The Lake District, a World Heritage Site ?

When you have seen what the Lake District National Park Authority allow the Crown and large companies to do in the National Park it is unbelievable that the Lake District could become a World Heritage Site.
As regards managing such a site, the LDNPA cannot even  manage the Rights of Way network never mind a World Heritage Site. 

The LDNPA appear to close their eyes to environmental destruction and breaches of the law undertaken by large companies/organisations (stakeholders); unfortunately the result of this mismanagement is that the quality of the Lakeland landscape and peoples ability to access and enjoy the landscape is deteriorating badly, and will continue to do so whilst the LDNPA remain un-elected and unaccountable.

If the Lake District National Park really is worthy of World Heritage Status then no one will have any problems with my photos highlighting a few of the "abuses" (UNESCO's words not mine) still taking place in the Lake District National Park.

The initial go-ahead for further work to support a bid to ask the United Nations to make the Lake District a World Heritage Site has been given by delegates from conservation organisations and local authorities throughout Cumbria. This would put it on a par with the likes of the Grand Canyon and the Taj Mahal.

Meeting at the historic Wray Castle, near Ambleside, and close to Windermere - England's largest lake - the meeting considered a discussion paper from the Lake District National Park Authority which outlined the cultural reasons for and possible economic benefits of a bid. But no vote was taken and delegates agreed to reconvene in January next year.

The independent chairman, the Lord Clark of Windermere said he was delighted that there was such collective support, for what he described as "an important meeting" in the history of the Lake District.

Organisations attending the meeting included: the LDNPA; Cumbria County Council; the National Trust; Cumbria Tourist Board; the National Farmers Union; the Wordsworth Trust; United Utilities; Friends of the Lake District; and English Heritage. 

"There is naturally a long way to go towards reaching our goal of achieving World Heritage Status, but we have made a start today. And judging by the commitment shown by most of the delegates, I'm confident that we now go from strength to strength and achieve the goal that this wonderful landscape so richly deserves,” he added. 

An approach to the United Nations can only come from the Government and Westminster has indicated that the first available application slot is 2008. People behind the bid have also been told that any application would need to have widespread support from the community and not be driven by just one enthusiastic supporter.

Today's meeting was seen as a significant milestone towards a quest which first began more than 20 years ago.

08 December 2003 - Significant step towards World Heritage Site status
An important stage in the process of winning World Heritage Site status for the Lake District was reached on Friday. The National Park Authority (NPA) allocated £50,000 as a contribution to the campaign and offered to lead the partnership that will prepare the bid, if that is what the other partners wish.

The moves were agreed by the Authority’s corporate and financial services committee. The next stage is to work with partner organisations to produce a management plan and outline a case for the government to take to UNESCO for consideration.

Our bid would be one of several being considered for World Heritage Site inscription and there is no guarantee that it would be accepted,” said Paul Tiplady, national park officer. “But many benefits would follow the co-operation and consultation needed to undertake the process. Even to have been nominated by the government as a potential site is a tribute to the quality and importance of the area.”

The total cost of the bid is likely to be £322,000. Organisations that have already offered funding or other support include the Countryside Agency, the Northwest Development Agency, Eden District Council, English Heritage, Carlisle City Council, the Forestry Commission, the National Trust, the NFU, the North West Regional Assembly, the Government Office North West, Allerdale Borough Council, DEFRA and the Friends of the Lake District.

Once a formal partnership is established and a project officer appointed it would take at least two years to devise a management plan and prepare a bid.

07 October 2003 - Heritage hopes for Lake District [BBC News]

An estimated £300,000 will have to be spent over two years to make the case for turning the Lake District into a World Heritage Site, it has been claimed.

The Lake District National Park Authority has been trying since 1985 to win World Heritage status by UNESCO, which is part of the United Nations. Organisers said it would bring the sort of kudos which might attract more visitors and help when getting finance from the government. However, some people have expressed concerns it could lead to even stricter controls on development and damage the tourism industry. Supporters have said that although the status would not attract money directly, the government would be more likely to give extra funding if the area had world status.

