as "Darwin's Landscape Laboratory" - could this be a marketing coup? In one leap (with no other changes?) a tired nomination which failed because it was too linked to a person is transformed into a scientific location and even adopts the "success word" of "landscape"? But will it be enough?
b. No significant evidence was found that WHS inscription actually increased tourist revenues - I suspect that is likely to be true of most developed countries. Also the comment that the greatest benefit in financial terms will be acheived by the weaker sites!
c. The criticism of the T list system by which countries spend a lot of money to go through all sorts of hurdles -even up to WHC only to have it "fail"
d. The nod towards sites which "chime(s) with our own increasing interest in popular culture and sense of place." Roll on Blackpool!

Author elsslots
#6 | Posted: 2 Dec 2008 14:45 | Edited by: elsslots 
The Ministry of Education, Culture & Science is responsible for the Dutch nominations. They collaborate with the Raad voor Cultuur (that wrote the report quoted above) - they are a governmental advisory body that also advice on the Dutch public television and Dutch opera companies and so on.
The Ministry of Agriculture and its advisory body are also involved (a bit), they would advice on possible natural sites, but it seems that NL doesn't think it has any.

P.S.: one of the (very few) Dutch people involved in Unesco & World Heritage is Rick van der Ploeg, former Vice-Chair of the World Heritage Committee and now professor of economics in Oxford ( If you read his biography, you can see that he likes his 'jollies'!

Author Solivagant
#7 | Posted: 3 Dec 2008 03:22 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I note that Dr Van der Aa was also involved - surely he must be added to the exclusive coterie of Dutch WHS luminaries as a result of his thesis (and why didn't they ask you Els!)

I have now put the NL report through the Google translator and, yes, the 2 reports do approach the "problem" from very different viewpoints. This is interesting in itself and raises a number of cultural questions. The Dutch made their reputation as a nation of traders but, as you say "filthy lucre" is hardly mentioned. Napoleon said (well Adam Smith originally) that the English were a nation of shopkeepers and this certainly comes out - though perhaps the UK approach could be regarded (at least on face value) as overly pragmatic and mercenary! We have the results of over 10 years of New Labour where everything in government is measured for "cost effectiveness" (thus wasting millions of £££ as everyone spends their life keeping records, covering their backs and paying for consultants to tell them what they already knew - or should have)!! I wonder how much Price Waterhouse received for that piece of work (A lot lot more than the NL committee of "great and good" I bet!). The NL team on the other hand is studded with Archivists, PhDs and Professors - and their report reflects this (for better or worse!).

The conclusions ultimately are not that different in essence I suppose
a. Fewer nominations (I can't see how NL is going to be able to maintain an "up to 1 per annum" rate from sites and themes mentioned in this report)
b. Bottom up for those that do come through - but do something to "manage expectations"
c. More emphasis on international cooperation
d. Concentrate on preservation rather than new sites

I think it would be fair to criticise the NL report for not asking any questions about what has been achieved by its past inscriptions - surely a prerequisite to deciding how to progress? Els mentioned that the NL report was a bit "PC" - in fact I thought the UK one was far more so. Although it seemed very mercenary at face value it did ask quite deep questions about how to reflect the changes in the content and outlook of UK society - even if it went a bit overboard on inclusiveness and "popular culture". The NL overseas territories got several mentions but it was all rather from an "administrative" viewpoint rather than a cultural one. perhaps the existence of the Commonwealth does help the UK to maintain a stronger "world view" - though each of our countries contains a large immigrant minority. The NL report didn't mention the opportunity of helping with all those overseas "Dutch connection" sites we have recently identified - or others connected to its internal diaspora! Perhaps also it reflects UK's "semi detached status" vis a vis Europe - though I got no sense of NL trying to identify transboundary sites which reflect its historic place within Europe (I think only the Wadden See got a mention as a European transboundary site?). As an outsider I am already surprised that there is no "Flemish" dimension in any existing sites - and no sense from this report of any in future. It takes 2 to tango of course and perhaps the issue is too sensitive for Belgium? At least the UK has a transboundary site with a European country!!

The UK report of course doesn't really identify what specific sites might be added in future (though it does mention that 1 exsiting T List site doesn't want to progress -but doesn't state which). There was a clear "warning" however that many of those already jockying (see our Forum on "Aspiring to T List") shouldn't progress and the sense was that really the UK government wouldn't be overworried if very few more were added - it really wants to use "WHS" for wider policy objectives - international and "UK societal".

