What is a World Heritage Site?
World Heritage is everyone’s heritage. Man-made sites such as Stonehenge, the Statue of Liberty and the Tower of London join natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage List.
890 sites from over 140 countries are on this list, which is managed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). These sites are sources of pride and inspiration, and are testament to the colossal achievements of man and nature. There is simply no higher recognition of heritage value than World Heritage Site status.
Each year, a small number of outstanding sites are added to the World Heritage List.
There are currently 27 World Heritage Sites in the UK. Government has a shortlist of sites which it will put forward for World Heritage Status, and is allowed to propose one each year. Chatham Dockyard and its defences are already on this shortlist.
In order to apply to become a World Heritage Site, shortlisted sites must produce a “nomination dossier”. This has two parts – one explaining how and why the site is internationally important, and the second explaining how the site will be preserved and enhanced for the future.
Chatham’s nomination dossier was completed in December 2009. The steering group hope to submit the dossier to UNESCO at the earliest opportunity.