Inward investment
Paul Tiplady, from the National Park Authority, said the money would be well spent.

He said: "We believe the Lake District is the country's finest landscape. We need the government to believe that too so that they will start putting the resources into Cumbria that Cumbria desperately needs. One way of achieving that is to get the world to say that Cumbria has England's finest landscape. World Heritage status gives a very simple marker that the area is very special."

"I estimate we would need something like £300,000 over two years to undertake the project work. Cumbria and the west coast needs more inward investment and £300,000 may be a very cheap way of getting it."


A bold attempt to promote the Lake District into the Premier League of international heritage sites has moved a step nearer. The Lake District National Park Authority today threw its weight behind a move to secure the area as a World Heritage Site. And if successful, it will mean England’s biggest national park being included on a list of famous attractions that also includes the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon.

The final decision rests with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), but today’s decision is a major step in pushing the Lake District case.

National Park Officer Paul Tiplady said: “The benefits of World Heritage Site status cannot be under-estimated. It will put the international spotlight on the Lake District and that in turn will bring economic and social benefits through special interest tourism and employment opportunities, for this unique landscape.”

The Authority will now join other interested bodies in putting its case to the Government for inclusion on the World Heritage site list. If that is successful then it is in the hands of UNESCO who will consider all the evidence and make a site visit before coming to a final decision.

Paul added: “Our last bid was deferred because we didn’t fit the existing categories. Because of that, a new one was created and this is the one we’re going for. This category, of cultural landscape, will celebrate its evolution and the inspiration it has provided.”

At the meeting members agreed to support a group who will: 

  1. Secure a working budget 
  2. Secure national and local support 
  3. Consult and inform 
  4. Employ or direct a project team 
  5. Prepare a prospectus and timetable 
  6. Identify and confirm a boundary 
  7. Prepare and present a nomination document 
  8. Prepare and promote a management plan
03 November 2001

In October 2001 the Lake District National Park Authority hosted a seminar of national, regional and local bodies, with a view to making an application for the inscription of the Lake District National Park as a World Heritage Site. An application for the Lake District to have such status failed in the 1980's. But, following the creation of a new category of "cultural landscape", it is now possible to reconsider such an application.

Since the meeting a small steering group has been established to take forward the work, to produce an action plan and to produce a study of the area to ensure that we can clearly demonstrate to the assessors that the Lake District meets the World Heritage Site inscription criteria.

29 August 1998

THE Lake District could be promoted to the international 'premier league' of wonders, alongside the likes of the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon.

The Government has included the Lake District among 32 sites which could be nominated for World Heritage Site status. They say the status would bring enormous prestige and the move has been welcomed by tourism chiefs. As well as the Lake District, Scotland's Forth Rail Bridge and the Gibraltar Fortress have made it on to the list, which will now go out to United Kingdom-wide consultation. The UK has 17 existing sites including Stonehenge.

A World Heritage Site is a mainly honorary title which does not affect the rights or responsibilities of existing owners, occupiers and planning authorities. But it does include a management plan to ensure proper conservation.

Cumbria Tourist Board chief executive Chris Collier welcomed the move: "It really marks out the area as very special." She said the Lake District deserved a place among international sites: "I have seen the Taj Mahal and it's awesome but in a tiny little place. The Lake District is awesome and spread over a large area."

The Lake District National Park Authority is also supportive and said the World Heritage Site management plan should stand alongside its own brief. Chief administrative officer Donald Connolly said: "It's saying that there's international, worldwide recognition of the importance of the Lake District as a site to be protected."

The Lake District failed in a bid for World Heritage Status 11 years ago when it was said to be "abused" by farming, forestry, roads, tourism, military activity and quarrying. But changes in criteria laid down by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and a move to include more natural sites, as well as cultural ones, have paved the way for its inclusion under the 'cultural landscapes' section. The consultation ends on 30th October 1998 and, if the Lake District reaches the revised list, it will be formerly nominated to UNESCO in a process which could take many years.