World Heritage and Conservation Areas – The Meadows Festival 4 & 5 June 2016

This year we’ll have a stall at the Meadows Festival to kick-start consultation on both the Old Town and the New Town Conservation Area Character Appraisals.  We’ll be there both days and will be keen to get your views on recent developments in these parts of the City.

The Meadows
The Meadows

We will keep you informed of progress and about opportunities to get involved in both the Old and New Towns World Heritage Site Management Plan and the Conservation Area Character Appraisal reviews on the blog and on Twitter @planningedin

Hopefully the sun will be shining and we see you there!

World Heritage Day – Monday 18 April 2016

What’s on in Edinburgh?

On 18 April 2016, Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites will be celebrated with a day of free, fun activities at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The event will run from 11am – 4pm.

Visitors will be able to handle replica Neolithic and Roman artefacts, dress up as a 19th century mill worker from New Lanark or take part in a range of craft activities, from making a Roman sword to building their own St. Kilda Mailboat.  There will be a World Heritage Site trail for visitors to follow through the Museum, exploring the displays to find amazing artefacts from all the sites.

World Heritage people
World Heritage Day at the National Museum of Scotland

Why are the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh a World Heritage Site?

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh became a World Heritage Site in 1995.  This status is based on the contrast between the medieval Old Town and the planned Georgian New Town which provides a clarity of urban structure beyond compare in Europe.

The six World Heritage Sites in Scotland
The six World Heritage Sites in Scotland

You can also read more about the review of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site Management Plan and how to get involved.

What is World Heritage Day?

Lesley Macinnes, Head of the World Heritage Team at Historic Environment Scotland, said, “Scotland’s World Heritage Sites span thousands of years and thousands of miles, but you’re never more than a few hours from a place of worldwide significance. This event at the National Museum of Scotland offers tasters of each Site, to enable visitors to plan their own trips to explore them.”  World Heritage Day is celebrated throughout the world every year to raise public awareness about the efforts required to protect and conserve our cultural heritage.

Where to find us?

World Heritage Day is on Monday 18 April 2016, the event at the Museum will run from 11am – 4pm.  Entrance is free and non-ticketed.

You can also follow World Heritage Site day conversations from across globe on Twitter using #WorldHeritageDay 

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.