A timely World Heritage UK technical meeting!

The World Heritage Team is pressing on with the review of the management plan.

The UK World Heritage Site Coordinators (including the Coordinators of the 6 Scottish UNESCO World Heritage Sites): Heart of Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark, The Forth Bridge, Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, St Kilda, Antonine Wall).
The UK World Heritage Site Coordinators (including the Coordinators of the 6 Scottish UNESCO World Heritage Sites): Heart of Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark, The Forth Bridge, Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, St Kilda, Antonine Wall).

On 25-26 January 2016, Historic Environment Scotland hosted a World Heritage: UK technical meeting in Edinburgh to discuss Management Plans (most timely workshop!). Lured by a Burns supper, Coordinators of the World Heritages Sites across the United Kingdom (29 in total as of February 2016) from all across the UK (Stonehenge, Iron Bridge, Tower of London, Saltaire, Jurrassic Coast…) came up to the capital to discuss what makes a management plan successful. Also present were representatives of ICOMOS UK (International Council on monuments and sites UK), Historic Environment Scotland, Historic England, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and DCMS (Department for Culture, Media & Sport).

World Heritage UK is an organisation set up in 2015 to undertake networking, advocacy and promotion for the UK’s 29 World Heritage Sites, and also those Sites progressing towards WHS status.

A number of issues emerged from the workshop. Those that might influence or shape the management plan were captured in the diagram below.

We agreed new chapter headings for the Management Plan at the last steering group meeting and noted the issues/ ideas that came out of the World Heritage: UK meeting.

Management Plan structure
Management Plan structure

The meeting provided an opportunity to take good practice ideas from all other sites from Orkney all the way to the Jurassic Coast.

It’s often hard to capture the energy and ideas from these events once back at our desks… but hopefully this diagram will make sense! The bubbles are linked to the relevant chapter and colour coded to whichever speaker raised or mentioned the issue.


Walking Tour

Edinburgh Forecast
Edinburgh Forecast

We took advantage of the location of the meeting to take the bravest of delegates on an early morning walk.

The first walk focussed on the recent development pressures in the New Town and the impact of these on the protected key views while the second walk concentrated on liveability issues in the Old Town.


How can I get involved?

What does world heritage means to you? What is important about it?

Share your thoughts by emailing Jenny or Chloe at worldheritage@edinburgh.gov.uk

We will keep you informed of progress and opportunities to get involved on the blog and on Twitter @planningedin. Our partner organisations will also be sharing information.

Reviewing the Management Plan for the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site

It’s time to review the Management Plan for the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

Front row: Jenny Bruce (World Heritage Site Co-ordinator), Will Garrett (City of Edinburgh Council), Lesley Macinnes (Historic Environment Scotland)  Back Row: Adam Wilkinson (Edinburgh World Heritage), Chloe Porter (City of Edinburgh Council)
Front row: Jenny Bruce (World Heritage Site Co-ordinator), Will Garrett (City of Edinburgh Council), Lesley Macinnes (Historic Environment Scotland)
Back Row: Adam Wilkinson (Edinburgh World Heritage), Chloe Porter (City of Edinburgh Council)

What is the Management Plan?

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh achieved UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage status in 1995. This status was based on the juxtaposition of these two very distinct historic areas, each of exceptional historic and architectural interest. The contrast between the medieval Old Town and the planned Georgian New Town provides a clarity of urban structure beyond compare in Europe.

World Heritage Site Management Plan 2011 - 2016 cover
World Heritage Site Management Plan 2011 – 2016

The first Management Plan covered the period from 2005-2010 with the second Management Plan covering 2011–2016.

The third management plan for the period from 2017 to 2022 is now in the making. As with the previous plans, it will be prepared by a partnership of ourselves at the Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage with the plan informed by a number of interested groups and individuals.

Why is the plan important?

Having this special status comes with responsibility.  UNESCO requires those who manage World Heritage Sites to produce a management plan every five years. This plan summarises the significance of the site and the policies to protect, conserve, develop and enhance it.

In Edinburgh, the management and ownership responsibilities lie with thousands of individuals, groups and organisations, and so this Plan is a necessary and valuable tool for strategic coordination.

What does the plan do?

The plan has a number of roles, including:

  • Maintaining and enhancing the Outstanding Universal Value of the site. The Outstanding Universal Value defines the elements within a Site which make it important and which must be protected in order to maintain its significance. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee and the advisory bodies use this document to assess any potential threats to a World Heritage Site.
  • Identifying key features of the World Heritage Site – such as the unique landscape, the contrasting architectural characters of the medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town, and the heritage of Scotland’s ancient capital
  • Detailing challenges and opportunities – such as the risk of inappropriate development and promoting of the use of traditional materials
  • Facilitating change – the plan is not just about preservation. It is about helping to see change that ensures Edinburgh is a thriving, dynamic and economically successful city.

How can I get involved?

The review of the Management Plan is now under way (hence this blog!) and will continue until the launch of the document on World Heritage Day in April 2017.

We will keep you informed of progress and opportunities to get involved on the blog and on Twitter @planningedin. Our partner organisations will also be sharing information.

You can also email Jenny or Chloe at worldheritage@edinburgh.gov.uk

Forth Bridge World Heritage Site status

We’re delighted to have been part of the team that successfully took forward the bid for World Heritage status for the Forth Bridge.  The success gives the city its second world heritage site, the other being the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh.

Responsibility for looking after the bridge will remain with Network Rail but the City of Edinburgh Council and Fife Council will have responsibility for ensuring that appropriate planning policies are in place for its protection.  This will not involve a great deal of additional controls as the bridge is already listed at category A – the highest category of listing.

At one level world heritage site status brings international recognition and a boost for tourism.  However, at another level, if managed properly, it can be a boost for the local economies and an encouragement for traditional Scottish engineering skills.  It can help to raise awareness and re-engage people with their environment as the writing competition with schoolchildren showed.

Thanks to this, one of Scotland’s most recognisable icons looks set for another 125 years.

World Heritage Day 18 April 2015

Saturday 18 April 2015 is World Heritage Day and this year the theme is the value of heritage.  World Heritage Day is celebrated around the globe to raise awareness of our diverse cultural and natural heritage and why World Heritage Sites are of outstanding value.

World Heritage Site day poster
World Heritage Site day poster

There are a number of events planned to mark the occasion with the Scottish Storytelling Centre hosting an afternoon of activities on Saturday 18 April to help you get to know more about all five World Heritage Sites in Scotland.  You could also take the opportunity to follow one of the Edinburgh World Heritage walking trails to discover the hidden gems of the Old and New Towns.

There are more details on Historic Scotland’s website about World Heritage Day and the other Scottish sites they help manage.

If you use social media you can follow and join the conversation from around the world using #worldheritageday

Forth Bridge short story competition

A short story writing competition for Queensferry and Inverkeithing High Schools is one of the projects that stemmed from the Forth Bridge world heritage site bid.  As part of getting people involved in the bid, schoolchildren were asked to write a short story featuring the bridge.  A shortlist from both schools was judged by writers Ed Hollis and Keith Gray.

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Last Monday the winners were announced during an event at the Edinburgh Book Festival where the children and their families listened to a discussion between the judges chaired by Sam Kelly from Napier University’s Creative Writing School.  Among the prizes for the winners is a boat trip around the bridges, signed books from the judges and Network Rail, and participation in a two day creative writing workshop run by Napier University.

Have a read of the winning stories.

Unstably Stable

The Two Groups Bridge Story

The Brigger

The Bridge

Story of a Survivor

She Kept Going

If Bridges Could Talk

Ghost Brother

Crazed

The bridge