Yes, there is quite a lot to ruminate over among these reports!

Author elsslots
#8 | Posted: 3 Dec 2008 12:57 
It would be very interesting I think to read the future approaches on this subject by other countries. For example the Italian/French/Spanish/Mexican. They will be quite hard to find and/or accessed by non-speakers of their languages, but I'll post a request in the long overdue newsletter to reach a broader audience.

Maybe David can help us looking for the Italian policy on future WHS?

Author david
#9 | Posted: 3 Dec 2008 17:11 
Unfortunately (if I remember well) I have never found a document similar to those discussed above also because it seems that the Italian autorithies use to make available much fewer documents about WHL than other countries. I have just some information about the future candidatures:
2009 Italia Langobardorum including the main sites of power and worship of the Lombard civilization in Italy (regions of Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Umbria, Campania and Puglia including: 1 Palatial area with the Lombard Temple and Episcopal Palace in Cividale del Friuli 2 Monastery of San Salvatore and Santa Giulia in Brescia 3 Castrum with the Church of Santa Maria foris Portas and Torba Monastery in Castelseprio 4 Church of San Salvatore in Spoleto 5 Temple in Campello sul Clitunno 6 Church of Santa Sofia in Benevento 7 Basilica in Monte Sant'Angelo). This is an useful link URL.
Dolomites (including these mountain systems in the regions Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia: 1 Pelmo, Nuvolau 2 Marmolada 3 Pale di San Martino, Pale diSan Lucano, Dolomiti Bellunesi, Vette Feltrine 4 Dolomiti Friulane, Dolomiti d'Oltre Piave 5 Dolomiti Settentrionali, Dolomiti Cadorine, Sett Sass 6 Puez, Odle 7 Sciliar, Catinaccio, Latemar 8 Rio delle Foglie 9 Dolomiti di Brenta). For the candidature dossier the first link on this page URL
2010 Probably Vineyard Landscapes of Piedmont region Link: URL The site states that these are not the areas to nominate but just those within which the core and buffer zone will be defined.
I haven't been able to find any information about a possible natural candidature for 2010.

Author Solivagant
#10 | Posted: 24 May 2009 05:31 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Some responses to the UK Government's consultation exercise regarding the UK's future approach to the World Heritage Scheme have appeared on the Web (submissions closed on Feb 25). I have seen an indication that around 120 responses were received expressing "Varying opinions"!! That, I guess is the nature of "Consultation" – it gives an impression of democracy but the views obtained are potentially so widespread that they allow government to carry on with what they wanted to do anyway! Nevertheless some trends are distinguishable within the answers, together with a number of noteworthy comments. The issues (and responses) often have an applicability outside UK so non-UK based Forum members might still find them of interest!

Q1 Which option should be adopted in relation to the future nomination of sites for World Heritage Status?
1. No change – continue to nominate annually from existing T List
2. Moratorium on nominations
3a. Revised T List and voluntary slowing of nominations
3b. Revised T List but continued annual nominations

1.The general feeling favours 3a (The Government's favoured option so it looks pretty certain that UK will be reducing its rate of future nominations) – but those organizations representing some "active" sites on the current T List (Lake District/Chatham) want to make sure they are left on! The UK UNESCO commission envisages a UK nomination only every "3 to 4 years"
2. A 2 stage approach to weed out weak sites early (presumably before being placed on the T List) was favoured
3. At least 2 responses (1 from Scotland!!) felt that England gets too many nominations – particularly as the government was even suggesting a panel chaired by "English" Heritage to help decide on nominations!! UNESCO foresaw an English nomination only every 10 years (given the respective populations, and even land area, of the UK's national entities I don't think the idea that England is over-represented actually stands up to scrutiny – at most a bit over on comparison of land area but well under on population!)
4. Regarding "alternative designations" - there was no support for a National list but a bit more so for a European one although several responses were specifically against
5. Mixed views about the Price Waterhouse approach to analyzing the cost/benefits of inscription. Some concern was expressed about the possible over-emphasis on cost/benefit – was it not more important to consider the cultural/natural values?
6. Some special pleading for natural and geological sites as opposed to yet more cultural ones – of which UK has rather a lot.
7. An interesting comment (surprisingly from the Council of British Archaeology!) in favour of sites which reflect 20th century popular culture – roll on Blackpool ( I have found "Web evidence" that Blackpool intended making a submission but, as yet, haven't found it)
8. The Lake District response includes the detailed and chequered history of its, as yet unconsummated, nomination – always involved in posing questions about OUV and helping to expand the boundary for other sites to get inscribed but in grave danger of missing out yet again!

