Thanks to the generous support of these sponsors, World Heritage UK is able to keep the costs of delegate’s attendance affordable at its latest conference ‘Setting the Scene for World Heritage’, at the Tower of London, 15th and 16th October 2018. This is the 4th annual conference of the charity organisation and it promises to be the most compelling yet, not just for the prestigious venue in the city of London but also for the controversial nature of its subject matter. Development in and around World Heritage Sites is often in the news and here will be discussed such topical places as Stonehenge and its road issues, plans affecting the sites in Liverpool and London with tall buildings and other factors, plus many more examples from around the UK and its Overseas Territories. The event is already attracting international interest so best secure your tickets soon to avoid disappointment. You can register for the conference here
WORLD HERITAGE UK’S RESPONSE TO DRAFT REVISED NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR ENGLAND
The Government’s planning policies for England are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The Government has recently announced its intention to revise the Framework and has consulted on a draft revision. World Heritage UK (WH:UK) responded to the consultation.
As a State Party to the World Heritage Convention, the United Kingdom is required to protect, preserve, present and transmit to future generations its World Heritage Sites. It does this primarily through its planning systems. In the last 18 months, WH:UK has been working to suggest how the UK’s planning systems could be improved further to meet these responsibilities. It based its response to the Draft Revised National Planning Policy Framework largely on this work.
In its response, WH:UK pointed out that England’s World Heritage Sites include a wide range of historic monuments and past industry, landscapes, townscapes, and natural and ecological features. Therefore they will be affected by many of the policies in the NPPF. They cannot be treated as a single homogenous entity.
The full text of WH:UK’s response can be found under Correspondence and Consultations on its website Response to draft NPPF May 18 – resubmission final.
The key points in WH:UK’s response are:
- Recognition. WH:UK welcomes the recognition given to the protection of World Heritage Sites in various places in the Draft Revised NPPF. It urges that, in due course, such protection should be enshrined in primary legislation.
- Development Plans. WHUK strongly disagrees with the proposed changes to the nature of the “development plan”. The Draft Revised NPPF states that, while local planning authorities will be obliged to produce a plan that addresses the strategic priorities for their area, there would be no obligation on them to produce more detailed policies in a Local Plan. However Local Plans contain the very policies that currently protect, preserve and help present World Heritage Sites. They cover issues such as good design, the type of development that is or is not acceptable at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites, the protection of Sites’ settings and/ro buffer zones and the promotion of conservation. It cannot be assumed that local authorities will voluntarily produce local plans. If they do not, this would severely weaken the effectiveness of the planning system in helping to deliver the State Party’s obligations on World Heritage Sites.
- Pre-application engagement. WH:UK welcomes the continuing support for pre-application engagement. It has encouraged its members to be more actively involved in decision-making processes and recognises the value of early dialogue.
- Economic value of World Heritage Sites. WH:UK suggested that the NPPF should recognise the economic value of World Heritage Sites both locally and nationally.
- Good design. WH:UK strongly supports the encouragement of good design. It does not agree that it would be acceptable for increased densities to overrule local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting. Such an approach could threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of a World Heritage Site or its setting and/or buffer zone, all as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.
- Green Belt. Similarly, while WH:UK understands the need to make best use of urban land and to protect the Green Belt, it is important to appreciate that this policy approach can threaten the Outstanding Universal Value and/or setting/buffer zone of some World Heritage Sites by increasing development pressures within urban areas. This is a question of priorities, which the Revised Draft NPPF does not resolve. Instead it states that development in Green Belts may be approved in “very special circumstances” while “Substantial harm or loss of …World Heritage Sites should be wholly exceptional.” WH:UK believes that, given their worldwide importance, World Heritage Sites should take precedence over Green Belts, and therefore there may be circumstances where it would be appropriate to review Green Belt boundaries to relieve development pressures at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites.
- Natural World Heritage Sites. WH:UK is seriously disappointed that the chapter on conserving and enhancing the natural environment does not recognise or set out policies for England’s natural World Heritage Site (the Dorset and East Devon Coast) or any such sites that may be inscribed in the future. The existence of such sites is recognised only in a footnote in the chapter on conserving and enhancing the historic environment, and then no indication is given as to whether the policies applicable to World Heritage Sites in that chapter apply to natural sites. Nevertheless, WH:UK warmly welcomes the new reference in the first paragraph of that chapter to World Heritage Sites, which provides a clear signal in respect of the Sites’ importance.
