Planning to see a UNESCO’s World Heritage site? Thinking you’ll have to travel to the Great Barrier Reef or Great Wall of China? Well, think again because now you only need travel to the Lake District.
Billed by the Independent as the ‘Oscars for sites of natural beautiful or cultural significance’, UNESCO adds extra sites to its list each year. Like the Oscars, not everyone gets to make a tearful acceptance speech, as this year the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee (which has a vaguely Soviet ring to it) only voted in twenty of the thirty three nominated sites.
The Lake District was one of those that got the nod. The announcement has naturally been welcomed by the local tourism authority as it will undoubtedly help attract many more visitors. But it hasn’t received universal support. Opponents, including The Guardian’s columnist George Monbiot labelled the decision a ‘blatant assault on nature’ [that] ‘turns the area into a Beatrix Potter-themed museum’. His strongly worded article proves just how contentious this winning World Heritage Site status malarkey can be.
Here’s a further taste of his dramatically opposing view, “Everything that has gone wrong with conservation is exemplified by this decision: the cowardice, the grovelling, the blandishments, the falsehoods. The way conservation groups rolled over is shameful, but also familiar”.
Of course, if you did want to travel further afield then you’ll be spoiled for choice. Here’s the complete list of this year’s new intake.
City of Yazd, Iran
Venetian Works of Defence, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro
Valongo Wharf, Brazil
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine, Poland
Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia
Qinghai Hoh Xil, China
Mbanza Kongo, Angola
Los Alerces national park, Argentina
Assumption Cathedral, Russia
Swabian Jura, Germany
Khomani Cultural Landscape, South Africa
Dauria, Mongolia / Russia