Q2 What further measures should be considered to improve the management and promotion of our World Heritage Sites?

The answers here were naturally less focussed on single yes/no answers
1. lots of concern about the poor UK legislative framework for protecting WHS and for handling planning issues (reference the extent to which UK city sites seem to be under criticism from UNESCO). Generally "agreed" by the responding organisations that more is needed – but this is a political "hot potato" both in itself and because heritage protection is a devolved matter within the developing UK Constitution- so Scotland can be doing 1 thing whilst England is doing another!
2. need to tie in with the Cultural Olympiad which runs along side the ("Real") Olympiad in 2012
3. possibility of covering education about UK's "World Heritage" better within the UK National Curriculum (as if it isn't full enough already"!)
4. More full time coordinators/managers, support by and a "fund" from central government! Par for the course and not much chance during a recession?
5. An interesting comment that the management model of Hadrians Wall Ltd should be followed - see on this forum
6. develop the UK's "World Heritage Web Portal"
7. concern that the consultation wasn't adequately addressing how best to maximize the UK's international responsibilities on global issues and cooperation as per the Convention (an unfair comment looking at the Terms of Reference but less so perhaps in relation to most of the responses which were certainly more parochial)

For reference by those who are interested, these are links to the detailed responses I was able to find as of May 24 2009
a. Institute of Historic Building Conservation
b. Chatham World Heritage Partnership
c. The Archaeology Forum
d. Falkirk council (see app 1)
e. UK National commission for UNESCO
f. Scottish Civic Trust r%20the%20Nation%20(170209).pdf
g. Natural England
h. The Lake District National Parks Authority onse.pdf
i. The Council for British Archaeology 09.pdf
j. The Geological Society
k. The Royal Town Planning Institute
l. Bath preservation Trust

Author Solivagant
#11 | Posted: 22 Jan 2010 10:35 | Edited by: Solivagant 
The UK government has today finally published the result of its so called "consultation" process into the future approach by UK to the nomination of further sites for UNESCO WH inscription which closed in spring 2009 ( )
Presumably we will yet get a proper report containing the logic and detail of the conclusions (though no indication of such a publication and its likely date is given) but the main decision is really as expected and trailed when the government launched the "consultatation" which, as with so many of these exercises, seems to have been little more than a charade to give legitimacy to what the government intended doing all the time! The UK is to
a. Nominate "fewer" sites in future - but with no indication of how many fewer! Whilst mention is made UNESCO's request for countries already well represented to "ease off" the thrust of the argument is on reducing costs and avoiding expenditure on candidates unlikely to be successful.
b. Create a new T List for submission to UNESCO in 2011 with the first nomination "going forward from 2012". This presumably means that the earliest a set of nomination papers would be ready would be by early 2012 for consideration as per the normal UNESCO timetable at the 2013 WHC ? Though whether the real intention is to propose anything that early isn't made clear - by implication probably not! So there could be at least a 3 year gap from this year's Darwin nomination before another one is up for consideration at a WHC.
c. Require any sites on the existing T list which have not actually gone forward to resubmit. This will be of great concern to Chatham which had progressed significantly
Among others Arbroath, which wasn't actually on the old T List, has been quite vociferous about not being disadvantaged and has been banging the Scottish national drum on this matter! I found this parliamentary response from earlier which contained a list of all UK sites beyond the old T list which had expressed an interest - most had already been identified on this site but there are a few new ones we hadn't previously commented on
d. There is to be a new committee (well, no surprise there then!!) - an "independent panel of experts" to advise the government (well that enables them to deny responsibility) - oh and a new form to fill in (Not yet available!) together with "guidance on how to complete it"!! All good bureaucratic stuff.

It is quite interesting that the government portal introduces the new policy as being intended to result in "fewer and fitter" nominations. I suppose this all coincides with the spirit of the age about reduced government spending and more value for what is spent but facts in relation to past successes and failures from UK don't really justify either the conclusion or the medicine. Where UK has been unsuccessful in the past the cause has been very much central government's OWN failures - particularly an almost perverse desire to "push the envelope" as to what UNESCO will accept - viz Lake District (proposed before the concept of "Cultural Landscape" had been accepted), The SS Great Britain (despite the clear rules that "moveable heritage" was not acceptable) and Darwin at Downe (despite the difficulty of proposing sites primarily related to an individual).