- Heritage Impact Assessments. WH:UK strongly encourages the use of Heritage Impact Assessments to help local planning authorities determine development proposals, and considers these should be mentioned in the NPPF.
- Development within World Heritage Sites. WH:UK supports of the proposed retention of the requirement on local authorities to “look for opportunities for new development within World Heritage Sites…to enhance or better reveal their significance;” while recognizing that not all elements of a World Heritage Site will necessarily contribute to its significance.
- Minerals development. World Heritage UK welcomes the continued protection of World Heritage Sites through the provision of landbanks of non-energy minerals from outside these areas as far as is practical. However that protection should also be applied to areas that form part of the setting and /or the buffer zone of Sites, as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans. Also the text addressing the issues on oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction is very weak in relation to heritage issues. In this respect, WH:UK advocates a similar approach as for non-energy minerals.
Author credit: Donald Gobbett, World Heritage UK Board Member
The Peatlands Partnership and the Flow Country proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site Steering Group wish to appoint a Project Coordinator to take forward the Technical Evaluation for submission to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2019. The post has been advertised by Highland Council on My JobScotland where you can find more details at https://www.myjobscotland.gov.uk/councils/highland-council/jobs/world-heritage-project-co-ordinator-114206 .
Communicating World Heritage Conference
7-10 October 2017
Enginuity, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, UK
Bookings close on 29th September!
There are just a few weeks left to book for the eagerly anticipated Communicating World Heritage Conference which will take place at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site from 7 to 10 October 2017. Tickets for the conference, and accommodation close to the venue, are being booked up quickly so don’t miss your chance to join a growing group of professionals, academics and practitioners to explore the many ways of communicating World Heritage to a variety of audiences, and discuss the latest research and global policy in relation to key themes such as World Heritage tourism, communities, education and specialist groups.
With conference tickets and local accommodation selling quickly, it’s best to book early. Take a look at the programme on our website to find out more about the speakers and sessions. Of course, within the programme there will be plenty of opportunity to network with colleagues, enjoy informal drinks, conference dinner and walking tours to be announced.
We are delighted to be welcoming such a diverse and exciting group of speakers from organisations such as UNESCO, Historic England and the Heritage Alliance, as well as leading academics from around the world. Their specialist knowledge and expertise will provide a unique cross-disciplinary perspective on the communication of World Heritage, and a range of interesting talking points for colleagues throughout the conference.
Our full programme is available on the conference website, and a few of the many highlights over the four days include:
Michael Di Giovine, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Professor Di Giovani will present “Communicating Sustainability through World Heritage Tourism,” examining the ways in which world heritage practitioners can engage with tourism to communicate sustainability values to a diversity of audiences. (Saturday 7th October).
Dr. Sophia Labadi, Senior Lecturer and co-Director of the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent (UK). Dr Labadi will present the paper “For Everyone? Communicating World Heritage values and Stake Holders.” This presentation will explore how the World Heritage terminology is difficult to understand, even for specialists, making it even more difficult to communicate to the public. There will be a focus on how communities are increasingly associating World Heritage with exclusions and how these communities have acted upon these exclusionary trends. Finally, Dr Labadi will examine the approaches that aim to bring about solutions to these issues. (Sunday 8th October)
Andrew Stokes, England Director for Visit England will join the join the ‘Heritage Leaders’ session to present the latest information on the value of World Heritage to the tourism market and how this can be communicated. (Monday 9th October).
Mr Bo Jiang, Vice President of ICOMOS-China and Mr Yimeng Zhang, Great Wall Protection Project at the China Academy of Cultural Heritage, will be giving presentations about two icons of World Heritage, the Silk Road and the Great Wall of China. This is a rare opportunity to hear speakers from this country on their specialist subjects and will provide great insight into communicating World Heritage with the wider world. (Tuesday 10th October).
To book your place, please visit www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/tickets
Delegates at the ‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference (7-10 October, Ironbridge) will be honoured by the presence of two expert speakers from China who will be giving presentations about two icons of World Heritage, the Silk Road and the Great Wall of China. This is a rare opportunity to hear speakers from this country on their specialist subjects and World Heritage UK has been working closely with the British Council to enable this special occasion to happen.
Mr Bo Jiang is the Vice President of ICOMOS China and works for the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. He is Director of the Institute of Underwater Archaeology and the National Centre of Underwater Cultural Heritage. He will be speaking about the Silk Road and Belt and its maritime component.
Mr Yimeng Zhang is the Great Wall Research Specialist and works on the Great Wall Protection Project at the China Academy of Cultural Heritage, also under the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
It is hoped that they will be joined by the Vice Principal of Shanghai University, Duan Yong, who is setting up a new cultural heritage academy at the university, with the Shanghai Municipal Government and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
The expert speakers will be presenting in the ‘Communicating with the wider world’ session on the 10th October but the Chinese delegation will be participating in the whole 4-day conference so there will be opportunities for delegates to speak with them throughout the event.
Today, 31st August, is the last day for early bird discount conference tickets after which the price will move to the standard rate. Book now to save at: www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com
Sarah France from the National Trust’s World Heritage Site at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park and geologist Jonathan Larwood from Natural England have been working on the links between culture and nature in the UK’s World Heritage Sites for some time now. At last, the report of the ‘Culturally Natural or Naturally Cultural?’ workshop held at Fountains Abbey is ready and will be launched at the ‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference on 9th and 10th October at Ironbridge Gorge. The collaboration for the publication includes support from WWF UK, the IUCN National Committee UK and World Heritage UK.
The report contains papers from speakers at the workshop, results of some new research on Nature in the UK’s World Heritage Sites and forewords from UNESCO, IUCN and the Mayor of Ripon.
Early bird discounted tickets for the full 4-day conference are still available until the 31st August, after which the price reverts to the full rate, so book now to take advantage of the early bird rate at www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com where you can also find the conference programme and other essential details.
In the ‘Communicating with business and funders’ session of the conference we are pleased to have the new Chief Executive of the Blenheim Palace World Heritage Site, Dominic Hare, as a speaker. Blenheim Palace is a great example of a successful World Heritage business and is particularly imaginative and creative in its thinking and practice. For the last 14 years, Dominic has served as Finance Director at Blenheim Palace and was appointed Chief Executive Officer for the Blenheim Estate in January 2017.
Also speaking on the business theme will be Richard Church, Project Director at BatteredSuitcase.com, who will be talking about his experiences in special interest tourism to World Heritage destinations as one of the popular 5 minute elevator pitches that are a feature of World Heritage UK conferences. Batteredsuitcase.com is one of the most recent companies to join World Heritage UK as a corporate member.
Hear from both these presenters on Monday 9th October and book your tickets at: www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com
Very pleased to announce these new speakers to the conference programme. Andrew Stokes is the England
Director for Visit England and he will join the join the ‘Heritage Leaders’ session to present the latest information on the value of World Heritage to the tourism market and how this can be communicated.
Lizzie Glitheroe-West is the Chief Executive of the Heritage Alliance, and who better to speak as part of the session on ‘Communicating with each other’ in the heritage sector and the UNESCO family. Both World Heritage UK and the IIICH have recently and simultaneously joined the Heritage Alliance so Lizzie will be in good company along with other HA Members in the audience.
You can see more information about the conference and get your ticket at a discounted ‘early bird’ rate if go to the conference website where you can book to participate in any combination of days in this four day event. There you will also find details of local accommodation at Ironbridge and Telford which is best booked early!
Two more interesting speakers join the line-up at the ‘Communicating World Heritage Conference’ 7-10th October at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. You can hear the UK President of the Black Environment Network, Judy Ling Wong, talk about engaging ethnic minorities in World Heritage. Judy is a major voice on policy towards social inclusion. Joining her is the Secretary General of the Great Spas of Europe UNESCO project, Paul Simons, presenting the value of transnational cooperation in World Heritage. The ‘Great Spas of Europe’ is a serial transnational nomination on the tentative list of seven State Parties representing eleven of the most important spa towns in Europe, including Bath.
You can get further information, on registration for the conference and much more, at: https://communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/