When the consultation exercise was launched we were promised a range of other aspects which would be looked at e.g. the possible role of other schemes such as the European List as an alternative/addition to the UNESCO one. A look at the original terms of reference identifies a number of matters on which Ms Hodge hasn't yet commented. Ah well, she is probably not going to be in post for that much longer so why say more than the absolute minimum!

Author Nem
#12 | Posted: 23 Jan 2010 18:55 | Edited by: Nem 

Author Solivagant
#13 | Posted: 24 Jan 2010 04:41 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Did you mean just to repeat the Ministry of Culture link from the previous post or had you intended something "new"?

We had some discussions here about Blackpool's possible merits back in Aug 2008 ge=0#msg642
As well as containing a link to an analysis of Blackpool's potential in an article written by the same Jason Wood who you "introduce" above, the posts also contain a number of links relating to other "non T List" aspiring UK sites which might be of interest given the possible upcoming "competition" to get put on the UK's revised T List.
It will be interesting to see which, if any, decide to fill in the Department of Culture's new application form once it and the guidelines have been published. Our earlier discussions seemed to conclude that the idea of a Blackpool nomination had merit in theory and that the inscribed list certainly lacks locations of working class culture in comparison with the large number of palaces/hunting lodges etc. However the reality of what remains might struggle on authenticity. Also one wonders whether Blackpool would really want to face the significant restrictions on development which would accompany any inscription.
I personally find Llandudno a more "complete" and attractive 19th century British seaside resort - as well as its "seafront" area its hotel area and shopping centres have survived largely unscathed and it also epitomises the "planning" concepts of the era having been developed frm scratch. It lacks of course the iconic tower and ballroom of Blackpool and that town's working class credentials - though it does have the Great Orme Railway to put alongside the Blackpool tram!

Author Nem
#14 | Posted: 24 Jan 2010 19:14 | Edited by: Nem 
I see that there is to be a conference about our amusement park heritage, of which of course Blackpool is the major historic one left in this country now; despite many changes, it still has historic rides.

"The latest news from the Save Dreamland Campaign:

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Conference on amusement park history announced
This year's Institute for Archaeologists Conference will feature an entire morning session devoted to amusement park heritage, and Dreamland will feature heavily. Hosted by Jason Wood, who has provided heritage advice to The Dreamland Trust for a number of years, the session is called 'Fairgrounds for Debate: celebrating the heritage of amusement parks' and will run from 9.45 to 12.45 on Thursday 15 April at the Southport Theatre & Convention Centre at Southport, Merseyside.

Six speakers will be talking on various aspects of the history and heritage of amusement parks, from their early twentieth-century origins to the demise of many in the early twenty-first century.

The speakers and their subjects are:

Opening remarks
Jason Wood, Heritage Consultancy Services

The rise of the seaside amusement park: international perspectives
John K Walton, University of the Basque Country

'A fortune in a thrill!' Early amusement parks in Britain
Josie Kane, University of Westminster

Battersea Park: plans to build, plans to forget
Ian Trowell, University of Sheffield

Last night of the fair: heritage, culture and closure of Southport's Pleasureland
Anya Chapman, Liverpool Hope University

Delivering the dream: saving Britain's amusement park heritage and the reawakening of Margate's Dreamland
Nick Laister, RPS Planning and Development & The Dreamland Trust

Places can be booked online and, although the conference runs for three days, it is possible to book for the Thursday only. (Dreamland features on Thursday 15 April)." df

Those like me with a major interest I am sure will find it fascinating.

I can ask if Jason has any idea what is happening re Blackpool, but at the moment I would suggest it's all rather up in the air.

(Ironic that it's at Southport, considering the bulldozing of Pleasureland.)

The Winter Gardens is currently on English Heritage's 'At Risk' list =

Author Solivagant
#15 | Posted: 11 Feb 2010 04:03 | Edited by: Solivagant 
The UK government has now published the full papers on this subject on its Website -analysis of and comments made on submissions together with a government "response"
Some of the issues are specifically UK oriented but many will apply to other countries too though there is a lot to wade through!

However the following comments about sites on the UK's current T List might be of general interest. Sorry about your GWR and Forth Road Bridge hope Meltwaterfalls!!
The National Park Authority for the New Forest have already decided not to pursue nomination;
The National Trust feels that Mount Stewart, North Norfolk and the New Forest are unlikely to want to go forward;
Network Rail has declared that it would not support the nomination of the Great Western Railway and the Forth Bridge;
Manchester, Trafford and Salford attracted several institutional opponents (and was the only Site to do so).

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